Three C’s – Complexity, Connection, Compassion

March 31, 2014 at 5:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We all have had moments when we feel courageous. We have also all have had moments when we feel fearful. We have all had moments when our thoughts, words or actions are completely aligned with our values. We have also all had moments when our thoughts, words or actions do not reflect the values that are most important to us. Of course this is only a tiny fraction of the human emotions that we all experience. It’s just a snapshot of the complexity within the varied interactions, experiences and journeys that we all navigate.

The moments that make up our journeys of potential are full of choices, whether we view them as choices or not. They provide opportunities to foster deepening connection to self, others and the world around us, which can produce so many positive ripples in our own and others lives. So with the first C this week representing complexity, and the second C representing connection as the glue that holds our humanness together, the third C is a reminder of the power of compassion.

There are many examples of ‘What Would You Do?’ videos on the internet. They are created for many and varied reasons but this one really resonated with me for this weeks post. We would have all been in situations where we have noticed the suffering of another person or group. By noticing their suffering we can become affected by it, resulting in us having concern for the individual or group involved. But whether or not we are then motivated to do something about this concern and respond to the observed suffering is the difference between being sympathetic or empathetic to the situation and practising compassion.

“Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The various responses seen in the video demonstrate a variety of ways that we as humans respond to situations each and every day. From feeling awkward or aware of injustice but not feeling like it’s our place to act, to embodying compassion and through our words or actions being able to relieve the suffering of another, to everything in between, we could all identify times when we reacted like different people in the barber shop from the video. We all have different personalities, are either male or female, feel more or less comfortable in various situations, could be young to older, but regardless of any differences that exist the compassionate response is open to us all.

“Fear grows out of the things we think; it lives in our minds. Compassion grows out of the things we are, and lives in our hearts.”
– Barbara Garrison

Just like any other area of our lives we can learn from our past experiences and make a different choice in the present moment as our journeys continue. I don’t believe it is our job to create ongoing or more suffering for ourselves and others through judging or comparing inaction in a particular situation. Instead we can empower ourselves and others through practising kindness, awareness and understanding, then inspire each other with compassion and feeling the powerful ripples that flow out from these actions in our families, schools, workplaces and communities.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
– Plato

Compassion is definitely a journey that involves vulnerability and complexity. But it is also definitely a journey that sees us helping to create the communities and global village that we dream of living in. We don’t need to be a particular age, gender or move to a certain location to be able to practise it, we can all ‘be the change’ right where we are! Imagine what’s possible if we all were able to work towards fostering connection like the last woman in the video, honouring the complexity in the given situation or environment, embracing each other through connection, taking responsibility for our own daily thoughts, words and actions, and then moving forward together.

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”
– Mother Teresa

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