…that to find beauty in everyone you must see beauty in everyone, then announce that you see it for, in announcing it, you place it there in their reality. –Neale Donald Walsch
“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.” – Barbara Kingsolver
Sometimes it’s the pits being a highly empathetic person. Just lately I’m exhausted because of it. No matter where I go, people are complaining about this, that and the other thing. They want other people to change so they can feel better, or they want this, or that from the Government. I want to scream and tell them they need to stop looking outside themselves for the things that will make them feel better. It’s only possible to find happiness and peace by doing your inner work. I’ve even written many a blog post about this topic hoping to influence my readers, so that our inner healing, will affect an outer healing. Most of the time I feel like I’m beating my head against a stone wall. I’m discouraged about that.
Then a couple of Sunday’s ago I was listening to Marianne Williamson and Oprah having a discussion on Super Soul Sunday. They were talking about Marianne’s recent political aspirations. She ran for Congress, and though she didn’t get enough votes to be nominated, the experience taught her a great deal about our political process. She’s been speaking, and posting things in Facebook about the need for us to become more active in changing our political landscape. Most of us feel beaten down by the system, which makes us apathetic. But, Marianne is calling us to action. Being a Baby Boomer, I automatically felt that I needed to be demonstrating on the streets, marching, and doing all those things I didn’t get to do as a teenager during the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements and the protests against the Vietnam War. I felt guilty about spending so much time working in private to become a more wholehearted, open and loving person.
So, today I was going to use my metaphorical pen to urge you to action. Then, I was reminded of something my father used to say: “You can’t change other people’s minds. You can only be a good example.” He was right. We each have our own path. Caroline Myss calls it our sacred contract. In fact she wrote an entire book about that. Anyway, while thinking about all my mixed up feelings and what’s happening in our country these last years, and what I can do to help bring about positive change, I decided that I’m going to stop preaching and just go back to being quiet, and doing my own spiritual work. I’ve never been one of those dynamic people who can rally thousands to their cause. I’m like my Dad. He influenced people just by being who he was, and he did that a few people at a time. Over a lifetime, he influenced a lot of people. When I decided that, I remembered something else that Marianne has said for years. Find your purpose and use it to change yourself and the world. My purpose is to interpret my personal perspective into the things I write. You can take or leave what you read here. There may be times when someone will be touched by my reflections. To influence one person for the better is a tremendous gift to the world. I’ll be happy with that.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014
8 thoughts on “Musings”
I do not disagree with a thing you said. But in addition, I think the small-scale protests are very important.
Think of the man who got arrested in Florida last week for feeding the homeless. Arrested? For offering food to a hungry person? His is NINETY years old and says he will just go back and do it again.
That , to me, is incredibly powerful. And it made me realize that if such a law is passed here, I will hit the streets with food. And I will go to jail.
So that is a living example, but it is also more of an in-your-face protest. I think we need both.
Emilie, I think peaceful protests are essential. I know I won’t be participating in them by being there. I hope to change things with what I write.
Yes, Lucinda. You do lead by example, just like your dad; thanks for that! It’s a challenge for me trying to keep my mouth shut, especially with my family. No one likes unproductive complaining or unwanted advice. My daughter called me on that recently. She was tired of listening to me complain about one of the volunteer jobs I have, and said I needed to do something I instead. Wise words from my wise daughter – she’s helping me to lead by example!
Janet, Thanks for your comment. Sometimes I wish I were more vocal. But, writing is my way of being vocal I guess.
I don’t have children, but I often learn from my students. I think it’s good to learn from the younger generation.
Yes Yes Yes! This is spot on for me, Lucinda! I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this very thing, and you have explained it so much better than I have ever been able to. I’ve tried explaining these same thoughts to my husband, but somehow I’m not entirely coming across. It’s similar to why I don’t really watch the news. My husband thinks it could lead to me being uninformed, and maybe it will, but for me, I’d rather focus the energy and time I have bringing positivity and love into the world, rather than dwell on the things I can’t change. This is a great and important piece of writing and thought! It’s needs to be read far and wide!
Kimberly, Thanks for your post. I think there are people meant to be out there demonstrating or giving speeches, that’s not my purpose. It sounds like it’s not your either. It’s good to know which piece of the puzzle we are isn’t it.
For my junior thesis project in college, I created a small body of conceptual artwork based on a story Gandhi would tell about the secret to world peace. As part of this work, I reflected daily on my actions and thoughts, journaling the times I wasn’t the kindest in a sketchbook. (One of the resulting installations — I wrote the words directly on the wall for people to see. Scary!) Anyhow, reflective journaling was considered an ACTION in taking steps towards world peace. I used this website for some of my research . . . I find it poignant that meditation, empathy, and nonviolent communication are simple, yet powerful ACTIONS that spread world peace. “Let peace begin with me.”
Heather, Thanks. I guess I compare myself to those extroverts who are more vocal than I am. I have to say, journaling, meditating, sending Reiki and the like have been a big benefit to me all my life. They’ve been tools I’ve used to help others as well. Thanks for your comments.