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Posts Tagged ‘empathy’

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
Quote by Aldous Huxley

I am an optimist.

By nature, I find the good in bad and strive to rise above whatever shit comes my way.  I also notice the rainbows after the storms – both metaphorically and figuratively.  I love life and I tend to make the best out it.

I don’t usually kvetch, whine, about human nature, but tonight I will.

So many well-meaning people feel inclined to tell people how to feel or how despondent they should be when difficult situations occur.  And guess what, none of them enlightenment; they need to be given room to feel exactly how they feel. That goes for me too! 🙂

Years ago, my seriously ill son was heading into his second brain surgery when he had a reaction to the lights and sounds of pre-op.  The lights and sounds physically and desperately caused him pain; in fact, his pain was beyond anything anyone expected for the then 14 year old Aryeh.   At one point, after unexpected hours of trying to prep my son for surgery, a doctor turned to Aryeh and said, “I need to give you a shot, but I promise you it won’t hurt.  Really.  I promise.”  At that, Aryeh started screaming, “Don’t tell me what I will or won’t feel; you don’t know.” To my amazement, the doctor responded beautifully when he said, “No, I don’t know. And I have no right to ever tell anyone how they will feel.”  Instantly, Aryeh calmed down and allowed the doctor to again explain what would happen while sharing how he may or may not feel, but not how he would feel.  And with each word, the doctor spoke with integrity and in the end, Aryeh told him how it felt.

From that very real life experience, I learned never to tell someone how they feel.  When I meet someone who has lost someone they loved or has been sick or whatever, I do not make any assumptions. Each and every one of us handles pain and sadness in our own unique ways.

At this point you may be wondering why am I sharing this now?

Many of you know that the last year has been often overwhelming and sometimes just down-right painful.  Under-employment, Unemployment, loss, and . . . .  well I am sure each person who knows me will have an opinion of what my year must have felt like.   But, I want everyone to stop telling me what I must feel or how hard it is or was.   Instead, take a moment and listen.  If you want to know how I feel, let me share it with you.

In my heart I know that nearly every person who is telling me how they think I am is actually sharing their empathy and how much they care.  But my challenges are my challenges; your challenges are your challenges.  Let us both listen to each other and share what is in our hearts.

While I know that I have been having some hard times; I have also found sparks of light in the darkness.  At any given moment, I may feel anxious or peaceful, sad or happy, joyous or frustrated.  I don’t need someone to enlighten me on how I should or do feel.

Each of us navigate life in the best way we know how; we all see those realities through our own lens.

Someone obviously thought this was a congested area; I saw it as an oasis of solitude.

Someone obviously thought this was a congested area;  I saw it as an oasis of solitude.

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Tonight we counted Day 33 of the Omer, which is 4 weeks and five days of the counting. Day 33 is referred to as Hod sheh b’Hod, Expansiveness within Expansiveness.

Photo courtesy of  Shai Gluskin

Expansiveness in all of her Glory:                                        Photo courtesy of Shai Gluskin

Hod can be explained with a multitude of words including expansiveness, prophesy, glory, empathy, thankfulness, and being fully present.  Each word leads to a deeper and more full understanding of Hod.  To fully absorb  Hod,  one must be fully aware of the realities with an openness to the truth of what one is seeing or experiencing.

Hod sheh b’Hod

All my life, I have been intensely aware of the world around me.  The intensity permeates every cell of my body.  With that awareness comes a spirit that tends to walk gently while being a human barometer of sorts.  Over the years I have learned to remain present without experiencing the deep emotions that others feel.  Self preservation is a necessity when you walk in the world as I do.  At the same time, I value so much of what is.

Hod squared

Being open in this way means that you not only trust what you know, but you are also open to the fact that there are always moving parts.  What you know one moment might evolve the next minute.  When we are fully present, we are also aware that nothing is truly permanent; everything changes with each passing moment.

May we be present to the vastness that surrounds us as we navigate the world with all her moving parts.

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