Reflections

Where has my compassion gone?

I’m standing on the deck this cold winter morn, reflecting on all that is around/within me.  I notice the waning moon, face brilliantly unexpressive, shining dispassionately against the perfectly blue morning sky.  The crows caw their morning greetings, but I can barely force myself to respond.  As the chill seeps through the layers of my human made winter wear, I cannot rouse an ounce of motivation to push it away.  It reminds me of something… something close enough to feel, if not yet to name.

My mind reaches for happier thoughts… connections to the world around me.  I recall the joy I felt yesterday at the first stirring of the trees.  They are nowhere near awake around here yet, but I felt the rootlets twitching slightly, and the sap begin to soften, as the trees baked in the strong midwinter sun.  Soon… soon enough, my dear friends will waken, and our work together will commence once more…

I listen, and can hear my grandchildren giggling at last night’s party; such carefree abandon always makes me smile.  I see my grandaughter’s impish grin as she watches me, looking for a reaction as she manipulates the adults surrounding her.  I think about how my 6 year old grandson put himself in a “timeout” (yes, he called it that as he sat down), for accidentally knocking over an empty bottle in his enthusiastic play.  He is always so hard on himself, but I cannot help but admire such self-discipline in one so young…

And then my thoughts drift to the others, those in pain, who crossed my path yesterday.  My focus, however, is not so much on the pain they expressed in countless known or unknown ways, but in my reaction to it.  Because everyone is in pain these days, and such pain must find release…

My concern is about how I felt about it, how I reacted.  The person who told me a dozen times over a 4 hour visit how tired they were became annoying.  The one who worked so hard overcoming sadness and grief that their faux happiness gained enough volume to become excruciating.  The injustices shared, to which I could only mildly respond, “such is life.”  The person whose physical pain mirrored my own, so much so that I was grateful when they finally left.  Even my own discomfort captured less than my full attention, as I crawled up stairs with hands and feet, involuntary groans escaping (in front of people, even!), without me caring what others (or my self) might think…

Tears slip silently down my cheeks as I write these words, but no sobs accompany them.  They are the hopeless, unacknowledged grief of something lost, without the desire to even identify the cause.  But I suspect I know already, if the title of this piece carries any significance at all, for what I do NOT feel this morning is compassion.  Not for myself, nor for anyone (or perhaps any thing) at all.  I feel a void where it used to exist, an emptiness that holds only fading memory.  I remember caring.  I remember hurting.  I remember helping.  But all of that is in the past…

My eye is drawn back to that brilliant moon in a flawless cold midwinter sky…

Yes… dispassion is the right word for today, and it has crept in to every aspect of my awareness.  I guess that answers my question, doesn’t it?

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22 thoughts on “Where has my compassion gone?

  1. Perhaps it is that simple, Andrew. Perhaps my compassion is not lost, but merely diminished. That’s more pleasant than the alternative, I guess.

    But what I FEEL is detached, cut off, isolated. And all the words and acts of kindness I express are mere habit, fading in the passage of time…

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  2. A bit of philosophy here, not meant to give advice or anything else, just information.

    There’s knowing (intellect, mental awareness) and there’s feeling. If we were to line graph our lives with a red line (mental awareness) and a black line (feelings) the red line would progress slowly but inexorably from the zero point, upward. The black line would progress in ups and downs all over the graph and plunge back to zero at the end. That is what most “Earthians” completely miss about engaging life.

    The knowing passes through a particular interval of life-time relatively unaffected whereas the feeling gets totally enmeshed in it. The knowing is permanent, eternal; the feeling is temporary; of the mortal part.

    I have learned, when affected by a powerful feeling – perhaps by the moon as seems to be what is affecting you at the moment or some other earthly force – to allow this feeling full rein. Go for it, jump and thrash, kick and run, wipe yourself out and disappear. The self-empowered person knows not to follow this feeling into the emotional to end up sucking on exhaust (ion).

    As spirit/mental beings we exist beyond the material; beyond feelings. As physical beings we are pure feeling. Those who know themselves to be both live (or walk is the common expression) between worlds and accept both, realizing that on many occasions they will seem as if they were enemies. (For example, falling in love, or living with excruciating pain; having to kill to defend your children). When it comes to that the “between worlds” entity has to choose which to focus on since they are irreconcilable.

    If I were to hazard a guess, you are ‘in between’ irreconcilables, having yet to choose which to focus your life on. It’s just a guess.

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  3. inkbiotic says:

    My heart goes out to you, you sound emotionally exhausted, like all your compassion has been wrung out of you. I hope your life treats you with compassion tomorrow, and that gives you the strength to pass it on. xx

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  4. Im sorry that you feel that way. Its a terrible feeling. I feel “dead, detached, removed” sometimes. Im told that my central nervous system has been depleted. I wont say “chin up”. I will say rest. Burrow in and lie still. You are allowed to feel like this. Just know that tomorrow is another day. My Dad used to say to me, “it will be better in the morning”. Remember though that you are loved, you have the gift of grandchildren and people like me, people you do not know wish you well and send you positive energy and from me, a warm sunshiny South African hug.

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  5. Sometimes Lisa we go into an emotional shut down. There might be a whole raft of reasons. Mostly because there is much weighing on our minds and the only way we can cope is to pull back for a while.
    I’ve experienced that myself. It was a way to avoid going under.
    We can only do so much with what we have. There is no shame in not pushing ourselves beyond our limits of the instance.
    These things pass in time, we merge back into the flow of the world and she welcomes us home.
    Take care,
    Roger

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    • Indeed, such objectivity makes life, and its struggles, less personal; that seems helpful and hopeful. But when your very definition of your self includes connection and compassion, such impersonality is disturbing. Not necessarily wrong, but uncomfortable, to say the least… 😀

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  6. I wonder if “feeling” compassion sometimes needs a rest In times like these when there is so much suffering. The fact that you notice its absence and mourn means it may simply be muted but still there on a different level. Perhaps giving you time to breathe, a chance to rest and heal? Sending virtual hugs. ❤

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  7. This is so beautifully written. I was working at the airport when someone started spiraling into a bipolar psychosis. I tried to ignore her for a while because I was too tired but then my automatic responses kicked in and I called operations. Eventually she went to a doctor locally. I had to force myself to do something that should come naturally both from work and personal experience. It can be a struggle to be compassionate when we are running on empty.

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  8. I have chills reading this, chattykerry! I so relate to the exhaustion, to the hope that someone else will step in and handle it this one time, to the slow and heavy realization that no, no one else is going to…

    But my heart instantly connects to the spirit of giving within you that steps up just one more time to do the “right” thing. You are who you are, and you could no more walk away from that situation than I could. And that is precisely why we are necessary now, even if it seems like so much of our effort is wasted…

    Bravo to you! For being brave. For being true to who you are. And for being the compassionate soul who eased another’s suffering. You are to be commended on all counts! 😀

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