How Does Compassion Lead to Forgiveness

How does compassion lead to forgiveness, you might wonder. Compassion is defined by Webster as sorrow felt for another’s suffering or troubles, coupled with an urge to help in some way, deep sympathy. They also say pity, yet, I believe we don’t have to pity another in order to have compassion For me, it manifests as very soft and tender thoughts for another, often coupled with a deep knowingness of or wanting to understand one’s troubles so I can offer help of some sort.

Compassion leads to forgiveness when we recognize how we have done the very thing for which we are angry at or hurt by another. This powerful realization happened to me. I was doing a self-appraisal of all my relationships, and I recognizd I used to get drunk and yell at my partner at the time how worthless they were, that they wouldn’t amount to anything.

I was horrified to remember this! I didn’t mean those things I said. I was feeling badly about myself, which is what prompted the words in the first place. Then I realized they were the very words that were told to me as a child. I began to wonder if the person who uttered them to me also felt badly about himself at the time he yelled those words.

I felt compassion for myself, for the deep-seated feelings of worthlessness that led me to say these wounding words. Suddenly, I saw the man who said those words to me, as a suffering human being, hurting like I hurt, lashing out like I lashed out. I had great compassion for both of us, both wounded souls. I began to realize that I would like forgiveness in this situation, and believed that to be true for my perpetrator, as well. I softened  to both of us, and brought forth all the compassion I could muster. I understood why the words were said. They had nothing to do with me or my worth. Years of hurt and pain were washed away, as my compassion gave way to forgiveness.

So tell me, how does compassion lead to forgiveness in your life? Does it? Can it if you look with compassion?




Search of Self

A self-appraisal is what is meant when I say search of self. It is the ability to go, each time, to that place of looking with honesty at one’s actions or thoughts or words. Many people are afraid to do this, as they are afraid they will find there is nothing to them, or that they are all bad.

No one is all bad. We each have redeeming, delightful qualities. When looking at oneself, look at the good things, as well as the areas that could use improvement. Look for your clear heart, shining brightly, clearly, truthfully, like that knob in the image…

Being honest about what one has said or done, even when it means having to be humble, is the path to peace. Owning one’s flaws and foibles gives them a sense of relief; the need to be right disappears, the poor behavior can be viewed with compassion. When we identify poor behavior and see it with compassion, we see a wounded person… us… and we can soothe ourselves.

Above and beyond that is the way in which we spend our time blaming others for our troubles, when, if we looked carefully at our actions, we would see that we are the originator of our problems. Often, we have done or said something which has set into motion an untoward event or reaction on somebody’s part, and we blame someone else. That is where we need to stop and look at ourselves closely, ferreting out our part in the affair.

I have found when I do this, yes, at first I am embarrassed about my behavior, but then I see myself with compassion, and my thoughts toward myself soften. Then, I am able to see where my actions led to an uncomfortable or confrontative situation.  When I see that it was my doing,  I can then take responsibility for my actions or words, changing them, or apologizing. This skill has led me tp peace countless times.

With one messy situation today, look at your part in it, and if you were in error, make a correction in some way. How did it feel to do that?




How To Overcome Fear – Continued

To continue with the previous post, we are at the point of taking action. I perform a self-appraisal, identifying the fear in my life, looking at how I react to it, at its origin. I talk over with a trusted friend or clergy, etc., what I have found on my self-inventory. Then, I become willing to have the Universe remove my fears, and I humbly ask for this.

At this point, I list out those who I have harmed by my reactions to fear. I may appear on this list, in addition to others, if for no other reason than because I most likely betrayed my soul in some way.

Here, let’s take an example. I am currently struggling with the fear of approaching radio and TV show hosts to try and get interviews so I can pass the word about my book.  I am afraid to do this because I might stutter or not be able to articulate my thoughts and make a fool out of myself, or they may say no. Ah, rejection. I am afraid of rejection because I feel “less than,”  not good enough. Ah, the heart of it.

On my list of how I’ve harmed myself or others because of these things, I may put that I am judging myself, being self-critical, that I am being dishonest with myself because I am equal to everyone else. I am being untrusting of the Universe to bring me what I need.

As far as how this harms others… I am depriving them of learning about the book, I am judging them as having a closed mind, so that’s character assassination, perhaps.

These are just a few examples of things to put on my harms list. Join me tomorrow as I talk about what to do with this list.


How To Accept Yourself

Acceptance of Self

“Have we really changed throughout the years, or do we merely hold within our heart and mind and soul the essence of who we are, while our physical form changes?

Can we recapture the delightful being we have always been, as we allow and celebrate our strengths, our flaws, our spirit?”

Perhaps the biggest, most revealing, and most rewarding thing we can do in the process of accepting ourselves is to perform a self-inventory, an appraisal. This needs to encompass everything about you – your strong as well as weak points, positive as well as negative, the things you hate and the things you adore.

Armed with this information, we can apply the “being human” factor. This is how we consider the negative behaviors and beliefs we have displayed. Rather than beat ourselves up for them, we can begin by recognizing that our being human played a part in it. We acted like a human being that is fallible. We can have compassion for ourselves for thinking ill of that person, ourself, who was being human. This compassion helps us to forgive ourselves.

When we can forgive ourselves, we can begin to accept who was are, with all our quirks and imperfections, as well as the delightful things about us. Don’t we discover, in this process, that we are merely the person we have always been in our goodness, at our core? We now have more life experiences and, thus, wisdom from which to draw. We have grown over the years, yet, we remain the same in a body that changes.

From our inventory, we can identify when we were wrong and we can promptly admit it. We can make amends to those we have hurt, as long as it won’t hurt them or someone else. We begin to respect and like ourselves more when we can change our beliefs and behaviors to be more kind, tolerant, and respectful.

These good things we derive from making positive changes in our lives leads us to accept ourselves more. We resign ourselves to who we are, yet it is not with an air of resignation with which we do this. It is, in fact, with a new-found knowledge of our essence, our spirit, that we meet the world. We have a sense of calmness, of knowingness.

This is a formula for happiness, as Evelyn Roberts Brooks talks about in her blogs. We can relax. We can enjoy the company of others, and of ourselves, more fully. We are led to peace


What Resonates With Your Heart?

Pillar of Strength

“Perhaps, rather than thinking I must make my morals, truth, and integrity match another’s, I can determine what resonates with my own heart. When it does, I have the strength of a pillar.”

We spend a lot of time trying to be liked, to be accepted by others. It is a basic need, perhaps, as social beings. Sometimes, we try so hard to fit in, that we forego our own beliefs, morals, and integrity in favor of adopting another’s. This is most often an unconscious behavior. Yet, it hurts our soul when we give it away in such a manner.

To change our truth is to betray ourselves to ourselves. It is, perhaps, the ultimate way to negate our being, to negate the very core of who we are. For it is in our morals, our integrity, that we shine as individuals. They make us who we are, show what we believe in and stand for. They are part of what makes us, us.

Why do we change our morals, integrity, and truth? What is behind this behavior? Perhaps, it is a reflection of our insecurity, not having a firm like, or love, of Self and who we are. This leaves us unable to stand up for our beliefs. Perhaps, we do not even KNOW our beliefs, have never examined them, have always adopted someone else’s truth.

In either case, the issue can be resolved by doing a self-appraisal and flushing out things like our morals, our truths about ourselves and what we stand for. We tend to look within and only find our faults, our weak and not-so-nice points. Do that first, if you must, yet, do not forget to list your positive qualities and attributes, the things about yourself that make you the unique and delightful person you are and are meant to be to the world. Show kindness to yourself as you embark upon this task.

Go ahead. I dare you. If you are honest with yourself, you will find there are many redeeming qualities about you for which you can show appreciation and respect to yourself. I am not talking about flaunting what you find. Rather, I’m talking about relishing this information about yourself and being humble about what you find.

I am talking about being so strong in your convictions and who you are, that you do not waver in your approach to the world; you stand for what you believe in with every encounter, and within. When you are able to do this, you will have an inner strength, the strength of a pillar, and you will find peace.

What resonates with your heartf?


How to Manage Feeling Worthless

Corner of Worthlessness

I try and try to climb to the light of my being, yet, I cannot scale the wall of my worthlessness. So I collapse, again, in the shadows…

a heap of broken debris in the corner.

Feeling worthless. One of low self-esteem, loss of self-respect. The feeling that no one appreciates your efforts, that you do not matter to anyone, or to very few. Nothing you do is good enough, so why bother? Just writing about it brings an energy-draining feeling.

From there, feeling worthless often leads to self-pity, which can generate shame for having those feelings. Many numb these feelings with the use of drugs, alcohol, shopping, eating… In the most drastic cases, these feelings lead to suicidal thoughts and, sometimes, actions.

Where does it originate? Some say it stems from the early, formative years, if one repeatedly hears they are defective, not good enough. Yet, one can develop feelings of worthlessness if in a bad relationship, for example, where one endures continual put-downs, degradations. The words heard become adopted as our own and we continue to degrade ourselves; we don’t need others.

How would one manage feeling worthless? It is said that doing esteem-able acts is a way to increase one’s self-esteem, and thus, decrease or resolve those feelings. One might also discover their calling, whereby their actions are geared toward fulfilling an identified purpose. Often, one’s purpose is useful to others, which raises one’s self-esteem and self-respect.

Counseling of some sort to resolve those underlying feelings can be very useful and yield a positive self-esteem and self-confidence, thus, minimizing feelings of worthlessness.

Doing an honest inventory of yourself and your skills can lead to the realization that what was told to you was not true, that you do have many assets and many positive attributes.

Feeling worthless is so damaging to our spirit. It leads us to dangerous places in our mind and heart. The degrading things we were told or that we tell ourselves is not who we are. We are all delightful beings, each with specific skills and strengths. Learn those about yourself. Above all, be gentle with yourself as you heal.


Tips For Finding Peace

Promise of Peace

When I practice the principles of love for myself and others,

the gates of my heart melt into the glow of dusk, and peace rises to greet me.

It seems I have inner peace when I practice the principles of living, when I practice loving others and myself. It manifests itself as calmness, quietness in that moment. It is composed of one instant of peace following another, until a block of time has passed and I have maintained that peace.

Letting go of the way I want things to go, surrendering, adds tremendously to the ushering in of peace. It’s not something that I say consciously, “I want to be peaceful.” Rather, it seems to be a by-product of other attitudes and behaviors.

For example, practicing gratitude also leads me to peace by letting me feel that all is well; practicing compassion softens my heart to myself and others, and brings me peace.

I looked for this type of peace all my life, but I was looking for it in others, in a bottle, in all that was around me. It wasn’t until I quit drinking and got sober, that I began to learn that happiness and peace come from within me. This took a long time of soul-searching and self-appraisal before I reached a point of acceptance about who I am.

When I reached this point of self-acceptance, life seemed to change from that point forward. It was then that I began to experience periods of peace within. I think the fact that I learned to take responsibility for all my actions, behaviors, and feelings led to the development of peace. Suddenly, there was no one else to blame for the situations in my life. That was very freeing and evoked a peaceful feeling because there was no more drama in my life, or at least, very little.

As I said, I have searched for this in many places and in many ways. But when I let go, practice kindness, compassion, tolerance, and love for myself and others, and take responsibility for myself, peace rises to greet me.


How to Cultivate Differences in Others

Cultivation of Differences

differences“We ask, require, demand that those around us be like us, share our attributes, our beliefs. And in so doing, we compare… one to another. In that process, do we not squash the spirit of one who is different then us – one whose thoughts and drerams and talents lie in a different place?

We are like the gates. Although similar in design, what thrives in one spot does not grow in another. On one, there is rust or corrosion or patina, while on the other is mellowed brass.

One is not more beautiful than another. Each has beauty in its own right, if we will only look… if we will only see.”

I wrote the first and third stanzas of this prose in my journal early in my sobriety, when I began to deal with my feelings of having been compared to my siblings and was expected to have their talents and attributes. Then, two years later, I photographed this gate. It took a few months to match the prose with it.

This is an example of why I believe this book to be Divinely inspired. Not only did I find this prose which described this image, I found better than half of the prose for this book in my journals, written before I ever saw the gate it describes.

As I was typing in the prose above, I was struck by the line about how we squash the spirit of another when we compare them to others. I know today that my spirit was squashed and it was through the creation of this book that I have been able to free my spirit and let it soar.

My experience has led me to be sensitive to the ways in which I compare people. I have only been able to identify my participation in character assassination by taking a good hard look at who I am, a self-appraisal, if you will, of my assets and liabilities. Through that process, I was able to see the ways in which I compare others. I was also able to see that I, in fact, had my own talents and skills and strengths. I had not been acknowledging them during my life.

Once I looked at myself, I then had to accept who I was, including my assets. My spirit began to heal. I felt hope. I began to be able to express gratitude for things around me, people around me. Now, I specifically focus on another’s differences, their strong points, and offer acknowledgment when I am able. My spirit has soared  throughout this process of cultivating differences.

How do you cultivate the differences of those around you?


Ways to Persevere

Rolls of Perseverance

Perseverance“I struggle to not become discouraged, or to think I am a failure because I have not achieved, in my first few attempts, the vision of myself as I wish to be.

Instead, I try to hold tightly to that vision, awaiting my efforts to catch up with the way I am seen by my heart.

Through practice and perseverance, I am learning and growing.”

Perhaps you have experienced being discouraged and feeling as though you failed, because repeated attempts to improve yourself or become a happier person, were unsuccessful. Sometimes, it gets harder and harder to keep trying.

I was one of those people who would beat themselves senseless for perceived failings. I say perceived, because I have learned that nothing in life is a failure. Looked at with a sense of gratitude, failings are actually lessons, opportunities for growth.

It took me a while to get to this point, and many floggings. It seems that when I learned to do a self-appraisal, over time I began to look honestly at what I was doing, what I was believing about myself. I mean looking deeply. What I believed about myself was not true. It was other people’s words and judgments that I was believing.

Once I saw this, really saw and felt this deeply, things began to change for me. I had to search my soul and learn who I really was, not what I had become in response to others. A humbling and difficult experience…

Another thing that has allowed me to persevere with joy is the development of gratitude. With much practice, showing I am grateful for any situation as it happens eases the sting of disappointment or feelings of failure. For me, everything is seen as something for which to be grateful. There can be no failure when there is gratitude.

How do you persevere in the face of discouragement?


Search of Self

search of selfSearch of self, personal inventory, looking at my part in affairs… all the same thing, perhaps. For me it is. When I became sober and first did an inventory, really looked at myself with honesty, I was scared to death that all I would see was a failure, a selfish and bad person with nothing worth mentioning.

What I have learned over the years is that we all have redeeming qualities, even me. Like the image, our minds are a swirl of ideas and thoughts and we even have our shadows… and right in the middle of it all is our heart, shining brightly, leading the way when we let it. Don’t forget to look for those positive things about yourself that are in your heart.

I talk of looking at my part in affairs… what do I mean? For me, it is looking without fear at actions or thoughts I have in response to any given situation. My part in the affair may be that I had self-serving motives, or I was fearful to speak my truth and be honest with someone. It could also be that I had a positive thought of myself instead of beating up on myself or putting myself down.

Doing a self-appraisal was a good way to simply locate myself, to define what I was feeling. It became the vehicle of my inner freedom and peace. A regular habit of looking at my part in the affairs of my life taught me how to value, respect and love myself.

The beautiful thing is that once I can value, respect and love myself, I can value, respect and love others… you! It is a joyful and peaceful place to live and I am so grateful to have found it, one step at a time.

How are you doing with valuing, respecting and loving yourself? How about others?

Thank you for joining my blog today. As you may or may not know, this blog is about my book, Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. Each blog, I talk about the next emotion or action or principle presented in the book, determined by the title of each gate. It will be a while before we get to Moments of Wonder, where I talk about that awesome emotion. Meanwhile, if you’d like to jump ahead, I have guest blogged for Our Little Books, a little book with a big message and  you can read my thoughts on moments of wonder. It’d be fun to have you visit. Our Little Books is a great line of little, teeny books… very inspirational. Hope you can check them out…