Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Twenty-five

Among the goals of this project was the desire to shift our personal consciousness and increase our awareness. Something that goes a long way towards doing that, I think, is compassion.
Being compassionate is not always my first response towards others, but that is something I'm working to change.

Ryan picked up Karen Armstrong's book, "Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life" at the library recently because he thought it would be a pertinent book to read during this project. He was right. We are both reading it now and it is well-timed.

Here is an except from the cover notes of the book: "The twelve steps Armstrong suggests begin with 'Learn About Compassion' and close with 'Love Your Enemies.' In between, she takes up 'compassion for yourself,' mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and 'concern for everybody.' She suggests concrete ways of enhancing our compassion and putting it into action in our everyday lives, and provides, as well, a reading list to encourage us to 'hear one another's narratives.' Throughout, Armstrong makes clear that a compassionate life is not a matter of only heart or mind but a deliberate and often life-altering commingling of the two."

A deliberate commingling of heart and mind. For me, this was a call to action. A call to not only be compassionate emotionally, but also intellectually. A call to not just show compassion to those less fortunate, but also to my peers and colleagues. To cut some slack, to put myself in their shoes, to not be so exacting, to not take it personally, to open up my heart and mind and search for understanding. Henry Ward Beecher said, "Compassion cures more than condemnation." And the Dalai Lama says, "Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival...If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

Daily Meals ~
Breakfast ~ steel cut oats and coffee
Lunch ~ popcorn
Dinner ~ rice and beans

Daily Total ~ $1.60

Just a little bit of food for thought...


  1. I really like the whole last paragraph.

  2. Jenny's reading Karen Armstrong right now.