Today, I was struck by a memory from when I was much younger. During a ride home from Middle School basketball practice, I looked out the car window and saw a homeless man on the side of the road with a sign asking for food or money. I started to feel physical pain in my chest. I began crying. I turned to my father and said, "I hate this. I get such a bad, sad feeling when I see homeless people." In a rare moment of lucidity, my father responded, "That feeling is called compassion. Don't ever lose it."
Now, my father has his challenges, but this was a priceless piece of advice for a young person in a world designed to desensitize, traumatize and eradicate our natural sense of compassion.
And, the other day at Whole Foods, I got that bad, sad feeling again.
I came up from the parking garage via the elevator and entered the main entrance area of the grocery store. An employee told me and a mother and daughter to wait, as the store had reached capacity. There was also a line outside of the store, so we were confused. Then, after roughly five minutes of waiting, the employee started letting people in from outside and told us we had to go wait in the MUCH longer, outside line, which had grown exponentially longer during our wait inside. I wasn't particularly dressed for the cold weather, as I drove, but the little girl waiting with me in line was straight up in nothing but a t-shirt, with nothing else warmer to put on.
The mother and daughter started heading outside, upset but resigned, and I gestured for them to wait a minute- I said to the employee, "You're asking a young girl in a t-shirt to step outside in 40 degree weather right now. Can you please just figure something else out? They didn't dress to wait in a line outside for 30 minutes, and we didn't see any signage on our way up through the garage and the elevator to let know what to expect. What's more, you told us to wait inside while the line outside was growing."
He literally just looked at me and kept repeating, "The store is at capacity. You must go outside." I felt like I was interacting with a hostile, glitching android. And not the cool kind, like from Raised by Wolves (great HBO max show, btw).
So, I got pissed. During this public health crisis, there have been many moments that have challenged logic and straight up violated common sense. But this particular moment really triggered me. Why?
Because he lacked a basic sense of compassion.
Instead of going outside and into yet another, colder line, I took a moment to inform him that people can still get sick from other diseases, and that the phrase "catch a cold" comes from, well, the cold. I also told him I found it inhumane to make a young girl in a t-shirt stand outside in the cold when there's a perfectly reasonable, alternative solution available. I told him I thought he lacked basic common sense and compassion, and I went right back down the elevator to head home.
Now, this example is not monstrous. This Whole Foods employee wasn't committing a war crime. I'm sure the girl survived unscathed. But this is how "it" begins. When the rules start to override your basic humanity and you don't blink to think twice about what you're doing, we're all in trouble.
So how do we fix this glitch?
Well, the other day I was doing energy work with a client (who, yes, gave me permission to refer to her in generic terms in this email). It became immediately apparent that she was a reincarnated ascendant master, and I have never encountered anything like it. I got a hit on a name: "Quan Yin", wrote it down, and then feverishly researched it after the session.
Quan Yinis a bodhisattva (goddess) of Mercy and Compassion. In reading about how she "hears the cries of this world" and offers healing, I was reminded of the trip to the grocery store and a myriad of other recent experiences that left me with the distinct fear that we are losing our humanity. What I wouldn't give for Quan Yin to come down on a blue lotus and kick some people back into gear;)
I took the session with my client as an opportunity to bone up on the spiritual and energetic importance of compassion. And yes- I get it- compassion is basic and you really shouldn't have to research its attributes or benefits, but it's so much more than just the obvious "Golden Rule" stuff we're taught as children.
Compassion originates in our heart chakra, the "impossible to hack" power center in our energetic and physical bodies. And while compassion has been beleaguered by bad press in our society- lumped together with weakness or softness or even victim energy- it's quite literally the opposite.
Compassion is strength.
When compassion kicks in, we are growing beyond ourselves and our own immediate needs or desires. When leveraged properly, compassion can actually create and reinforce boundaries. For instance, in the example at the grocery store, it was my heart chakra telling me to say something on behalf of others and, frankly, myself. When we have compassion for ourselves- we get some distance and see how hard we've been working and the burdens we've been carrying- and we can then assert boundaries with others. Conversely, when we have compassion for others it wakes us up to our own needs, reminding us that we're "just like that person" and are deserving of the same forbearance we seek for others.
It's a bit of a paradox, but compassion does reinforce healthy boundaries and personal strength. Compassion empowers us to know right from wrong and see the difference between joy and burden, love and abuse, and kindness and cruelty.
While continuing to deep dive into content on NXIVM, Scientology, and even the Jehovah's Witnesses, I realized that the first thing these cults do is eradicate compassion for self and for others. Why? Because it takes the heart chakra, which is thoroughly "unhackable" and very powerful, out of the equation, effectively disarming us and taking our most powerful weapon of self-defense.
This, in turn, removes a form of instinctual common sense- i.e. "this is wrong". It takes people out of compassion, out of the heart chakra, and puts them squarely in the head- the neurotic, frenetic land of chaos and confusion. The cult members lose compassion for themselves, blame themselves for everything, and push themselves physically, psychologically and emotionally well beyond their normal boundaries.
This is then how they treat others and, when another cult member speaks out or leaves, there is no compassion shown to them. They are seen as "other" and are shunned, blamed, sued, abandoned, harassed and generally treated like a malignancy instead of a human being.
This is how coercive control works- by killing compassion.
Now, I know what you're thinking: we're not in a cult, so what does this matter to us?
On the assertion that "we are not in a cult", well....I beg to differ. And I'm not saying that wearing a mask is tantamount to joining a cult or that a disease is not real- that's not it at all. But if you really reflect on how consolidated the news has become, how we all have intensely consistent, shared cultural experiences because of social media and related online messaging, and how quickly cancel culture will zero in on a new offender and essentially de-person them...well...it's a bit of a cult. Politics have become tribal. Religion has always been tribal. So many things in our world are exclusive, binary, and create an "us vs. them" duality-based paradigm...just like in a cult.
And I'm not suggesting we all "tune in and drop out" or live some other hippy phrase while going off the grid, nor do I think it's healthy to constantly fall down conspiratorial rabbit holes challenging the "official narrative" on the internet. But we should listen to our hearts. It's the simple, easy way to check in and ask, "is this normal? is this healthy? is this okay?"
There have been a few tools that have really helped me navigate this compassion "paradox" of humanity with healthy boundaries:
Reiki Level 2. When I received my Reiki Level 2 attunement and certification, I gained the insight and ability to do Reiki energy healing for others. The experiences I had in the attunement as well as in the weeks afterwards, while practicing on amenable friends and clients, absolutely amplified my sense of compassion. When you encounter someone else's energy body, you get their "story". You see, very quickly, who has caused them harm and how this was done, and you instantly gain a new, deeper sense of compassion for the individual. Funnily enough, I also noticed that, while my compassion was growing in these sessions, I had better personal boundaries outside of them. I effectively avoided energy vampires and I spent time doing self-reiki, as the client sessions were a great reminder of how powerful the modality is and how I need to use it for myself, too.
The teacher that did my Level 2 attunement- David Riddle- is going to be teaching Reiki Level 2 at TOTEM's Oak Park space on October 18th. If you've been on the fence about going for Level 2, I would urge you to take the plunge. With what's coming for all of us, we're going to need self-compassion, compassion for others, and the ability to heal and assist others in recovering from energetic trauma.
Space is limited to keep things socially-distanced, so make sure to register to secure your spot here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/121566798567
Divination.Divination is the broad term for "fortune telling", which includes tarot reading, mediumship, and many other forms of data-gathering psychic work. And while it may not scream "compassion" at first glance, it really does help build understanding and humanity. In my almost ten years of reading tarot cards and doing mediumship work for clients, I am consistently reminded of just how amazing we are as humans. We endure and overcome tremendous hardship, pain and trauma, a fact that I am lucky enough to face on a regular basis. When you start to see "beyond the veil", you gain insights that help you better understand human behavior. You grasp that everyone has a silent struggle, no matter how great their life looks like from the outside or on social media. Because of these sessions, I am regularly inspired by my clients and find myself treating strangers with more compassion and respect with the tacit understanding that they likely have their own, unseen struggle.
I will be teaching our "Diving the Future" workshop on October 25th, helping attendees discover their inherent psychic ability to read tarot cards, gaze into crystal balls, and gather superior data to predict events and make better decisions. This modality can also provide access to compassion- for yourself and for others- via the Four Agreements' truism: "Take nothing personally". By better understanding what is beneath the surface, you can gain the whole picture and take yourself out of the worry and sadness of not knowing.
This workshop also has limited spaces to maintain safety and social distancing, so if you're interested please register to secure your spot: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/116350145417
And, if nothing else, start with yourself. Treating yourself with real compassion is a great way to institute a template of compassion in general. And it's funny- people won't be more inclined to take advantage of you...to the contrary, I think you'll find that accessing your natural compassion will teach others about how you expect to be treated by them.
As always, shoot me an email anytime:firstname.lastname@example.org . Happy to talk, listen, or do an energy session.