About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Has 'compassion' become a dirty word? #inspiration

I thought that publishing Free Fall would be a completion of a journey; instead it's been the beginning of another. With the sharing of my story, I've inspired others to share their sorrow with me. I've received messages from as far away as South Africa of people telling me their personal experiences of losing a loved one to suicide.

I'm not a counselor, nor do I pretend to be. I respond to these messages with the gentle understanding of one who has walked the same path. I couldn't have done this a few years ago when I was too raw from my own experience to absorb the pain of another. Now I listen (or read as the case may be) with a sense of honor that strangers choose to open their hearts to me. 

There's too little compassion in the world today. It pains me to see the judgment cast onto others for being solitary or sad. Others tell me how isolated they've felt in their grieving process...how confused they've been. I wrote the book so that others would know that they weren't alone on their journey; and, although this was my intention, I had no expectation of the response it would receive. 

To me, this is a symptom of the world we're living in today where people believe rumors, react rather than think, and condemn without hesitation. It's too easy to be divided where we label each other and end relationships based on rash decisions rather than deepening them with thoughtful discussions. Where is the love for our fellow humans? Is compassion seen as weakness rather than strength? 

I hope this tumultuous world begins to simplify soon. Relationships matter more than material things. Humanity matters more than status. We as a collective society need to stop allowing fear of being hurt to interfere with our core need for connection. 

I admit that I've become solitary, but not out of fear. I find comfort in nature, peace, and writing. I'm eliminating all who perpetuate conflict. My need for connection is met by the handful of solid, true friends who have been with me through the darkest times of my life--and by the strangers who reach out to me because of Free Fall or my other books. 

Even a solitary person can be connected--it's being choosy with the connections that makes the difference. I only allow compassionate souls with peaceful intentions in my life now.

Have you ever asked yourself how compassionate you truly are? Do you judge the neighbor who drives an older car or the single mother who dresses in bargain clothes so that her kids have all they need for school? Do you use the words 'liberal' or 'conservative' to pigeon hole another in a debate and perpetuate hate? Do you look at someone grieving and think they are wallowing? Do you see someone struggling with addiction and think they are weak or that you are somehow better than they are? Do you see an overweight person and condemn them as lazy without even knowing their name let alone their story? How compassionate are you? 

I've done these things in the past, I admit, but my journey has softened my edges. Now I take a breath, step back, and listen. We're all doing the best we can with the resources we have. We're all experiencing our own challenges and celebrating successes. It's not a competition of who has it worse or who has it better. Learning to accept another human being as they are in this moment is the greatest gift we can give to them...and to ourselves.

As for the success of Free Fall, I'm humbled and grateful. My intention from the beginning was to share my story so that no one would ever need to feel as alone as I did. I wrote it from a place of compassion and love--and the fact that it's been embraced touches me more deeply than I ever imagined.

Peace to you who read this today. I am hopeful that by understanding another's suffering, we can indeed breed a culture of compassion.

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