Island Illusion

“No man is an island.” John Donne

Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.

By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.

One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.

So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape?  Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.

“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

 

Head in the Sand?

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.”  Maya Angelou

I found this quote very insightful. Placing empathy with courage.

The last week or two I have witnessed loved ones go through difficult times. Their challenges were on very separate planes, but life shattering just the same. It has led me to reflect on a few terms.

Understanding- grasp an idea, perceive a meaning

Sympathy-feelings of compassion

Empathy-vicariously experience the same feelings/thoughts/attitudes

It seems to me that these words go in order. For me to reach a point of empathy, I first need to understand. Once I come to a place where I grasp what is happening, then I can have feelings of compassion. Empathy goes further, in that I embrace -not their experience, for it is their journey-but I can ‘hug’ them as I connect to their feelings.

That’s where the courage comes in. The courage to stop my crazy daily rush and demands to understand. Sometimes, I’d rather keep my head in the sand.

ostrich with head in sand

What I don’t know, I don’t have to respond to-I try to tell myself. Finding out about trouble will undoubtably call for response. There’s the courage. Do I have the courage to understand, thereby allowing me to feel sympathy, and ultimately to share empathy?

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey

 

 

Compromise

“Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval.” Thomas S. Monson

I was recently asked what 180 degree turn has occurred in my life. What was a change in my views, reversed decision or an action not otherwise expected from me.

I thought-are you serious? That list is long. Let’s see..

I was in church, am now out of church.

I was a faithful Bible teacher, am now unsure what is truth.

I once was positive that the Bible was the only inspired, infallible Word of God, now see it as a ‘sacred writing’ along with others.

I once was a part of a community who taught women couldn’t be ordained, teach men or preach. I now view that as ridiculous.

I once was a part of a community who taught it was wrong to drink or dance. I now enjoy wine with dinner and dancing to almost any melody.

So, how would I narrow that down? All the above are tiny, individual activities that were largely sponsored by a group of people who taught there is no compromise. There is ONLY BLACK and WHITE- GOOD and EVIL.

That is the greatest change. I now see gray. I see the need to compromise. Before, we were taught to ‘die on the sword of truth-be a martyr!’. Now, I;m not so willing to take that sacrificial tone.

I see beauty in discussion. I see wisdom in exploration. I see value in looking at two sides of a situation and coming to a consensus on the way to proceed. My mother always said, “there is good and bad in everything.” and I think she had it figured out. It is how we approach, use, and impose our actions that can make them good or bad. And oft times the same action can evoke both responses from others.

War may be an example. Think of the millions killed out of ‘courage’ to stand for what that group believed was right. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t. Would we have become a nation had we not rebelled over what we believed was right? I personally do not like war. I do not like hurting other people.

Have we lost the ability to communicate and see both sides of an issue or activity? I hope not. That is my change. I no longer take the ‘provided response.’ I search for myself, and in many cases find wonderful opportunities to compromise and bring peace to many people.

“I simply do not think that yelling, swearing, threatening or belittling will get you to the place you want to be faster than kindness, understanding, patience and a little willingness to compromise.” Rachel Nichols

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/180-degrees/