I am working with Pema Chodron's Compassion Cards this year. I pick a card every week at random, put it somewhere I can see it, and try to focus on this lesson. One lesson a week.
I went to breakfast with an old friend yesterday and ended up in bed all the rest of the day. So this post is a day late. Healing from the spine surgeries is not for the mild of heart.
This week's card: "Don't vascillate"
On the back it says: "If you train in awakening compassion only some of the time, it will slow down the process of giving birth to certainty. Wholeheartedly train in keeping your heart and mind open to everyone."
Oh this card...
I had wanted to focus on compassion for this very principle. In 2018, it's easy to see who is "them" and who isn't. Everyone I know seems to be scanning people for any identifier that they might be one of "them."
People who support the president looked for any sign that someone might be "the left".
Where as people who do not support the president, find people who do to be "stupid, crazy, and mentally slow."
The divisions don't stop there.
White supremacy groups have risen out of no where. Civil rights issues are at the forefront. Immigrants are harassed whether they are from another country or were born here. After years of relative peace, LGBTQ people are fighting for their basic human rights. Women are in the streets arguing for their right to basic healthcare.
Sometimes, the war rages inside my head. I can clearly see the "them" and know them to be selfish and cruel. My Senator who has taken millions from the NRA and stands at the spokesperson for the Koch Brothers. He's a them. The guy from rural Colorado who had black lung, found by ACA, yet rages against the "libtards" who won't open the mines for him. The revelationists who speak of the rapture, and their soon-to-be assertion into heaven, but know nothing of the kindness of Christ. The extreme selfishness of relatives who treat my time as if it were worth nothing. I can list off reason after reason, justification after justification as to why "they" do not deserve my compassion, how "they" are "them."
It's never been easier to close my heart to "them."
This compassion card encourages me to stop keeping compassion for this person and excluding that person.
The work is to keep my heart open and compassionate to all people -- even "them."
In 2018, it's a lot more work than it has been any other time since I left my parents home.