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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in compassion
Self-Care in the Wake of Trauma and Tragedy

I remember in May happily telling a friend that I no longer had drama in my life.  Then, Memorial Day weekend, one of my best friends, a man I have loved for 23 years, dropped a drama-bomb on me that shattered my heart.  A week later, he texted me that he was killing himself, and I scrambled to get him help.  Before I could recover from either, a young singer was murdered by a psycho with a gun after her concert, and a few days later 49 people were murdered and 53 injured in the deadliest mass shooting since Wounded Knee, in a club 11 miles from my house.

In the days following the Pulse mass shooting, I got in the habit of checking Facebook and other websites first thing when I woke every day, looking to see which of my friends had lost friends and family, and offering love and support to each who had.  I also made a point to share as much beauty as I saw, and to soak it in myself; the loving tributes pouring in from around the world, the hours-long lines of people in my community donating blood, the businesses supporting each other, the heroic stories of some of those lost, stories of people taking care of each other in the wake of the tragedy. 

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you so much for this beautifully written piece about your own healthy response to overwhelming tragedy - I hope your example
  • Ashley Rae
    Ashley Rae says #
    Thank you, Lizann! Blessed be!

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Pain

A few times in my life I’ve been gifted with untreatable pain and now is one of them. These days I’m lying awake at night, unable to find a tolerable position, obsessing about what is wrong with me and how it might be getting worse. Promising to fix myself tomorrow with better diet, more meditation, increased self-awareness—bemoaning whatever failure of self-care led to the problem in the first place. Unable to concentrate during the day, experimenting with various combinations of food, drink and drugs to escape sensations that continue to demand my attention. Forced to acknowledge that I am getting older, decaying in my own skin. Fretting about how this makes me less of a companion, less of a teacher, less of a person.

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I trust that you are doing better by now. I, too, have found that writing about an experience can assist in enduring all sorts of
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    So true! Thanks for your kind thoughts.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Dear Archer, I'm so sorry to hear of your pain and hope your doctors find a speedy remedy. But yes, you are right that anyone and
  • Archer
    Archer says #
    Dear Ted: I love your Shakespeare quote! Yes I do not appreciate too much advice at this point, though the blog is bound to provok

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Witches often point to the Law of Three or the last lines of the Wiccan Rede as the source of their ethical beliefs. The trouble is that even those simple guidelines can be controversial. It’s a wonderful goal to “harm none,” but it’s virtually impossible in practice. Just by driving to work, I harm the environment. The Law of Three has so many different interpretations by now that it can really only be a loose reminder that we get back what we send. Further, since we have no central authority, many people object to each of these for their own philosophical reasons.

 So what’s left? It’s also easy to point to the words of the Charge of the Goddess, which tell us that “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.” That’s a great start. Every time you are experiencing or causing love and pleasure, you are in accord with the Goddess. Still, there’s a lot of grey here. You can’t just orient your life around love and pleasure. Your job may not provide either, but that doesn’t make it unethical. I hate vacuuming, but that doesn’t make it immoral.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Relationship

Druidry is all about relationship, and you cannot have relationship without some form of communication. It may not always be in words, human to human, but opening those lines of communication helps us to perceive that the world is more than just our own sense of self. When we begin to see that there are other perspectives, other points of view we also come to an awareness that the world is being experienced by each being individually, in a collective state of unity dictated by space and time.

Events around the world this year have shone a spotlight on discordance, in human to human relationship, and in human to other-than-human relationships. Violent attacks, disregard for the environment, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and more can be attributed to an "Us" and "Them" mentality. When we remove this dualist point of view, and encompass a more holistic approach, we see that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. In Buddhism, it is acknowledged that suffering exists in the world, and that this suffering is caused by the illusion of separation. If we look deeply enough scientifically, anthropologically, and even spiritually we can see that there is more that binds us together than tears us apart.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Soul Behind the Soul

Hildegard von Bingen wrote: “The soul is not in the body; the body is in the soul.” (Vol XXII, No. 5). This is a concept that I’ve been thinking about all week, and how we have tried to place unnatural limitations upon the body and soul based on our dualistic way of thinking.  I suppose a true Zen answer would be the body is the soul and the soul is the body, but right now I’m enjoying thinking that the soul contains the body. Next week I’ll probably veer off into a more Zennist approach.

For this to happen, the soul must accept the body, not the other way around. As I’m not entirely certain that there is even such as thing as an individual soul, it’s an interesting concept.  What if the “life force” on this little ball of rock hurtling through space is all soul, all an expression of soul?  What if everything is an expression of the Earth’s soul, or the soul of the universe?

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  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Lovely reflections. Thanks!
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    You're most welcom, Molly!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I really love this conversation, Joanna. I've been recently speculating that each planet's level of vibrational consciousness all
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    I know - it blows my mind each and every day. Perception is such a strange beast Why can't you trust an atom? Because they m

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Forgiveness

Ksama in Sanskrit means forgiveness. An indispensible word on the spiritual path at practical and cosmic levels, ksama is a virtue that, perhaps more strongly than any other, binds us to a tantric life. Its practice requires that we move beyond our ego and take sanctuary in the naked truth of reality. It is a gateway to Her through relationality (one of the five-fold qualities of the Dark Goddess), a way of creating connection across divides of difference on inner, outer and causal levels.

At times, forgiveness means making a choice to be present with another. It can also mean holding a space of respectful distance in order to let truth unfold. In its many manifestations, the path of forgiveness is a tall order in a world filled with insecurities and vitriol. So many of us harbor terrifying yearnings to be loved—terrifying because we fear we are unworthy of another’s love or worse, somehow unlovable. But as a mechanism for unleashing the power of unfettered love—the antidote to much of our struggle—forgiveness is worth taking the time to understand and practice.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Most Pagans I know are pretty nice people. They will drop everything to help a friend in need. They respond to healing requests that are broadcast by acquaintances over social media and participate in activism in a quest to heal the earth and bring justice to the world. We value that watery ideal of compassion and seek to manifest it in the world.

 

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