Many of the adjectives used to describe me are not of my choosing- so when am tired of them, I choose to be the purple diva. Unafraid, free and untethered!!
My intention for 2020 and for the coming decade is common humanity-community. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”. Martin Luther King .
In a world full of individualism and at a time when success is measured by the possessions; turning the spotlight on the collective needs of a community can be difficult. And yet, that’s what we are invited to do in mindfulness. To hear the cry of a sister down the road and put a box of cornflakes in the basket for the food bank; Mindfulness invites us to forsake the self for our common humanity. To bear witness to suffering, form and intention to bring an end to the suffering. Witnessing the suffering of others invokes compassion, an intuitive desire to stop the suffering, a call to action. This witnessing can awaken gratitude, through acknowledgement of what we have, no matter how little; for there is always someone with less. This shift away from the habit of unfavourable comparison (where we compare to those who have more) has a healing effect.
Both compassion and gratitude are associated with nurture, happiness and wellbeing. So contrary to our fears, bearing witness does not deplete or depress, but if handled skilfully, can nurture, helping us to grow and to flourish. Helping our children to bear witness can teach them to do without, changing us from a nation of want.
3 ways to build compassion and gratitude
- Take a moment to feel the ground under your feet, exploring the touch of the ground on the soles of your feet, your toes and the whole of your legs. If you have no pain, acknowledge this, with a gentle touch of gratitude. If you have pain, take a moment to send some kindness to the areas in pain.
- Take a moment to notice nature, the tree, rock, hill, river.
- Take a moment to count 3 things you are grateful for today. Send a kindly thought for those who are not as fortunate.
- Finally, did you know? The concept of common humanity is universal? In African philosophy -“I am what I am because who we all are”; Nelson Mandela (on the Ubuntu philosophy).