Home > Music, Reflections > A heart cracked open

A heart cracked open

“It’s not about money. It is about compassion,” said a local city council member at a meeting earlier this week. He spoke with such poise and kindness, I  deeply felt the broader truth behind his statement on a local measure.

Over and over since, I’ve come back to his words: It is about compassion. 

Each time I roll them over on my lips and in my heart, I understand better how much everything is about compassion.

Seeing how little is presented around me these days, I’m trying to find ways to show it more in my own life. I feel it often, to be sure, but quiet, held-in compassion does little for someone who yearns to be overtly recognized as human.

This morning, I heard something so overflowing with powerful compassion that I began sobbing. How rare it is to hear something so raw so boldly presented! How wondrous to hear a world in a shaking voice and to understand how compassion connects and strengthens us!

If you’d like your heart to be cracked right open and hear the goodness in compassion (and pain, and solidarity) expressed, please go here. Scroll to 52:40 in “Orange is the New Anti-Black” and listen to the minute of preface explaining why Jeremy Scahill included Kimya Dawson’s “At the Seams” in today’s podcast.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” — Leonard Cohen

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Categories: Music, Reflections Tags: ,
  1. February 9, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    For heart-centered people it’s all about compassion, but lately I’m seeing way too many ego-centered people who consider compassion something to exploit. Don’t know where I’m going with this comment other than to say, I agree with you, but am becoming more wary by the day.

    • February 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Compassion and bleeding-out are two different things. Dictionary.com defines compassion as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” It’s a feeling, which might be expressed by a smile, a hug, an “I [hear/see/feel] you.” Nothing is being stolen or extracted in these simple offerings, when offered instead of extracted.

      Those who try to extract still merit some momentary compassion, I think … but not time, objects, resources, or whatever it is they’re manipulating someone to try obtaining. Fortunately, these people give abundant clues as to their genuine lack of concern for others, and so are easily enough rejected (after reading Gift of Fear a few times, in any case!).

      That a few people are predators or leeches isn’t a good reason to deprive the vast many who aren’t an opportunity to say I see and feel for them. ‘Cause that’s what the councilman was getting at when he said it wasn’t about money, but compassion: when we fail to see the humanity of other people, we’ll be stingy even when they truly, desperately need it. With eyes open to the prospect of their humanity, money seems less consequential than another’s starvation. Closed off to people’s humanity, many will continue to suffer because their suffering is less costly to us than a few more pennies from our wallets.

      (To be clear, my pro-compassion stance is perfectly consistent with my heretofore unmentioned pro-Nazi-punching one. I can have tremendous compassion for someone lacking so much whatever-he-missed that he decided he’d grow up to dream of extinguishing entire populations, and work to actually effect that. I can have compassion, and still punch him in the face to let him know (1) not on my watch and (2) I also have tremendous compassion for those threatened by his horrific ideas. Compassion isn’t a blank check, but an openness to seeing what suffering there is and then deciding what next step to take. :))

  2. February 15, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I love your writing. You come from a real place. I see your compassion through your writing.

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