Compassion Starts with Awareness. The world is hurting. Let’s do our part.

How to deal with it all?

Today it was the floods in Tennessee and the rising death toll. Last week, among other things, it was the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the earthquake in Haiti. There is much heartache.

It is a lot on our nervous system to take in all these traumatic stories with the accompanying visuals. So, start with breathing, slowing down and becoming more mindful – Self compassion. Then act.

How do you help? Where do you start? What do you do?

1. Compassion starts with awareness. Be aware of your impulse to make a change for the better. Don’t just wallow in the grief and anxiety that these stories create. Honor that impulse.

2. Next, educate yourself. Do learn about what is going on so that you can make an informed decision and discern what to do. Look for the helpers.  What is the history of each community and what are the movements to create positive outcomes and support those with lack of access to resources?

3. Align with your values. What are your values and how can you align them to support the causes you want to support? Know what you believe in and respond, not out of sensationalism, but from a deep place of compassion and care. This helps you to not shut down with overwhelm.

4. Discern where to send resources and support. Really, it is not about who is the neediest. There will always be human needs – hard, painful needs and we cannot fully respond to every single crisis. But we do have an obligation to respond because of our common humanity. What is going on locally in your area to support any of these causes? How can you support the initiatives of others around you that are already doing this work? Money helps, and so do letters to elected officials. There are many ways to show up.

If each of us took these steps, we would move the needle significantly. You develop your compassion muscles when you act.

One more thing – hit forward on this email and send it to several people you know. Ask them to join you in following these steps. When you act compassionately in community, as part of a connected web of people, you help heal the world.

The world is hurting. Let’s do our part.

Hugs and peace.

Iyabo Onipede
Co-Director  
Compassionate Atlanta

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