I know I’ve been talking a lot about glasses. I’m not obsessed, I promise. But I want to tell you about amazing thing that happened to me this week. One of our fabulous Compassionate Atlanta team members, Pam Glustrom, invited me and another CA team member, Shelly Fine, to join her for a 3-day Compassion Integrity Training. The training was offered by the Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics at Life University. I didn’t truly know what I was getting myself into, but their website looked fabulous and very much aligned with Compassionate Atlanta. I always know I have a lot to learn, so this was perfect.
There were 18 of us along with a group of very knowledgeable, skilled and compassionate trainers. Many of the participants are connected to our sister group Compassionate San Antonio. Together, we learned much about the way we connect to ourselves, the way we see the world and others, common humanity, interconnectedness, empathic decision making, and of course compassion in action.
On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store. And I found myself wearing rose-colored glasses. When I knocked a bottle off the shelf, I was so grateful for the kindness of the man who came to clean up. He was gentle as he smiled at me and told me he would take care of it and not to worry. Then, I was so touched to see the bags of groceries all lined up that people could purchase for a family who needs them. On my way out, I took a few dollars out to give to the lady outside, standing at a table in the cold, collecting money for a community assistance group. A minute later, I looked up and saw the woman next to me opening her purse to make a donation, too.
I saw so much good in the world. I was actually overwhelmed by all the good I saw. I wanted to give everyone a hug. Don’t worry – I held that thought in my mind.
It reminded me of the revelation Tomas Merton had. “In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . .
This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts….if only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . ”
Compassionate Atlanta is ever grateful for your incredible support in doing this work. We are in awe of the ability to see the world and all its beauty in the midst of our every day lives – thanks to all of you.