Monday, January 12, 2015

The Compassionate Path to Change & Discovering Life Serving Strategies

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I believe there is something inside us that calls us to live a better life; a part of us that desires to compassionately connect with us and guide us to a new way of living. This something inside is a longing to reach our full potential.

When darkness comes our way or we stumble about we can always connect with this part of us that tenderly wants to help us get back on track. In nonviolent communication we can access this part of us by putting on our giraffe ears. When we can explore our past decisions with tenderness and no judgment we enter a sacred space that is safe and without judgment - a place that we can be with our feelings, needs and deepest longings. Our giraffe ears or our compassionate presence creates emotional safety for us. It is here that we can find healing and find strategies to live a better life.

Entering the Sacred Space with Compassion
When I think of a story that demonstrates someone entering this sacred space with someone else and helping them turn their life around, I think of a story I grew up hearing at church. It is the story that consists of teachers of the religious community and scribes bringing a woman who was caught in adultery before Jesus. It is his response that resonates of love, grace and compassion.

They said unto him, "Master this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?"

Jesus response is to stoop down and with his finger write on the ground as though he did not hear them. It was as if he was in his own element. He continued to write on the ground. Some theologians think he wrote down the sins that the accusers had done in the past on the ground. I think, regardless of what he wrote down, he was creating a sacred space.

When they continued asking Jesus what they should do Jesus says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

One by one they begin to walk away until there was only the woman and himself left present. He then says to the woman, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?"

She said, "No man, Lord." And Jesus said unto her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

Jesus enters this space with grace and compassion. There is no judgment or condemnation. He sees the potential of the woman and invites her to walk into this potential. If only we could be this tender and compassionate with ourselves.

When we realize that we, like the woman caught in adultery, make the choices we make because we are trying to meet our needs as best we can; we can hold ourselves with empathy and understanding.
We can ask ourselves what needs we were trying to meet when we made the choice and empathize with this part of us that longs for this need. After having done this we can grieve how our choice did not meet this need or the needs of others. Then we can explore and discover strategies that would honor our values and those of others.

There may be choices that we make that are tragic and have tragic consequences, but the key is to learn from these choices. If we can learn that the strategies we chose did not work and find other strategies that work more effectively to meet our needs and the needs of others we can hold everyone with care and respect.

Choosing Life Serving Strategies
Many times when we make choices that we regret we want to judge ourselves as bad or as defective. It is not that we are bad or defective. It is the strategies that are unhealthy and tragic. The strategies we have learned are not serving us and others. It is time to change those strategies and discover some that work to serve and enrich life. When we do this we live in a different world. There is a new place within us that we can go to where we can find direction and guidance to live another way. In time you will become familiar and at home with this place.

This week when you look back on choices that you wish you did not make offer yourself empathy and understanding and then think of what strategies you could have used that would have led to a different outcome where everyone's needs could have been honored.

The question, "What could I have done differently?" or better yet, "What will I do different next time?" are very important questions. These questions lead to different outcomes and different manifestations. To not have an answer to these questions means we will be more likely to rely on the old strategies that have let us down. We know where those strategies lead. That is no longer our path.

It is essential that we are very specific in what we are choosing to do; that it is a doable action. The more specific the strategy we choose the greater the likelihood that we will attain our goal. Enter the sacred space and allow life to unfold.

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