Being Blog

Be Compassionate

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day when we think about service, non-violence, diversity, equality, community, dreams, perseverance and history. It is a day that we should reflect on our past as well as the work that that we still need to do moving forward. But – it is also a day to sit and think about the messages of King and how we can live them in our everyday life. One of the most powerful messages I have always taken away from King’s life is that of compassion. As he said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

King was a flawed human being, but as Krista Tippett points out in her TedX talk above, that was no obstacle to compassion. Since we all are flawed human beings, it just proves that we all have the power and innate ability to be compassionate – to others and ourselves. King chose to preach the principles of compassion – kindness, curiosity, empathy, forgiveness, generosity, tenderness – and build a community that would live toward these qualities in order to foster change. That change did not come right away, but it did come. We need more change still, but how can we live in compassion – instead of hatred and fear – in order to make the change happen? 

My ultimate dream would be for Chapter Be to be a place that fosters the principles of compassion. And that by sharing stories of how people are working to live an authentic life of being, we are increasing our ability to be understanding, empathetic, kind, generous and tender to each others’ paths. As Krista explains, “compassion comes in signs and stories – not statistics,” and it is “never in the first instance about changing the world, it’s in the first instance about changing ourselves.” Let’s share our honest stories, so that we can be compassionate to one another and approach each other from a place of love instead of a place of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of the other. 

Also, if you have the time, I’d highly recommend watching and/or listening to Krista’s recent interview with Congressman John Lewis. You can listen to it on her podcast, On Being, or in the video below. John Lewis is such a fascinating and honorable man, and his message in this interview is one that embodies compassion. It left me asking  – how can I be more compassionate and loving in my own life? 

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