Weekly Photo Challenge: Room(s) to Inspire Kindness and Compassion

I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in. — Virginia Wool

Both of my children have been fortunate to have some good teachers. I still believe the ones who made mistakes had good intentions; I just wish they had been more open in their thinking and less judgmental. I believe they can learn from their mistakes, and maybe one day they will.

Slogans like the ones on the outside of the classrooms above certainly indicate that teachers at least see the need for change. I can only hope that the changes really are happening in the classrooms and that no one feels locked in or locked out like we did.

This post is inspired by the weekly photo challenge at The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story of Craft, Sorrow, and Healing 1

A_Stitch_In_Time

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a tribute to lives loss during a troubling time in our nation’s response to a health crisis. It also is an amazing tribute to the craft of quilting.

A 2012 trip to Washington, D.C. coincided with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the quilt and with the thirty years of life with AIDS. I had wanted to see the quilt since I first heard about it in the late 1980s.

No, I do not directly know anyone with AIDS, but I was still a hospital nurse when the crisis started in the early 1980s. I still remember the first young man who died from it on my floor. I remember the fear some health care workers had when they had to care for him.

I am sad to also report that I remember a comment made by a respiratory therapist that the disease was God’s punishment. I responded that I don’t believe anyone deserves to die that way. Anyone dying a horrible death deserves compassion and kindness; not judgment. And, back then it really was a horrible way to die and there was little that helped. The medications are better now, but there is still no cure.

Yet, despite the sad reason for its creation, the quilt is beautiful and a joy to behold. I hope it helps those who experienced loss due to this illness to heal. I’m glad I finally had a chance to see it.

This post is inspired by The Daily Post weekly Photo Challenge where Shane Francescut asked us to capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame. I can’t think of anything that tells a full story better than this quilt. Can you?

Empathy Is Walking the Path of Another; Even Our Enemies 8

Twists of the Heart

At the point when anger and lust are generated, reality has become obscured; instead, we see extreme badness or extreme goodness, evoking twisted, unrealistic actions. — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

In Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words, Professor Arthur Watkins told author, Kevin Hall that the word empathy “springs from the soil.” He explained, “Pathy comes from path, and em is in. Empathy is walking the path of another.”

Professor Watkins went on to say that communication is a close cousin of empathy. “Communication comes from the Latin communicare, which means to share in common.

Hearts filled with holes.

If you don’t get on another’s path, if you don’t go where he or she has gone, you can’t truly understand what that person is experiencing. — Kevin Hall

A year and a half ago, I completely changed my focus on this blog. I needed to focus on positives after a person who previously did a TED Talk on empathy became defensive and angry instead of showing empathy to my family. He did not walk our path so he did not see the holes in our hearts. Therefore, I totally understand the statement in Hall’s book:

It’s remarkable just how much can go wrong when the all-important ingredients of empathy and common ground aren’t firmly established.

I’m far from achieving the spiritual level of the Dalai Lama, but I did manage to stay calm during my conversation with the above mentioned individual. Still, I understand that it would be easy to let my response to the situation be anger too, and at times I have been angry. That is why I’ve focused on inner peace and supporting my loved ones privately instead.

I know that like the morning glories in my first picture, we are all connected, so I do talk about our experiences off-line when asked. Yet, I also respect the wishes of my loved one, and that is why I no longer blog about the details of our experiences. I know many of you are unable to walk our path and honestly, I hope you never have to do so.

Likewise, I have trouble walking the path of those who injured us, but I am trying to at least acknowledge that a failure to communicate contributed to the failures. And, part of the failures are mine.

I’ve been reading and studying, How to Be Compassionate: A Handbook for Creating Inner Peace and a Happier World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • Just as smart public policy aims to educate people so that they can take care of their own lives, so it is with the practice of altruism: the most effective way to help others is by teaching them what to adopt in their future practice and what to discard from their current behavior.
  • With anger, all actions are swift. When we face problems with sincere concern for others, success may take longer, but it will be more durable. 
  • Whether we believe in God or karma (the power of actions and their effects), strong ethical values are the foundation of society, and must be the underpinning of our daily lives.
  • Another benefit of adversity is that hard times can build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. We can even learn to nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers, because by creating trying circumstances, they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.
  • Trying circumstances help you develop inner strength and the courage to face difficulty without emotional breakdown. Who teaches this? Not your friend, but your enemy.

This post was inspired by Kozo’s Bloggers for Peace Challenge.banner
Be sure to read other Bloggers for Peace Posts at:

B4Peace: A Tiger And His Boy Teach Empathy.

Empathy and Visiting Other Lands.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist 1

On a Local Favorite:

Hawaii is known for its shave ice, but our local Taiwanese population introduced a different kind of ice treat to the islands a couple of years ago. Taiwanese snowflake ice comes in many of the island’s favorite flavors and the presentation is a joy to behold.

Per Krista at the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge:
“Twist” is filthy with meaning: it’s the unexpected, it’s surprise, it’s even an amazing ice cream choice. What does “twist” mean to you?