A while back I was in my local park walking my dog when a random guy started yelling out questions to me. This guy was in a group of older men, all drinking cask wine at 7 o'clock in the morning, all looking like they had been sleeping rough and had more problems than a drink could fix.
I felt a simultaneous pang of sympathy and of unease.
I felt for them but was afraid that the light exchange could take a wrong turn.
It didn't, we had a laugh and they enjoyed my curly-haired dog.
I would be lying if I didn't say I was relieved.
As I was walking away, it hit me.
That old saying 'There but by the grace of God go I'.
What this line means is, it could be me drinking in a park, sleeping rough.
It could be so many of us. It could be you.
In this day and age, everyone is burying discomfort in some kind of addiction, whether its our phones, our work, our food, over-exercising, over-spending, the alcohol we reach for every night or something stronger.
The difference in where we end up depends on how hard we need to run from pain (the intensity of it) and what support systems and privileges we have.
That's when my sympathy turned to empathy. Sympathy is all about pity whereas empathy is about sharing someones feelings.
Whilst I don't claim to understand what that group of homeless men were experiencing, I could identify with finding ways to numb pain and discomfort.
We all know that feeling, we all do it.
The empathy takes people from being 'the other' to being connected.
When we distance ourselves from people we lose our shared humanity and it leads to us care less and make different choices:
choices that benefit us (we need to keep on top or get to the top) and that then, in turn, keep others down.
We compete. We fight. We turn away. We don't know each other and we become afraid.
When we strip it all back to our shared humanity, we are all made more free.
In many ways we are the same, in many ways we are unique.
We are all worthy. We all matter.
Let's listen to and love each other, especially those who are often overlooked, ignored and unloved.
How can you express your love to our human family today?
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P.P.S. You can also follow your gut to spend some quality time with me, helping you to be free to follow your highest good. It's wonderful, illuminating and fascinating. Make an appointment today for a free clarity session and see what happens.