The days shorten, the darkness grows. We are at the end of harvest season. The fields lay fallow. We prepare for the long winter. After the joy of a fruitful harvest, we may look upon the barren fields longing for more. Peering deeper we recognize that the upcoming winter is a place of dormant possibility. As we navigate through the barren darkness, we trust that there is a spring no matter how far away it seems. We know that to get to spring we must meet our fears. And, this is a frightening prospect.
Lately there is a lot that scares me. I’ve been through some blighted times. The crops from the bountiful harvest seem long gone. Will I ever have the courage to choose new seeds and sustenance to sow a new field of plenty? I guess that is where compassion comes in. With humility and vulnerability we are asked to really look at what remains in our seemingly barren field — the place of our suffering. Compassion invites us to see our world differently. Standing knee deep in mud created by cold autumn rains, we need to decide how we will reply.
Compassion doesn’t ask for much — just a retooling of our life. It demands that we become wide open — vulnerable and humble. Compassion doesn’t require much — it asks that we stop sleepwalking through the day. Compassion doesn’t whisper; it shouts, “wake up, be alert, be alive — become totally aware of your suffering and the suffering of others.” Compassion does not stop there. It asks for our awakened heart to soothe suffering as it shine the light on a new way.
Vulnerable we open our self to suffering however it presents itself. We expose our heart to another not knowing how the other will respond or react to our actions. We fearlessly dig into the ground of our suffering open to discovering what rot lays at the root of our anguish. With vulnerability we carefully compost the decay. With courage, we own the underside of our life while acknowledging how we have shackled our self to suffering.
Compassion asks that we not suffer alone. Although we do not arrogantly share our perceived victimization, we invite others to be with us. They lift us up when we are unable to lift our self. And, in that hand up we see a way through suffering. In accepting the hand of another we experience humility. We own our humanness by realizing that our suffering does not make us better or worse than another. Suffering is a thread that weaves through our shared humanity. Suffering calls us to our most authentic, compassionate self.
When we are vulnerable and humble, the binds of suffering loosen. Working beneath the loosened binds, Compassion strengthens our connections; we recognize that we are community. In a communal gathering, the light of understanding shines brightly upon the mangled, congested blight of suffering. With combined strength and courage, we uproot suffering. Collectively we work the compost created from suffering into our soil.
Compost fortifying the soil, we wait patiently for the spring planting to arrive. Compassion powers our patience for we know that when spring arrives we will sow the seeds of love and possibility. Suffering may bring us together, but Compassion weaves us together.
Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition. Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action. Contact Vanessa