Tag Archives: humanity

Nothing New

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Sitting in a bar in Baltimore
waiting for the musicians to play
wondering if there are any new thoughts
a human mind could think—
or are all thoughts just iterations
of the same thoughts
humans have been thinking
for millennia?
I decide to embrace the awkwardness
of nothing new.
I decide I don’t need
to be spectacular.
Wow, the pressure is off.
That feels pretty good.

Critical Mass

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One of my students said
I am an atheist.
I don’t believe in God,
but I have always believed
in the goodness of humanity.
But now, after what has happened recently,
I’m having trouble believing
in humanity.
And I could really hear him.
I could see the sadness,
the doubt, the heartbreak.
I believe in critical mass, I said.
I believe that if enough of us
think good things and do good things,
there will be a wave of goodness
that will shift this world to a better place.
And, there are so many good people out there.
Yes, a few can harm a great many,
but a few can also help a great many.
Let us focus on the good.
Let us eat, sleep, breathe and dance goodness.
Let us be a part of the critical mass
shifting the world to a better place.

Doorways to Self-Compassion

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Three doorways to self-compassion:

1) mindfulness
2) shared humanity
3 )self-kindness

When dealing with difficult emotions,
let yourself observe them,
see if you can name them,
sense them in your body.
This is mindfulness–
simply observing what is arising this moment
without judgment or analysis.
If you can then realize
that you are not alone,
that in this very moment
there are many others experiencing
the same kinds of difficult emotions as you,
then you have tuned into shared humanity,
this collective experience of uncertainty,
of ups and downs
joys and sorrows
that make up this life.
This experience of shared humanity
helps you to put your difficult emotions into perspective,
and you are no longer swallowed whole by them,
but you have some space to simply be with them.
Finally, you begin some gentle, deliberate,
and kind
self-soothing.
You might use a term of endearment
as you speak to yourself:
Poor darling, this is so hard for you right now!
You might put your hands over your heart,
or wrap your arms around yourself in a big hug.
You might speak reassuring words to yourself:
I know that you are hurting right now,
and I want you to know that I am here for you.
Let me know what you need to feel better,
and I will help you in any way that I can.
When you can practice
this consciously directed
concern and care for yourself
this is known as self-kindness.
Three doorways to self-compassion,
use any one you can.
Look for the door that is closest to you.
Step in.
Once you’re in, you’re in.
And in that place of compassion for yourself,
you realize the boundless nature of your heart.
You realize that you can hold the whole world
in this infinitely spacious tender heart.
You become a force of lovingkindness in this world,
this weary world that needs the love you have to give.

You Don’t Need to be Perfect

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When you make a mistake
it doesn’t mean you have failed–
it means you are human.
Our shared humanity links us all.
Feel how your heart can open
when you remember
that you don’t have to be perfect.
There is so much more space
to look around and have the experience
of this moment.
You can set down the illusion of control
and open yourself more to what is there
right in front of you.
Mistakes keep happening,
and sometimes they hurt.
Sometimes you feel disappointed,
frustrated, impatient,
full of grief.
This still doesn’t mean that you have failed.
It still means you are human,
and the trick is to remember your humanness
and then be kind to yourself.
If you don’t know how to be kind to yourself,
just take a moment and think.
What would you say to a friend
who is hurting?
How would you reassure your friend
that they are okay,
that they are still loved?
Take a deep breath.
You can reassure yourself.
You can let yourself know
how very loved you are.
You can let yourself know
that you are okay.
Don’t expect to be perfect at this.
Don’t beat yourself up
because you aren’t perfect
at allowing yourself to be imperfect.
Just take a deep breath,
relax into this moment,
you are loved.
you are okay.
You don’t need to be perfect.