“In order to feel compassion for other people, we have to feel compassion for ourselves. In particular to care about people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean, you name it—to have compassion and to care for these people means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves.”

Pema Chodron


Self-compassion is not self-pity. Rather, it more fully enables one to embrace the suffering of all beings as one’s own. Acknowledging and gently accepting our own misery and unhappiness—without running from it—begins to open us. Un-cage the soul. Melt our protective shield.

It has helped me begin to view differently what I have mistakenly regarded as happening to others or to anyone outside  myself.

Buddhism encourages the acceptance of one’s own pain and ugliness along with being understanding and forgiving of others. To realize that others are merely an extension of ourselves. Mirrors. Opportunities to soften our own hearts rather than harshly blame, project, and judge. How we view others is how we view our own pain. A heart-led alternative to care for, care about, and embrace.

Having temporarily tasted my share of spiritual awakenings—the temporary ah-ha’s; the brief glimpses of otherworldly light; the brief steps beyond the door to alternative realms, I sometimes wonder then, why again and again I become stuck.

In my own conditioned mind.

My patterned way of thinking.

My rusted thoughts.

Easy Judgments–about what’s good or bad about me, others, the world.

Time to overcome these  Oh-Lord-I am-not-worthies etched too deeply within my Catholic brain. Time to open my ears and heart and lovingly embrace this  wonderfully human, yet totally divine Being called me.

Compassion begins with me. It’s that simple–it’s what the road to enlightenment is all about




Lone tree

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” Pema Chodron

Then I must be making progress. My fears are constant, though I call myself a spiritual seeker. I harbor anxiety. Financial fears especially. Fear of losing my home due to inflation and/or the deterioration of my living space.

Of  Alzheimer’s–

of endless  daily stuff.

I’m plagued by the “what-ifs”.

Recently, there are hints of a breakthrough, thanks to the beginnings of a blessed AWARENESS of my fears.

Thanks to a gradual, moment by moment awakening.  To a fresh way of looking at the woman in my mirror with loving compassion. To the growing acceptance of who she has become in the moment.

Beyond fear is coming a calm knowing. . . A choice for calm. Joy. Hope.

A letting go of any attempt

to hold anything together.

“Things Fall Apart”, by Pema Chodron, reminds me that the collapse of whatever I most cling to,  is but an opportunity for rebirth and renewal.