Compassion

Has there ever been a Greater Opportunity!
Now, we get to Discover Ourselves as Helpers!
It has been just about a week – at least in the life of this busy New York Show Business Professional – and already I have been contacted by at least five people asking me if I need anything or if there is anything they can do to Help.
Support Systems are offering Zoom Conferencing and new ways for us to continue to Care for one another through this.
I had a Zoom Brunch yesterday with a group of friends from across Canada.
People are reaching out by phone and text and social media…
The Digital Age which has challenged me every day since its arrival turns out to be one of our Greatest Miracles, after all
Connecting our Humanity.
I am overwhelmed by the Awakening of Compassion that I feel vibrating through the world!

These are challenging times!
I recognize that people are struggling, out-of-work, and feeling the financial and food insecurities that are now prevalent in a Country under the government of dONALD tRUMP’s Administration.
I do not mean to minimize any of that.

But AOEFA was a young woman who I knew when I worked with the Homeless LGBTQ+ Teens of SYLVIA’S PLACE at MCC New York. And whenever she had something to eat – a bagel, a pickle, or whatever it might be — as she unwrapped it she would ask me, “Arnold, you want half?”
I would thank her and tell her that I did not, but to please enjoy her food.
“I always ask,” she would jump in, “I always ask because I know what it’s like to be hungry! And so I always share whatever I have.”
We can share whatever we have.

Even and Especially, the most difficult circumstances teach us Compassion for one another.
That is how we learn.
And COVID-19 has arrived as our Great Teacher. Class is In Session!

Andrew Cuomo, photographed by Pat Arnow, from the Governor’s website

As Governor of New York ANDREW CUOMO proclaimed in his address yesterday morning,
“…America is America because we overcome adversity and challenges. That’s how we were born. That’s what we’ve done all our life. We overcome challenges and this is a period of challenge for this generation… We will overcome this and America will be the greater for it…”
A True Leader in a time when the current Administration of our Federal Government has failed us. (As is evident, I have trouble having any compassion at all for the tRUMP Administration – I will work on that, but I expect that will be a longer process for me.)
And Yes! Regarding this pandemic, I too believe that America will be Greater for it!
Mostly, I see Compassion on the Rise.

Truth is Compassionate.
Here in New York we have a Governor who is Compassionate.
And see how that shines through?
We as a people respond to Compassionate Leadership.
And we can all be Compassionate Leaders!

Here are more inspiring words that he offered this past weekend:

And this morning, he signed an order to ask retired Health Care Professionals to come back to work and help in this crisis!
Thirty-Thousand Nurses have responded and signed up already today!
Compassion!

CASSIDY GROM offers this Wonderful Brief Article about SISTER MARY CATHERINE PERRY’s 29-Years living as a Cloistered Nun and her tips of the trade on how to Live in a time of Social Distancing:
Tips from Sister Mary Catherine Perry
One of her three tips: Be Intentional and Love Others.
We can do that from home.
We can text and email and call people and check in – ask if they’re all right; ask if they need anything.
We can Reach Out, strengthening the Compassion in ourselves!
Reach Out to someone.
As ANNE LAMOTT puts it, “pick up the three-thousand-pound phone.”

A woman in a store last week stepped aside as I approached the register, lamenting, “This is what we do now. We stand out of each other’s way. We’re supposed to stand apart.”
I explained to her, gently though perhaps unskillfully as these are new conversations that we are having, that I saw it as a sign of Respect and Love for one another – it is a Loving Act to keep one another safe.

A Post from Social Media

When we get through this, it is my hope that we will emerge a more Empathetic, Concerned and Kind, if still less-than-perfect People.
It may feel this week as if Mother Nature has just sent us all to our rooms for misbehaving!
But already we are seeing signs all over the World that Nature is more in balance, as humankind steps out of the way a little bit.
Skies in Wuhan, China are clearing!
People in Italy are singing to one another from their balconies!

There is So Much Beauty,
So many Lessons to be Learned in all of this.
Let us Welcome what we can Learn about Compassion
And Gratitude
And Wellness
And Caring…

Perhaps our Loving Act for the Day will be to order food from a Local Restaurant in need of the business –and then donate it to a Homeless Shelter.
Perhaps it will be to go out of our way to say, “Thank You!” to the Grocery Cashiers and Inventory Stocking Clerks and Delivery People – and Tip them Well!
People only a few months ago were objecting to these workers receiving a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage, and now these workers are saving their very Lives!
Isn’t Life so filled with surprises!
And Lessons!
Isn’t it so Full Of Wonder how ultimately we just need one another!
How Beautiful that is!

Perhaps our Loving Act for the Day will be to offer to do the Grocery Shopping for an Elderly or At Risk Neighbor – Wash your hands First, And wipe off the containers with disinfectant before you hand them over to your neighbor – the virus lives for a week on plastic and metal!
Wash your hands after!
And wipe off your Keys, too!

Our various Self-Quarantines, Shelter-In, and Hunker- Down Programs shall not prevent us from practicing Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty!
Perhaps our Kindest and most Compassionate Act will be to Stay Home.
That is a challenging one, I know. It feels counter-intuitive to those of us who wish to actively help. Yet ‘tis a Compassionate Act!

A Post from Social Media

This is a pandemic.
They tend to come in waves.
It is estimated this will be completely over in about a year, and restrictions, if followed, may be able to be relaxed in 8 to 10 weeks.
What shall we do with this Very Special Year that we have been Gifted –
This Time is for us to Pause, ReGroup, and Practice Compassion.
Practice it!
Like Yoga!
Every Day!
Even if we tumble and fall, and don’t quite get it, Keep Practicing!

It’s good to laugh at ourselves, too!

And when we come out the other side of this,
Perhaps we will Better Appreciate
Living with our Neighbors
A Handshake with a Stranger
A Hug with a Loved One
Coffee with a Friend
The Grocery Clerks in our Neighborhood Store
Our Pharmacist and Local Pharmacy Clerk
Waiters
Actors
Postal Workers
Gathering Together
Going to the Theater
The Joy of Going to Work
Crowded Busses
Our Overcrowded Subways
The Accessibility of Food and Toilet Paper
The Applause and Laughter of Crowds
Being part of an Audience
Concerts
A Deep Breath
Having Someone over to Dinner
And all of the things we are Now Missing
That we took for Granted only a week ago.

Practice Compassion
And remember the Buddhist Quote: If Your Compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

The view from my window this morning

It is Spring.
Unnoticed, a few days ago in the midst of all of this, it whispered its way in…
The trees outside my window have begun to blossom
In their perennial sign of Hope.
There is Poetry Too!
There is Power in Words!
There are these words from DONNA ASHWORTH:
And here is ANDERSON COOPER Reading excerpts of a new Poem by BROTHER RICHARD HENDRICK:
“Lockdown”

Here’s to our Spring Awakening!
May Poetry fill your days!
Receive some
Create some
Compassion…

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