A couple of years ago two men were arguing at the Costco gas pump, about 3 feet away from me, because one man had supposedly cut in front of the other. There were raised voices and threats which made me feel physically unsafe. I asked myself, “instead of feeling vulnerable, what can I do now to improve the situation for myself”? I decided that I would not be perceived as a threat so I went over and stood between them. I gently suggested that what occurred was not worth fighting over and what would result from that. My choice left me feeling better, my heart was peaceful.
Why did I choose the action that I did? It was because I felt compassion for these two angry young men. I knew that anger of this magnitude for a “small” event came from the past in each of them, where they had been harmed. I realize this particular situation is an unusual and rare occurrence but I use it to illustrate that….
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer
I changed the way I looked at these men who were acting aggressively toward one another, and then my choice changed. Instead of judging them as making a poor decision or as “immature”, I chose to look at what was behind their behavior. It was my choice. My choice came from years of attempting to cultivate compassion in many smaller arenas. Then, when I needed it for a larger issue, it was there for me to use without hesitation. For this I am extremely grateful because this is not the way it used to be.
In the past, compassion was never my first choice, judgement was. A constant diatribe of (negative) judgement was going on in my head aimed at myself as well as others. I didn’t know I could change it. I never asked myself if I wanted to change it. And even if I would have wanted to change it, I didn’t know how. I didn’t have the tools. But I do now, and learning to use them leaves me feeling calm, gives me an increasing sense of freedom and opens my heart. Instead of the old “sign on my heart” which read “All who come near will be judged“, the sign now reads, “All are welcome and accepted without judgement.”
As I write this I cannot help but shake my head in wonder at the shifts that have taken place inside of me. If there is some type of change you are wanting, you can have it too. It happens as a result of your desire, your invitation to change your heart. Then allow life to gently guide you, put your focus there and watch what happens!
With love, Jackie