The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
I will never forget the first time I was introduced to the word Empathy and its meaning. I was sitting in my High School English class, freshman year, and my teacher handed us a sheet of paper with this definition on it:
Empathy (em-pa-thy); noun : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
In other words, Empathy is when you understand and share in another person's experiences and emotions. My teacher informed us that empathy is different from sympathy in that sympathy is the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else's trouble, grief, or misfortune, and empathy is when you relate to and experience the feelings of another within yourself, as if you are experiencing the same joy and/or pain that they are.
I had never heard of empathy before but I knew it and understood it deep in my soul. It resonated throughout my body, and still does, in a way only profound revelations can. I finally had a word to put to all the deep understanding and shared feelings I had with others. I understood a bit more about what others called my “sensitive nature.”
I believe empathy is one of the key cornerstones to living a happy and fulfilled life, and it's something I've abandonded over the years. I used to see empathy as a burden, because why would I want to go around feeling everyone else’s pain? But I've learned that empathy also allows me to feel the abundant joy that surrounds me as well. Empathy brings us together. It’s a bonding agent that creates an environment where nobody has to feel alone. Empathy says “I see you. I hear you. I know you. You are not alone.” Who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t want to be on the giving and receiving end of empathy? It’s one of our greatest gifts. And what's even more amazing is it's a gift we can offer ourselves. To be empathetic with one's self and not throw yourself out in the the cold dark night is the birth place for love, joy, belonging, and peace.
So today I want to share three songs that I love because of their deep empathetic message. I love love love these songs and I become teary every time I hear them on the radio. I hope you have people in your life who love you and see you for who you truly are; and most importantly, I hope you see yourself and love yourself for who you truly are. You are loved. You are not alone. xo
Hero by Family of the Year
Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.
Carry On by Fun
I've spent a lot of time these past several years working out many things in my life, both internally and externally; and I am glad for all the changes and growth that's occured during that time, but I feel like maybe I've been waiting for something. Waiting to live my life perhaps? Or maybe waiting to get all my ducks in a row before I can start really living my life? I don't know, but I do know it doesn't feel good. And it turns out there's nothing to wait for. Life is here. It's happening. I can either let it wash over me and go peacefully, or I can continue to wait for...for...nothing. It's time to let life sweep me away. It's time to be at peace.
“You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— you return to the beauty you have always been.”
― Aberjhani, Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black
“Peace is not a result inside us from everything around us. Peace is not
submissive nor passive. On the contrary, peace is an overwhelming force
which comes from within us, disrespectful of everything around us, a
firm coalition of spirit and soul standing against all the unrest that
― C. JoyBell C.
*The images I used are some of my favorites from 2012. Each one depicts a moment where I felt comepletley present and at peace.
A while back I wrote a post about my turbulent (at best) housing situation, and despite my good-intentioned attempts to stay positive about the changes in my life I was bested by the stress of it all. But now that some time has lapsed, as well as my *ahem* monthly cycle, I'm pleased to be writing from a much better place, both literally and emotionally. We moved into an apartment a month ago and despite my initial depression about going from my dream home to what I'm calling a "transitional home", I'm loving the simplicity of our new living arrangement. Our possessions have been reduced by nearly half and our monthly living expenses by almost the same. There is no yard work to keep up with or maintenance repairs, and the only bills coming in are for rent and electric. It takes only 20 minutes to clean the entire place, and even though it lacks the charm of a 1920's bungalow I'm not freezing my ass off because of drafty windows, or walking down three flights of stairs to do laundry in the basement. I can honestly say that I'm relieved to be walking away from everything that big, beautiful house would have ended up being: a lot of work, time, money, and unnecessary possessions. This process has changed our perspective - or maybe it just clued us into what we really value - and we're now looking for something smaller and simpler to call home. We don't know what that will be yet, but for now home is this undemanding apartment with a great view and the people we love.
Hello! Long time, no see. Life has been crazy these past several weeks and I've been too overwhelmed to write about my life or try to explain it. There was a brief moment when I thought I could just keep sharing my life in photographs, like a year-long August Break, but I quickly realized there are some things that just need to be explained in words. Here goes....
1). Our landlord told us back in August that she wants to sell the house we've been living in for the past nearly-two years.
2). We LOVE this house.
3). We made her the very best offer we could.
4). We want to grow old in this house.
5). She accepted. We celebrated.
6). House was appraised at less than we offered.
7). To put it simply, everything fell apart and now we have to move.
8). Cue lots of tears and disappointment.
9). Suck it up. Realize this is a good thing because this house would have wiped us out financially.
10). View this as an opportunity to downsize and simplify.
11). Become euphoric with the purging of possessions.
12). Make an offer on a great house in our price range.
13). Get rejected.
14). Tears. Anger. Despair at feeling like I'll never be a real, true grown-up because I'm a 32 year old going to community college and waiting tables at night. This must meant I don't have my shit together.
15). Looking for a new place to rent or buy, or something, and finding the options bleak.
16). Still feeling like a failure but also realizing how ridiculous that is.
17). New favorite quote: "Not all those who wander are lost."
18). Insert a full and ordinary life where the sum of its parts make something great. I hope.
19). Still don't know where we're going to live but have packed most of the house and reduced our possessions by nearly half.
20). Watching. Waiting. Wine.