Articles Tagged with: Empathy
YEARNING

The spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.
The place I have gone on the same day, at the same time for the past year
Is now fenced off due to “Hazardous Conditions”.

The waters have risen so high that it has almost become completely submerged
The landing becoming visible only briefly as the waves recede.

On other days it was an island with rocks spaced in a way that tempted me to try to
take a leap to try to traverse the gap.
I laugh at how my mind tries to find ways to go back
In spite of the natural and man made barriers that prevent my return.

I need to find a new place.

So I start my search.
I choose a day other than the one when I typically do this run to begin my exploration. When doing an exercise to be present, I don’t want to feel like I am floundering to find my place.

The first option seemed like a good idea; another look out point among the trees. Until four legged friends and the balls they were chasing proved to be too incongruous to the sanctuary I was seeking.

The next week I went a little further to the boat house. A look out point away from the boardwalk that juts out into the lake. It was rocky but there were some flat rocks should I choose to sit. There were even kindred spirits doing yoga on the beach close by and amazing pebbles and polished glass on my mindful walk back to the path that I collected in my back pocket.

It was a great option and yet…

Today I didn’t go there. I had to check on my spot, my place, my refuge in the city. The waters seemed to be receding elsewhere. Maybe it will be OK.

I stopped there today. The barricades were still there. But I know I could have made it onto the landing with just a little skip from the closest rock. I laugh again at how attached I have become.

Today I don’t run to the other good option just a few minutes away. Instead, I find a way to sit cross legged on the large log that found its way to the beach right beside the now hazardous site.

I focus on being present there and its good.

As I run back to where I started, I laugh again at how attached I have become to the spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.

I know that I need to let go of my attachment to allow myself the ability to fully enjoy other options that are magnificent in their own way. But to be honest, part of me doesn’t want to. And so I yearn. And I am comfortable with that. Because that place meant something to me. It was special. And I am not ready to let it go.

This was not my home. I was not born there. I did not have family there. I didn’t find my purpose there. I did not create a lifetime of memories there.

It was just the spot, my spot, my refuge in the city.

As I get ready to go on with my day, my heart has grown a bit bigger, my empathy more profound for all those in this world, who have been displaced by natural or man made barriers, making their spot, their refuge, their home a hazardous place.

I can only imagine. Can you?

Dr. Stacy


In Praise of Wisdom Beyond Years

From the moment she first saw me, and gave me a look as if to say, “Who the heck are you?” I knew that I had brought a fierce female into the world.  This tiny creature with pale skin, dark eyes, enviously long eyelashes and a head full of black straight hair was born with attitude and so far, she has continued to live up to this first impression.  She is the classic precocious second child.  But of all of her accomplishments in her young life to date, none have impressed me more than the wisdom and courage she demonstrated this past summer.

My daughter had been stung by either a bee or a wasp while out playing in the park with her nanny and friends.  I learned about the incident at the end of the day, but as there was no visible sign of a sting, her nanny believed that my daughter was distressed out of fear not because she was actually stung.  By the following morning, the swelling between her eyes which transformed my daughter’s face into Cymba’s twin, indicated that she had indeed been stung by something.

A few days later, my daughter and her nanny returned to the same park to play.  Not surprisingly, returning to the scene of the painful incident triggered her fear response and my daughter insisted that her nanny hold her the entire time.

(Now, I know what you’re thinking – this kid isn’t sounding too fierce at the moment.  Just bear with me… it gets better).

I responded to the latest news of her fear of bees by sitting and talking to my daughter about the source of her fear, and expressing empathy for why she would be afraid to return to the same park where she was hurt.  I also talked to her about the downside of allowing fear of what might happen get in the way of her ability to have fun with her friends in the park, the same park where she has played so many times without ever getting stung.  I didn’t appreciate the impact of this brief conversation until a few hours later after I returned from a speaking engagement and learned about her very unusual request.

While I was gone, my daughter asked my husband to turn on our gas fireplace.  The first and last time she had seen the fireplace lit several months ago, she screamed hysterically like an accused witch in Salem about to be burned at the stake, and was inconsolable for at least an hour afterwards.  Moreover, for several weeks following this incident, my daughter spoke daily about her scare with the fireplace and made every effort to keep her distance from it.

Just a couple of hours after talking to her about the importance of not allowing fear to rob her of having fun at the park, this child asked to see the very thing that terrified her months previously.  She was only 2.5 years old.  Astounding.

Clearly, some aspect of my talk must have resonated, and the only way that could have happened is if she was able to appreciate the truth in what I was saying.  Her courage to essentially say “bring it on” with such determination and calm, well that just absolutely blows my mind.

This story will forever serve as a reminder to me to never underestimate the wisdom contained within all of us, particularly our children.  My hope for myself as her parent is that I always respect my daughter for the unique individual she is, forever connected to me but separate from myself.  And that I appreciate the importance of being her student as much as her teacher for how to live with courage and to trust one’s inner wisdom.

You go girl!

Much love and respect,

Mom (aka Dr. Stacy)

 


Milton’s Secret: Bringing the Message of Mindfulness to Movie Goers Far and Wide

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to see this project finally come to fruition.  Milton’s Secret, the movie is finally out in theaters and is a must see.

Based on the children’s book of the same name by Ekhart Tolle and Robert Friedman, Milton’s Secret the movie brings Tolle’s teachings to a wide audience with a story to which most children and families can relate.  Milton is a pre-teen with loving parents who is overwhelmed not only by the bully at school, but also the stresses to which he is exposed in the family as a result of hard economic times.  As each member of the family copes in their own way, we see that the disconnection between them adds to Milton’s state of anxiety.  Then grandpa comes to visit.  It is through grandpa, played with amazing finesse by Donald Sutherland, that we see Tolle’s teachings of mindful presence and compassion in action.  The result is a shift that appears to naturally occur in others as they learn from his example and awaken to living more consciously.

As you can tell by this brief description, this is not your typical Hollywood Movie.  In fact, the producers of the film knew that if they took this script to Hollywood it would have never been made.  The only reason this film is here today is because of the kick start it received by conscious people around the world.  Crowd funding helped bring this film to life.   I was one of those contributors and this story, which was so lovingly crafted and directed by Mr. Barnet Bain, has far more value than the money I contributed to the cause.

 

Here I am with producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

With producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

Listening intently as Barnet Bain , the director, shares his insights during a moderated discussion on bullying as part of the Creator Talks at VIFF. The cast members in attendance pictured here from left to right were William Ainscough (Milton), Hays Welford (Tim) , and Mia Kirshner (Jane, Milton’s mom)

Talking to CTV's Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

Talking to CTV’s Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie is just the beginning.  The really exciting part is what’s coming next:  materials that will help people learn how to put Ekhart’s teachings into practice to benefit their ability to navigate life’s challenges, relate better with each other, and get more out of life.

Go to miltonssecret.com to find out how you can see the film and for updates about accompanying learning materials as they are released.  I encourage you to share the film with friends, family, classmates, schools, coworkers…and get talking.  And please send me your thoughts and comments about the movie.  They might just inspire some of the content of teachings that are to come 😉 .

Stay tuned…

Dr. Stacy