Compassion...It's Free!

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

I am a sucker for FREE!  My wife would tell you, I haven't met a free t-shirt I didn't like. I'm usually the first in line for free is my weakness.  On Veterans Day, I usually have the whole day mapped out of where I can get all the "free stuff!"  Come on...a free carwash!  Yes please.  Subway had free subs this year...and I do LOVE their tuna.  Thank you.  Now with social media blasting you in the face, these "free" items have moved to cyberspace.  This means, I don't even have to leave the comfort of my couch...and get stuff for free.

Unfortunately for many of us...Veterans Day only happens once a year.  I'm here to tell doesn't have to!

I joined the Air Force the fall of 1990.  I joined to see the world.  (I was sent to Northern California...TWICE.)  My first assignment brought me six hours north of where I grew up.  I didn't know it then, but I did see the world...only it was through someone else's eyes.  In my spare time I began working with a local youth group.  It was fun...and a very healthy way to stay active.  Many of my co-workers in the Air Force were making some seriously bad choices and receiving punishment...losing pay, and sometimes even getting kicked out of the Air Force.  So...youth group it was.  Rich Hanson was the leader of the youth ministries at Parkway Community Church at the time.  It was Rich who taught me about the most expensive thing in the world.  This item...this gift was extremely valuable. The kicker...I could give it for FREE. Over and over again.  This item Rich was talking about....MY TIME. I've been paying forward eversince.

As I began to layout a plan for this Pursuit of Compassion...I remembered this lesson Rich taught me 23 years ago.  Then the lightbulb went off.  Being compassionate...well...that is FREE too!  Yesterday as the temps began to plummet, I went shopping for food to hold us over during the bitter cold days ahead.  I spent an extra 30 seconds at the grocery cart bin and passed out five carts.  WOW!  The looks...the smiles.  All FREE...and it took me 30 seconds.  It was really windy too.  So I held the door open for the three people behind me.  It was as if I found the cure for cancer.  I didn't...I just held the door open.


These are just a few ways to be compassionate...I'd add these are also very easy ways too.  If you're like me, its the times when it isn't easy to be say (for me anyway) driving!  I suffer from PTSD and driving always puts me on high alert.  I see include the car five cars back that is weaving in and out of all three lanes trying to get past everyone.  For the life of me...this sets me off...and I don't know why.  It is these times where a key component of compassion needs to come front and center...MINDFULNESS!  I will talk more about mindfulness in the weeks to come.  For now...being mindful is as simple as taken a moment...a breath...and recognize that this person's action(s) has nothing to do with you.  :)  I also have a meditation practice and teach yoga...FREE YOGA to Vets. My classes use the tools offered by Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans.

This was sent to me by Rosemary Alden.  Rosemary is a teacher of Mindful Living. Her goal is to counsel and inspire others as they meet the challenges and opportunities of this remarkable life.

We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter: ‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’ They pay for their order, take the two and leave. I ask my friend: “What are those ‘suspended’ coffees?” My friend: “Wait for it and you will see.” Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks ‘Do you have any suspended coffee?’ It’s simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support? If you own a business why don’t you offer it to your clients… I am sure many of them will like it.

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