Ten years ago I would have claimed that I didn't have much compassion. Even five years ago I was still a "Get over it" type of person for the most part. The past two years have taught me some amazing lessons. Compassion for myself, compassion for family and friends, compassion for strangers. It started a couple of years ago when my cousin and her family came to live with me while she had her baby. It was under some unusual circumstances that it happened. I am very close to this particular cousin, but I have two kids and at that time was overwhelmed with that number. Adding four more kids, a newborn, a cousin recovering from a c-section, and her husband, was stretching me far past my comfort level. We had a lot of fun, but it was also very chaotic. I had to exercise a lot of patience with six kids under the age of 12 on a daily basis.
It was shortly after they left that I got involved with the Paid to Play Academy for the business I was starting at the time. It blew open a lot of my "ideas" about myself and who I was and after a particular discussion with my coach, Marie Holleman, I was left to rebuild. What she taught me, and it was huge, was that it was okay to have been a victim, but that it didn't make me a victim NOW. She taught me that I could use my experiences to show compassion to others who were in need and were struggling. She taught me so much and for that I am eternally grateful.
I also learned a great deal from my neighbor, Barbara Christensen, (who has since moved, darn it), who had gone through her own trials and journey to let go and forgive and have compassion. She became one of my lifelines and even though she lives 1000 miles away I talk to her daily and share joys and pitfalls.
Then my bestie and her family moved in with us for a few months and I shifted from two children to five children on a daily basis. Today I was asked the question, "Are you giving up your career goals in order to help your friend and take care of her children?" I laughed and said, "No, her kids are my kids. These five kids are the priority. If I have to choose they will always win." I've done the 60+ hour work weeks. I will never go back to that as long as I have a choice.
I am so grateful for the past two years, which have been two of the hardest years I have had in my life. What I am the most grateful for, however, are the skills that I have learned from coaches who have been able to help me take a situation that is difficult, challenging, and painful, and find the grace, forgiveness, compassion, and love that is in the middle of it. Because it is always there. One of my favorite lines from a movie ever comes from the movie "First Knight". Sean Connery says, "There is a peace that can only be found on the other side of war." I saw it years ago and anytime I am going through a trial that line comes into my mind. I hope that my family and friends who are going through trials find comfort from that line as well. It goes along the lines of "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
There is always hope. Always love. Always compassion. If you know where to find it inside of you.