|when your heart aches for the world|
This is one of the first books I read: The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. I read a children´s version first, and the original text a bit later when, coincidentally, I found it in my father´s library. Years after, a quote of that book headed the first chapter of my PHD Thesis which was about educational planning and social development and my mother gave it to me as a gift.
I don´t know if I am a social-oriented person because that book conditioned my vision when I was just a child or -what I think is most probably- I love that book because I am prone to be concerned for the welfare and rights of others.
Actually, I don´t know exactly the reason why I behave (and feel) that way, although I guess that my childhood experiences have to do with it, but along the years I have learnt that this characteristic is not only an important part of my personality, but also a common characteristic among my students who choose to work in education and among many other persons.
This is what is called prosocial behavior, a voluntary behavior intended to benefit others often motivated by empathy. We human beings tend to be prosocial, indeed, the lack of prosocial behavior is described as a personality disorder, but as the levels of empathy are extremely changeable (even in the same person according to personal circumstances) the levels of prosociality are varied.
Once again, the capacity to recognize the state of another (empathy) is an evolutionary attribute of our species but is also related to one´s capacities. And the ability to give a response to that state depends on personal character.
As an introverted and very analytical person, I find easier to develop a cognitive empathy which is based in the understanding of another´s perspective and mental state rather than responding in an emotional way. I am prone to look for alternatives and to design solutions but deep inside me I am experiencing emotions that match what the other person is feeling.
Along the years my empathic concern has defined my professional career, influenced on many of my vital decisions and also has made me suffer and experience anger. Poverty, violence, abuse and also everyday indifference and carelessness move me to act but often cause also empathic distress, the sense of injustice and even guilt.
Why some persons have to suffer is something that I can´t explain to myself, but I am learning to accept it. Don´t get me wrong, I am not accepting individual facts related to suffering, I am accepting that existence involves an obvious suffering associated to the living process itself and mainly, to the anxiety of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing. Therefore, I am trying to develop a realistic assessment of the human condition and embracing impermanence of all things. This is creating a sort of detachment that is softening my unease.
Is this being easy? No. Practice is endless.
Is this making me more passive and apathetic? No. I feel that compassion is perhaps increasing.
Is this making me justify social inequity and the pain of those who are vulnerable and invisible? No. This still makes me cry and shout.
Is this making me more serene? Absolutely, anger is decreasing.
I cannot explain you the truth of this feeling of peace, it has been a personal discovery, it´s simply my experience but now when I observe my past and observe me observing my past, sometimes I feel that this is the place I was destined to be. A place where I can reach a new perspective on life. A place where efforts make a new sense. A place where I can consider that regardless of the appearances, maybe we are - as a whole- in a paradoxical process of constant blooming.
Cross-posted at Vision and Verb on Friday. Many other women share their passion for creativity and words there, please visit us, it is a wonderful site
There you will find also a Card Shoppe. For every greeting card sold, the profit will accrue in allotments of $25 each to be given as loans to men and women around the world who are starting their own businesses. We have chosen the non-profit organization KIVA as the conduit for our giving back
You can send a love note to a friend and make a difference in the world
This is my Photo-Heart Connection of November. When I took the photos of that pond I was trying to capture the wonderful reflections (the day was perfectly clear after the first rains and the atmosphere was limpid), but I took some of the frogs almost by chance.
Truth be told, usually I don´t like frogs very much, I can see they can have certain charm with their squat bodies and their long hind legs but they also inspire me some undefined fear (as many other amphibians and reptiles). However, when I was examining my images of November this one caught my eye, it seemed to me not only beautiful and delightful but inspiring.
How would be to enjoy life that way?. How would be to be able to appreciate the sun when it shine and don´t waste time complaining about what happened before?. How would be to welcome what we meet along our path and go with the flow?. How would be to make the most of what life offers us and do not reject our gifts?, How would be to be strong enough -wise enough- to expect nothing and embrace everything?. How would be to know the secret to experience the present moment as a blessing, as a lesson, as a mystery?...
I don´t know exactly. I still am on my way to that destination. But I can glimpse a sense of peace while looking at these clever -nearly lovely- frogs.
|hearts beating together |
"When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space."
I am still updating my self-portraits page, you can see them here