On a recent trip to New York, I was glowing with the joy of having had two entire days of “Meghan time.” I was free to enjoy all of the things I love…solitude, reading, journaling, exercising, listening to piano music (thanks, Brian Crain!), dining solo and talking with strangers. Aside from an inspirational meeting with an individual who is doing incredible work in the world, I had no schedule…and no requests for my time.
To say, “my cup was full” would be putting it lightly. I was on cloud one-hundred-million-jillion-gazillion as my four-year old might attempt to say. My capacity to uplift and share love and joy with those around me was effortless and I was eager to share it with anyone who crossed my path.
On my ride back to JFK, I began to get to know my driver, Jorge. He was from Puerto Rico and we talked at length about his family and his plans to move to North Carolina. We also talked about much of his sadness and disenchantment with the world. He had many experiences that left him feeling like there weren’t a lot of great people in the world. We also bantered about salsa dancing and other lighter topics…we laughed a lot and I greatly enjoyed his uniquely Puerto Rican passion.
Due to that super full cup of mine, I was extremely present with him and full of kindness and encouragement around his path towards what he saw as a better life. To be clear, the pleasure was all mine. I opened that door, but he salsa danced right through it.
As we said our goodbyes, he looked into his rearview mirror and straight into my eyes and said with intention, “You are a very beautiful person.” It hit me hard in the heart and time felt like it had stopped, as I understood and received the depth of his words. With absolute truth and equal depth, I returned the words to him, “You are a very beautiful person.”
It was a deeply moving experience. For a moment in time, we were two connected human beings. No layers of small-talk and falsehoods between us, as we felt the heart connecting between us. I don’t know of a better feeling in the world.
That experience has kept me glowing since and has reminded me yet again, compassion is the cure. Both the giver and the receiver benefit in a way no other drug, exercise or set of convictions can provide. Science has already proven and documented the boost it can provide to so many areas of our life, including mentally, emotionally, and physiologically. It is literally the best daily vitamin we could ingest.
As every last one of us is seeking a way to “be good at life,” I am personally ecstatic to have found this very straightforward path.
We are currently in a time where the power of compassion is misunderstood and therefore, grossly underutilized. Most of us would say we would respond compassionately to someone’s pain or need, but compassion can be so much more than a response. It can be our way of moving in the world.
When we set compassion as the foundation in our daily activities, we are surprisingly happier and more fulfilled. With regular practice, our compassion muscle is strengthened and it becomes easier and certainly more powerful to engage.
It is a “belief of yesterday” that compassion is somehow naive or weak. Compassion does not ignore our own individual needs and turn us into a doormat. We include ourselves in the extension of compassion and create whatever boundaries necessary to ensure our own safety and security. We can stand powerfully in compassion and have far more to offer to the world.
Compassion is the new way and this is wonderful news. Hope you will be an “early-adopter” with me!
…”we think of kindness as a nice but inessential extra in life, a luxury if anyone can afford it the time and energy it takes, when in fact our health, happiness, and our whole world depend on our giving and receiving kindness.” – Dr. Thupten Jinpa
If you are interested in learning more, I recommend reading A Fearless Heart by Dr. Thupten Jinpa.
More on my most-favorite topic soon!