Listening to a report on poverty on NPR this morning got me to thinking more deeply about the difference between compassion and empathy. The report included research on the impact of compassion and empathy in the presence of suffering. Read More “Week 646: Compassion and Empathy”
Walking across Central Park on the morning I go to my office to water plants and pick up mail, I was struck—as I always am—by the return of the green. All over the park, many trees are putting out leaves, others are laden with beautiful flowers, bushes are filling out with their green garb. The main feeling of it all is an expression of the abundant presence of life, of the intelligence and vibrant expression of Nature’s intelligence and creativity.
As I took in the beauty all around me, I was reminded, powerfully, that this beautiful planet doesn’t need us, but we cannot survive without its gifts. We and all our earth kin are part of a complex ecology that many of us have studied for years and yet, collectively, many of our human kin somehow haven’t taken in or taken seriously this fact of our planetary life. With Covid-19 now a painful and challenging reality, and with the worldwide halt in our usual activities, we vividly see the impact we have had on our environment. Skies have cleared. Mountains hidden from view for decades now stand out clearly in the landscape. Waterways are clearing and wildlife is returning to areas previously avoided because of human activity. Even as we see how resilient and stunningly responsive the planet is when we stop polluting as we have been doing for so long now, I find myself wondering how many of us will remember this and commit to finding new ways to go forward.Read More “785th Week: Cultivating A Sense of “Earth Kin””
I just watched a Netflix video of Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia. I always enjoy Trevor’s humor, as it touches into cultural and racial issues that may be hard to talk about in other contexts. In this particular comedy routine, he spends a good bit of time around how he feels when people call him the “N” word. Apparently, in his mother’s language, this particular word, or the sound of it, means “to give”, so it can bring a warm feeling to him when people shout it at him.
As I watched this video, it got me to thinking about how violent some words can be and how we might respond to these words without adding to the violent energy behind them. Read More “734th Week: Meeting Violent Communication with Love”