IAM so delighted to introduce you to my WordPress friend… the Magnificent Kristine Rodriguez aka CandidKay… who I know many of you know from her WordPress blog CandidKay. Most of us simply call her Kay when we correspond with her… not thinking much about it… but Kay, CandidKay is Kristine’s way of keeping her kindred spirit friend Audrey close to her and honouring both their natural talents for writing in a real and magical way; bringing the rawness and the swelling of love in life, to hearts that are ready to open.
Kay was Audrey’s nickname for Kristine when they met in their young adult years and just before Audrey died she told Kristine she had true writing talent, to be candid and allow her voice to say it all.
Do you feel the pure emotion of love in the air now… and the knowingness of there being no separation? I see only one pool of consciousness that CandidKay dips into, not with one pen, but two as she writes her candid stories to bring her readers into the heart and soul of life.
I just love how Kristine shares her own experiences in life, the ups, downs and middle of the road in a creative, down to earth and humorous way that encourage us all to move through life in a light and playful way… experiencing it all the best we can. Maybe one day soon we’ll find Kristine’s ‘Book of Experience’ on the shelf and IAM sure I won’t be the only one to applaud.
If you haven’t met Kristine yet, pop over to her blog, relax in a chair and drink the goodness of her tales that are sure to refreshen your outlook on life and bring that giggle up and out into the open air.
Kristine shares her feelings on the alchemy of compassion…
My mother had three weeks to live. She was exasperated, frightened and cranky on this day—her head still filled with all the things left undone. She ruminated on how her family was possibly going to get along without her guidance. Her Napoleon complex was showing.
She was weak and couldn’t quite brush back the hair that fell on her forehead. After a few failed attempts, I gently smoothed it back for her. She batted my hand away in a sudden show of strength.
I was hurt, but not surprised. And felt foolish for even allowing the hurt in. After all, had this not been our pattern for years? Me trying, in a moment of vulnerability, to bridge the gap between us—and her going for my soft spot in my moment of weakness rather than accepting the olive branch. It was my father in me—that need for human connection. A need she found weak and unnecessary.
My sister had smoothed that same tendril of hair just hours before, with my mother breathing a grateful sigh of relief.
Oh well, I thought. It’s not as if a lifetime of hurt is going to be fixed in the final moments. Again, my father in me. The dramatic moment, wanting sentiment to overcome all the ugly that came before it. Sentiment was not in my mother’s wheelhouse.
I kept expecting compassion from her. If not unconditional love, at least compassion. It never came. Not as a young child who preferred books to people. Not as an awkward teen with braces and pointy angles. Not as a young college grad finding my way. Not as a mother shepherding two boys without a roadmap.
I was the “surprise” child, bursting upon the scene late in my mother’s life and after which she had a hysterectomy. I was the one who knew very clearly at a young age that I was in the way. Temporarily halting her career trajectory. Her star had really begun to soar before I came along. Not one to be deterred by her own flesh and blood, I remember a string of babysitters, a lot of alone time, and being the one to approach her—always–for a goodnight hug. If I did not, we skipped it. I was young enough to know I wanted at least the semblance of a “normal” loving mom. Let’s just say we rarely skipped it. I was nothing if not persistent.
I guess I arrived unwanted by more than just one. My sister often recounts how she could have gone away to college and had a “real wedding” had it not been for my arrival. Six girls and a small ranch house spelled limited funds for my parents.
It was not until I had my own children that I sobbed about all of this. On the stairs in my own house, realizing I really had not been mothered properly. Realizing that the numerous times she forgot to pick me up—and I stood, alone, in some public place—weren’t just slips of the mind. Finally comprehending that her not wanting me to call her at work was less because of the interruption and more because she wanted to live as if she did not have a young child. She was done with child rearing, a task she seemed to find distasteful.
Enough with the sad bits. Here comes the miracle.
I have often wondered if compassion is something we are born with or must learn. How do you explain abused children who grow up to help save the world? Or children who are given a good home but treat their fellow human beings like dirt? I cannot answer the question unequivocally, but I can answer it for me.
I was born so very sensitive. With a full quiver of tender emotions. I loved my dolly and my dog with a fierce mother love not taught to me by anyone.
An old soul, I was reading Wayne Dyer by the age of 12. Buddha’s teachings in my teens. Lao Tzu in college. I went through therapy to heal my mommy issues. And I worked my ass off, frankly. To become. To ascend. To transcend.
It is not that I have not felt compassion throughout my life. I have. But it is only now, in my middle age, that I find it more all-encompassing. “Love thine enemies” was an oft heard admonition in my Catholic upbringing—with many a sermon expounding on it. None of them was a how-to. There is no how-to for staring ugly in the face and not reacting per our gut instinct. But success stems, I realized, from compassion.
When I attended parties in the past, as a woman of a certain age, I’d see those who always imbibe more than their fair share. As the night progressed, so did their decibel level. And their veneer of civility declined in direct proportion to the decibel level incline. I would think to myself: “What the hell is wrong with you? Did you not get this out of your system as a young adult when the rest of us did?” I won’t go on with my thoughts, but suffice it to say—I am my mother’s daughter in some ways.
But now, for some unknown reason, compassion has alighted on my shoulder even when my “enemies” are around. Perhaps it’s years of being a seeker. Years of working on myself. Years of prayer and meditation. Or maybe it’s just dumb luck. Either way, the inner conversation sounds more like this as I see this partygoer again and again: “What is it in your life that you run from? Why do you need an altered state so badly? Something must really hurt. I have no desire to engage with you right now, but I’m going to hold you in the light and wish that you overcome whatever demon chases you. Peace, bro.”
Man, the difference. I see the pain for what it is. The bravado no longer fools me. It may still annoy me, but I am able to feel the compassion crest over the annoyance. I can walk away, not angry, but wishing them healing and peace. The same thing happens at work when I see Big Egos bully sane adults. Does it still anger me to watch? Oh yes. But do I see better the pain and unresolved issues it stems from? As clearly as the daylight through my office window.
I used to think compassion was the stuff of saints. That it had to be pure and unadulterated. That love poured through you when you felt it. Ha. Naivete runs deep. I now realize compassion for most of us errant humans comes with anger, disappointment, confusion, annoyance. It coexists. If we’ve really done the work, it hopefully edges out the others. For me, just ever so slightly. Just as my mother was not an absolute—she had moments of tenderness—compassion is also not an absolute. Unless you are lucky enough to be a saint.
During my divorce, I did everything in my power to protect my kids from a father who had gone off the rails. Who loved them but was putting them in danger. He thought—and may still think—that it was due to bitterness. To me hating him. It wasn’t. I remember sobbing in the shower, repeating over and over to God, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” I was torn to my core that I could not save him from what held him. Despite my intense anger at him totally losing it on us, I felt compassion. For him, and the pain he must have been in. For me, because I had done my best and it wasn’t enough to make a difference. For my kids, who were getting dragged through the experience. The emotions were one big ball of turmoil—but tops among them was compassion. When I realized that, I wept some more. I was able to offer what I had not been offered in my formative years. For me, that was victory.
It’s OK, I realize now, to feel compassion and walk away. In fact, many times it is necessary. For those of us not raised with the warm, soft and fuzzy, it is probably essential. We have worked hard to earn the compassion we feel. We have nurtured seeds within us others ignored. We have raised ourselves, in many ways, to be a decent human being. We have realized our compassion may not be unadulterated but it is potent just the same.
It is only in finding compassion for that decent human being—myself—that I have been able to find it for others. “Love thine enemies” must be proceeded by “Love thyself.” Even if the ones you think should, don’t.
That’s true compassion. And the open door to so very much joy and freedom. I wish it for you.
IAM an experienced journalist, marketing executive and mother of two, I write about life as I know it. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious. But always interesting.
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Thank you so much Kristine for joining me here on this great compassionate adventure, for sharing with us your experience of the alchemy of Compassion and for your beautiful writing from the heart about REAL life.
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