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Reflection - November 2014

posted Nov 3, 2014, 5:03 PM by theresa orozco, ossm   [ updated May 11, 2016, 8:45 PM by Nancy DeBiasi ]
Each month when I meet with our local Circle of Compassion we spend time in small groups to share how we have, or have not, experienced compassion since we last met. This past month I spoke about my struggle to work with a coordinator of an event and how my attitude toward that person quickly changed when a friend remarked, "Oh, he must be very worried about how that will turn out." Julie, who was in our group of three, turned to me after my sharing and commented, "How fortunate you are to have had that friend open the door a crack." Yes, that crack of light served to unlatch my mind and heart to see a new perspective, to look at the situation from a different viewpoint, not just my own.

Open the door a crack. I've returned constantly to that graced remark. Memory after memory has arisen of people in my past who re-directed or re-affirmed my approach to what I believe and how I treat others. Here are a few of the many I recently recalled who brought me what I needed to help shape my inner focus:

Veronica Marie, an older sister in my religious community, turned to me a few years after I entered and quipped, "You are really stubborn" I responded, hands on my hips, "I am not!" but then went on to gradually realize how I needed to be right and have all the answers. Oh, how much I've changed regarding that attitude, thanks to her spoken insight.

A good friend assured me in my thirties, when I fell into a dismal space due to the ending of a valued relationship, "You have more strength in you than you realize." That is when I started believing in my inner resiliency and my ability to move beyond defeat.

A wise colleague often advised me in my first years of public speaking, "Just be yourself," when I fretted about a talk I was scheduled to give. That advice helped me move toward belief in my own worth, rather than counting on others to confirm that truth for me.

Jennifer, my spiritual guide, lifted a small bronze heart from a nearby table one day after my tirade about a president who was currently in office. She placed the heart in my hand and asked, "Have you prayed for him?" (Oh, how much easier to complain than to open my heart and pray for someone whose philosophy and actions oppose my own.)

Then there was the Sufi speaker who looked into my eyes when I affirmed the wisdom of his speech, and responded,"I am but a reflection of thyself." Until then, I did not understand how that which we admire in another can be found residing in our own being.

Here in the United States we celebrate "Thanksgiving" in late November, but we actually pay attention to gratitude throughout the entire month. Wherever you live, I suggest you pause and think about the people in your personal history who "opened the door and let in a crack of light" for you by their chance, or deliberate, remark. If they are still alive, why not write a note of thanks to them for letting in the light that led you to greater personal transformation?

Abundant peace,
Joyce Rupp

Photo from San José Mission in San Antonio, Texas, 2014 
by F. Javier Orozco