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Stalemate, #1000Speak

The other night, on the news, a reporter did a story about how desperate of a situation it’s becoming in Syria.

She began to, not just lay out a few facts and statistics, but to compare the city of Aleppo to the city of Toronto, where her news broadcast was airing from. She went from one part of Toronto to another, explaining how it would look if what’s currently happening in Syria were to happen in a Canadian city

Okay, so maybe it’s a bad example or I’m just not describing it all that well. I have a cold and my right ear is plugged and I feel like I’m losing it a little, but I wondered why this reporter’s method was necessary in the first place.

She began her segment by saying something along the lines of:

?How does what’s happening in Syria relate to life here in Toronto anyway?”

I wondered if people really needed the story to be spoon fed to them like that, as if they couldn’t already put themselves in the shoes of a mother, losing hope for keeping her children healthy and alive. Hadn’t they all considered what it must be like to be stuck in a war zone? I guess, to a point, I use that distance between myself and such horrible events as a cushion too.

I may feel sad and disappointed in the Syrian government for being unable to keep its people safe. I may be frustrated that although my country of Canada has done more than many to help the Syrian people, our participation has dwindled. I may be sad and disappointed in myself for the fear that even the small gestures of compassion and gratitude I’ve made aren’t enough.

Lots of sadness and disappointment to go around. Excellent choice for the month. If I’m honest, to come right out and say it, I have been sad and disappointed that
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion
Ten Things of Thankful
seem to be losing steam.

It’s obvious by the number of entries in the linkup. The terrible events around the world that inspired a handful of bloggers to act in the only way they knew how, nearly two years ago, is a small sample of what it was once.

That first month there were hundreds of entries. Now, with the linkup being open, not just one day, but a whole week. And yet, my entry is found to be one of the last, if not the last, at five or six along on the list. Where did everybody go? It’s frustrating to see how willing people were, when the excitement and energy were new and when a small discussion on holding on to compassion in times of hardship suddenly and unexpectedly grew into something a lot larger than anyone could have ever anticipated.

Five or six people, including me, took the time to write and keep the movement going this month. This makes me sad. I feel disappointed, but I have compassion for all those who haven’t kept up with it, though some come and go, taking it for granted that it should always be there.

You have to feel it to write. I can be honest about how I feel, but I have a lot of compassion for everyone who didn’t show up. I have been one of them. I can’t say I won’t be one in the future. All the praise goes to those keeping it going this long.

Nothing goes on forever. Everything starts and stops somewhere.

Life gets busy. People forget. Times are hard. They’ve moved on.

This is a time where sadness and disappointment are commonly felt emotions. I am sad and disappointed.

I am sad that we have arrived in this place, where compassion feels strangled by suspicion and self interest.

Taxes. Rising bills to be paid. Mortgages and kids and stressful jobs and relationships and social media.

I am disappointed in America for giving up and giving in. Donald Trump is where he is. I am sad and I am disappointed.

In these times, I believe honesty is best, if we’re ever going to face the ills of our society, like racism and class, job, and economic uncertainties. We’re all fighting for our own, equal slice of the pie.

Where, then, does compassion come in? I am trying desperately to fit the pieces together.

I am trying, underneath a steady undercurrent of sadness, to listen to people and to respect different beliefs. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. This situation is unique in that most times, after a time, I can see where someone may be coming from. In some of these situations, where prejudice is at the core of it, I can’t understand.

Then I lose all compassion for myself, as I feel like it’s something on me, like I’m just not trying hard enough to understand.

It’s mostly based on fear. That much I’ve surmised. I can have empathy for that, to a point, as I know what fear looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like.

I have compassion for everyone. It’s when some people’s true feelings come to light that I jump back in shock and the sadness and disappointment wash over me with no warning.

Is this the end? By which I mean, are we coming to the end of this experiment in writing for compassion here? Or will we keep going forward with the participants we still have? Couldn’t compassion sustain itself, even through blogging, just a little longer? Perhaps not.

Will I even be here next month, to write about compassion, or will I have moved on? I honestly can’t say for certain.

I don’t see any end to this stalemate, these feelings of intense sadness and disappointment at my fellow human beings.

I can’t look the other way when the progress with women’s rights or disability rights or any other rights are threatened. I wish I understood. I wish I could.

I just finished listening to
a podcast
about writing, about memoir, and about trying to put ourselves in another person’s shoes. This is my mission these days, but is it fruitless, when such serious issues are at stake?

I continue to see gestures and acts of compassion in many different places and that softens the blow. It isn’t all bad. This has been and continues to be a difficult time for a lot of people, but a lot are doing the best they know how in the moment.

I go ahead and focus on what makes me feel the opposite of sadness and disappointment. I hope things will continue, that very likely will not. I can’t blame anyone for that. I can only control my own actions and remain compassionate yet honest when the sadness or the disappointment threatens to drag me down next time, hoping what I’m left with is a little piece of compassion left over to spare and to share.


8 thoughts on “Stalemate, #1000Speak

  1. James says:

    I first will point out I’ve only been starting to view your blog the last few month so i didn’t know about this other. But I’ll be poping in now. I use to love debates and even brainstorming on solution. But sadly my most worthy opponent past away and the life of it all went with him.

    I can tell you have compassion as well as a caring hart kerry. And yes the issues of the world is important to all. But I find it’s healthy to turn it all off sometimes. Even if its just one or two day a week, don’t watch the news, don’t ponder on ways to help fix world problems, don’t wounder what is trump going to do next. Just relaxing to recover the simple peaceful thought that remind you of who you are, a clean mind can help give you stronger training of thought over these topic and other in a new day. If you need help you do have a family that seem to be vary close to ya and there always music or like me just getting out side and doing something random with my close friends.

     Anyway I dont know if you wanted a comment like this on your blog that just my two cents. Like you said focus on what makes you feel the opposite of sadness and disappointment and maybe your resent blog here might resurrect those two other blogs.

  2. I’ve been feeling that same sense of disappointment, Kerry, that our movement seems to be languishing – I felt positively lost in the wind last month, but I’m hopeful that this a seasonal malaise and that we’ll find our momentum again once everyone regains their equilibrium from what has certainly been a disheartening few months globally. I think we need to keep writing, keep pushing – and perhaps trying to actively recruit new bloggers to the cause. I honestly do think that the best thing that we can do – often the only thing – is to keep making our own piece of the universe a better place, and that our small, localized, efforts do ripple out – often in unexpected ways. We can’t fix change the world all at once, but we can do it one encounter at a time.

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  4. Hi Kerry! As a blogger who comes and goes to 1000 Speak, I wanted to let you know I kept this blog to read in my inbox until, well, now – when I had a moment to really read and respond.

    My thoughts on 1000Speak and why I sometimes post and sometimes don’t? I feel I’m running out of new thoughts – or important for me to share thoughts – on compassion. It is always important. And yes, I know if I applied myself I would certainly find something to say. But there are months that I don’t need to write it to keep feeling it. I have taken the “thinking through” I done as part of this movement – and posts I have both written and read as part of it – with me into other areas of my life and am better for it.

    I’ve found ways in my life to give back and feel I’m making a change that I didn’t have when I started posting – I feel compassion and goodness and hope in those moments. So, in a somewhat selfish vein, I guess I am getting what I need to feed my soul in that way outside of blogging.

    I hope that many of the hundreds who joined in at the start are like me.

    Does it make me sad to see it shrink? Yes. Do I feel bad when I don’t link up? Yes. But I know it is good self-care (self-compassion) not to feel forced to do so.

    That said, maybe I should be thinking about sharing that back rather than not posting…

    I know it’s next up in February, I believe? Maybe I will post on this theme… (I know I saw the date, but didn’t register if there was a theme).

    All the best.

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