Monday, July 8, 2019

Listening With Compassion

I had a post on Instagram that asked for idea suggestions for future blog posts. My beautiful friend and kindred spirit, Gigi Brown, answered that post. She told me that she would like to know how best to support someone with COPD.

To answer that question is actually to answer two, because they tie into each other.

🌸 How do you support someone with COPD or another chronic illness?
🌸 Why do you write a blog for COPD when you are, yourself, suffering??

I can't answer one without answering the other.

Why do this? Why write a blog on COPD? All this time and energy devoted to something that will probably never grow my piggy bank... why?

It's a question I've asked myself many times. When I have a moment to sit and contemplate, the answer echos in my soul. The resonance of it sings to my heart like the beautiful melody of a Tibetan singing bowl.

The answer is a simple one.
Simple, yet deep.
I do it because there may be one thing in one of my thoughts that I share with the world, here, that brings someone out of the darkness in which they feel they are trapped. This disease does that to people. It's a very mentally taxing, and physically debilitating disease.

In a world where the next great gimmick is masked as a false facade of human kindness, what am I really doing behind this blog?

Let me remove my invisibility cloak. What you learn about me on these pages is genuine. It comes from my heart. I want nothing from anyone. I'm not selling anything. I'm not in your news feed on Instagram or Facebook asking you to buy anything.

        So what am I doing?

I have a purpose greater than myself. I have a desire to bring love and light to this world.  Instead of selling something, I'm giving it away. It's a very precious commodity, and actually something money cannot buy... not at any price. It's something everyone needs, yet few people possess.


That's it?
Yep. That's it. Compassion.

So how does that tie into what you can do to support someone with a chronic illness?

Compassion is the only thing you need to have in order to be able to really help someone on their COPD Journeys. To truly support, emotionally, begins first with compassion. Compassion is the feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Nothing bad ever came from doing something with your whole heart full of compassion. At least not where I'm concerned. When you do something for someone, is it a chore? They feel that. They know it. If there's no compassion in your actions, what comes across to the person with the illness is that they are the chore, and a burden. That is detrimental to the heart and psyche.

Our cells are all connected, just as we are all connected. There are only two ways about it.  Your energy given to someone else either helps them or hurts them.  Compassion is the greatest gift you can give to someone who isn't in the best state of mind or health.  For that matter, it's s the best gift you can give anyone, sick or not.

How can you show compassion to someone in declining health? The single, most helpful thing you can do is to listen without trying to fix; or listening with compassion.  Lend compassion to your voice. Let the person vent. All they really want to know is that you care about how this disease is making them feel. They want to feel they still matter. They want to feel someone really cares. They want to feel heard.

Say things that acknowledge their feelings like "I understand this is painful for you" "I'm here", "You're right, this is an awful disease", or "what can I do to help?".  This shows them that you care, genuinely, about what they are experiencing in the moment.

Avoid patronizing them or telling them things like "you'll get better ", "my day was worse", "are you going to stay in bed all day?" or "you just need to exercise more". These statements are inaccurate, demeaning and degrading to someone literally fighting for their life.

To tie all of this in together, it's not money that makes the world go around, it's compassion. What we see in others exists in us. Otherwise, how could we recognize it? That's why I write this blog. I am trying to give to others what I appreciate most in me.

There's no desire or delusion of a return. If something is done for others in the hopes of getting something back, that's not giving with compassion. It translates to manipulation. Compassion never existed in an act of deceit.

I do my best to give compassion to others through my written word because it is what I most need in my own life. I am thankful I have that.  It's the only thing I have left to offer this world.

The need to give freely resonates strongly within me. This blog is founded on that principle. I am thankful I am able to give. There's an art to compassion that when it's given away, freely, it's a gift that returns to us.

Receiving, giving and listening with compassion... they are my most cherished values in another human being.

           "Do your best to practice compassionate listening. Do not listen for the sole purpose of judging, criticizing or analyzing. Listen only to help the other person express himself and find some relief from suffering." 
            Thich Nhat Hanh


  1. Thank you for this post. I've wondered how best to support others when they are facing difficult challenges such as a chronic illness. Blessings.

    1. You're beautiful, Gigi! Inside and out! I appreciate so much that you thought to ask the question! I was only more than happy to answer it. I went through the back door to do it, but I think I got it out! Thank you! 🌸


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