“So many little hurts, even here, away from blood and battle. I wouldn’t have heard them before. Now I can, thanks to you.”
“So you help them with a few whispered words?”
“The right words. Plus what I am, a little of me making the happiness stronger, so the pain fades… I help them heal. They never need to know I was here.”Cole, Dragon Age Inquisition
Cole is a spirit of compassion – a literal spirit, as a character from the videogame Dragon Age: Inquisition, with the ability to see glimpses into the minds of others who are suffering. By softly altering a key assumption – such as “It wasn’t your fault” – he eases their pain and allows them to move on. They soon forget him entirely.
Most of the game, he is surrounded by the violence of war; depending on how you engage him, he evolves, and later has the chance to listen to the sounds of heartache in the quieter moments. He solves the problems of everyday folks, such as bickering friends or anxiety in a budding romance.
This is life. Trials, respite from the traumatic moments, healing and growth, engaging the world, then listening in the quiet moments for the underlying lessons… taking care of the every day comes after establishing the new normal.
I feel like I’m on the verge of an explosive growth. I’ve never known war but I have known clinical depression, bipolar disorder, suicidal tendencies, and toxic relationships that fed my disorders. My recovery has spanned the last decade, where I’ve engaged in sufficient self care, built a stable and healthy life and put my priorities in order. Now I can reach out and take risks. Personal growth had to come first, before professional growth. Restructuring of my life and stabilizing had to come before I could handle the growing pains of new achievements.
“Recently, an expression that keeps coming to mind as I work with my clients is mono no aware. This Japanese term, which literally means ‘pathos of things,’ describes the deep emotion that is evoked when we are touched by nature, art, or the lives of others with an awareness of their transience. It also refers to the essence of things and our ability to feel that essence…
I believe that when we put our things in order and strengthen our bonds with what we own, we get back in touch with that delicate sensitivity to mono no aware. We rediscover our innate capacity to cherish the things in our lives and regain the awareness that our relationship with the material world is one of mutual support.”Marie Kondo, “Spark Joy”
Self care is not selfish.
You can’t truly listen to others if the background noise of your life is too loud.
You can’t give all of yourself – or even most of yourself – if most of you is not available to give.
And when giving your heart fully to the world, the deeper your loving relationships are, the deeper the spring from which to draw your love, your strength, and your ambitions.