Empathy shows itself to me yet again… maybe I should listen.

I woke up this morning reflecting on a pickle that I experienced at work.  And it wasn’t the pickle that hit home so much, or the fact that I felt incompetent and embarrassed.  What it all came down to was, how I dealt with this pickle, and the honest feedback and reflection that I received that smacked me in the face yet again.


A year ago I wrote an aggressive facebook post about empathy, due to an incident where people that I considered to be close reacted to what I was doing and it offended me, and then I reacted.

Jamie BlackNovember 2, 2012

What is Empathy ~ By Jamie Black

When one decides to volunteer their time in a community… who says what way is the right way? And who has the right to be mad at a volunteer?

Recently I have gone above and beyond in my life to take on some leadership roles in my community both out of necessity (because no one else would) and also because of my passion to “Inspire and be inspired”. Yet lately, for some reason, I have had a few people offended by my voluntary efforts and publicly blame me for doing something wrong. I have decided to take an empathetic approach?

I believe that I don’t always do things the “Right” way, and that I may not have checked in with everyone to make sure I’m not doing it “wrong”… but I am doing this for the good of the people. I realize that my leadership style is not for everyone, and I know that I cannot please everyone… but I hope to inspire some. Third, I wonder what inspires these people who do not like my style to negatively express their opinion of me at me in public… I wonder if they were having a bad day.

What I have come to realize is that the “Self appointed people and their self appointed decisions” happen to be the “People who give a damn, and who Do Something… without fear of being wrong.”

To Empathize it is a good idea not to let other peoples inability to control their own emotions… so based on experience and practice, I suggest you suck back the defensive and fear based retort and take on speaking with empathy, with the most loving voice, say “I hear you, how would you like to do it?”

Now I reflect on that message, that time, and how even that facebook post received a lot of strong response. People were concerned about me, had empathy for me, called me and asked if I was okay.  I loved the attention and acknowledgement… and yet still, I don’t think I really “Got it.”   Today I sit in my little cabin on the mountain and reflect on how that lack of empathy has caused many heart aches around me.  I cried hard yesterday, because there is something that I just don’t know that I don’t know about empathy.
I don’t even think about how my actions are or will effect another, especially my coworkers, or people that I love.  It isn’t until afterward that I come to realize that I could have done that differently… but what is the barrier that is stopping me in that moment?  What is the muscle memory, mirror or reminder that I miss, when I send out a note or say a phrase that is less than appealing for the receiver and I then put their entire day into a spiral.  Where in the end, if I would have fessed up, if I showed some emotions and shared my fears, my tears,  or my empathy for that person, I would have made their day a lot more palatable.  Instead… I was worried about my own embarrassment, and didn’t want to look bad.
Thank you to those who have taken the time to turn the mirror and express their side of the story to me, for calling me on not being empathetic when I have not been helpful or thoughtful.  I still don’t know what I don’t know, but it is in this not knowing that I seek that awareness of self… and am in this sole adventure in life long learning.
Right now I am reading this book:
…there is a section in here that says by taking time to write in a journal every morning, those who are outgoing and tend to step on feet will become more empathetic of others.  WHOA… I still have a lot of writing to do.  I have been writing for about 3 weeks now, and I now cling to this ritual  because it is physical, it is tangible, and it is as if I have my own confidant, a life partner again, and I can tell my… my journal… myself… my partner anything.
Wow.  just in writing those words, I came to realize the thing that I seek in a life partner is what I seek with myself.  I have been saying to friends and family that I miss having someone to tell my stories to at the end of the day, and that I am not meant to be alone.  But if I actually feel that loneliness, and then send it love and light, and let it go… then I can be with me.
I finally understand why I have watched “Eat Pray Love” with Julia Roberts over and over and over again since June.  I can be with and love me.

Then I reach for my “We’moon 2013” the page of the day speaks to me… and I think of you, Jamie Black.
p. 162 “Soul Retrieval  ~
Her face is darkened by the shadows of her dark blue hood
As she enters, drama with her, center stage, embodied shadow
She is beautiful like you wouldn’t imagine a shadow
Present, not chaotic or scary, real, irresistable
Like the something that left a hole
That you keep trying to fill, and she is the filling
You wonder how she could fit in all this light body you’ve created
That still manages to leave you hungry
But you need her, like you need water, or breath
You watch her, captivated, owning the stage
Although she has done nothing
But she disappears, stage becomes empty
You think you’ve imagined her as the lights come on
And the show begins
It is a happy show with feel good vibes
But you feel no truth in the lines so you exit, stage left
You start to walk, alone without knowing where you are going
But wanting to figure it out
Out of thabit you head forward to the light
She comes from bbehind the corner and grabs you
Dragging you into a hole in the ground
Dirt and mud marke your dress, bugs are crawling through your hair
She is taking you deeper and deeper towards a nest
Made of everything that grows int he earth
She welcomes you in, pulling off her hood
You know her, and she feeds you, until you are full\From her own hands, filling all the empty parts of your soul
She makes medicine for the wounds you abandoned long ago
She gently stitches them closer as she beckons frozen tears to fall
And she catches them in her hands
“Those don’t belong to you” she says
And she returns your tears to the ocean
And you feel it move in your whole body
Oceanic rhythms rising and falling, rocking you to sleep, sleep child
Rest in your soul, wake in the morning and hunger no more.  By Jennifer Lothrigel 2011″
Blessings on your journey.

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