Standing on my soapbox, empathy is not a dirty word. 

I have a confession to make, I get really frustrated by judgements. I know, I know, that in of it self is judgemental, I guess. But why is karma a bitch? Why if I exhude positive vibration should I only expect positive results? Why does the expression what comes around goes around used to take satisfaction in another’s problems or punishments?  None of these thoughts are compassionate, because sometimes bad things happen, to everyone.

About a month or so ago, an acquaintance I’ve known about five years, overheard me giving someone encouragement about recovering from an ailment that I had myself some time ago, she has seen snapshots so to speak, of some of the challenges in my life. Her response was to turn around and chime in, saying something like, “Oh my god! What have YOU done to deserve all this?!” The first thought that popped in my head was, not a fucking thing, but thanks for assuming the worst of me, like I deserve any of this crap! Instead, though, I took a breath and chuckled at my thoughts before saying out loud, “I am just grateful to be alive, I don’t view it that way.” A completely true statement. 

Of course I get upset, doubt, cry, throw pity parties, wake up cranky for no good reason, yell, just like every other person on this incredible planet, but I hope that the love I feel in my heart outweighs all that. Life isn’t fair. It’s not doled out in measured increments of hardships and pleasures based on how kind or good you are. I refuse to make that subjective list, claiming how I’m better than someone else, because it’s not that clear cut, and it’s not for me to decide. The choices come from how we handle things. Living in envy, woe, or anger is poison to the soul. Does it matter who wins the lottery?  We can’t always control what happens, just our reaction to it. 

Life is filled with consequences to our actions, that is karma. Karma on the other hand is not a baby born with cerebral palsy, getting cancer, having a drunk driver crash into you, being raped…I could go on as there are so many tragic and painful episodes living in this world, but to claim karma is using me as a pawn beholden to pain and suffering is just a sick petty version of victim shaming. 

If I walk around like an ass all day, chances are I won’t be treated very well, that is karma. If I’m smiling and happy all day, most likely I’ll be met with smiles as well, again karma. Me burning my hand today making a Dutch bunny? A distracted accident, and a lesson learned about metal handles staying really hot, even ten minutes out of the oven! Lying, cheating, stealing, reckless behavior all have logical consequences…and choosing to try to understand or empathize with someone’s bad behavior does not condone it, but it might lead to a positive step in halting further bad behavior. Be an activist, but do it with compassion instead of anger. Awareness comes before change. Ignorance can only be enlightened through receptive knowledge. 

Though I’m sure I’ve said this before, I find I’m most critical when I’m not happy with something in my own life. It would be nice if we could just look inward to our own actions and thoughts as those are truly the only ones under our command. Be grateful for something, anything. Make a Dutch bunny! It won’t make life an easier, but it tastes delicious, just use on oven mitt! 


4 thoughts on “Standing on my soapbox, empathy is not a dirty word. 

  1. Like most things, people’s concept of karma is simplistic and childish. When I met my Zen teacher back in the 70s, I asked if the reason I was disabled by polio was because of some bad thing I had done in an earlier life. He pointed out that it kept me out of Vietnam, which is true. I’ve read that the Advaita Vedantins often regard karma as a “useful fiction.” My interpretation is much like yours, that we suffer consequences of our actions but can’t blame ourselves for everything that happens. And even if we could, what difference would it make?

  2. I call that a Dutch Baby! Bunny sounds less barbaric. Now I want one. We all say the most bizarre things sometimes. My hope is that it was the turrets/nervous way of saying you didn’t deserve any of that. I have said the most inappropriate things with good intentions. It mostly happens when I want to get on someone’s good side and try too hard. Backfires 9 out of 10. Or maybe they really are awful.

    • You are hilarious and no, none was at your rants was one too many memes that rub me the wrong way because they exude spiritual competition and superiority…old samskaras of my catholic school days debating nuns about limbo and purgatory.
      And honestly it may be Dutch baby but my kids were so creeped out by that, I started calling it bunny instead,)

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