How to Be Bigger Than You Are

I want to see if you are interested in being bigger than you are at present. Are you game?

Maybe you want to know what I’m really asking before you commit. Okay, fair enough.

I’m wondering if you’d like to challenge yourself with a new experience. It might be something on the wild side or simply different from what you are used to.

Here’s one example of a choice I made.

Recently I was offered an opportunity to write a haiku and submit it to a contest site. In the event you’re unfamiliar with what a haiku is, it’s a very short poem with a specific structure. It takes the form of three lines, the first and third lines are five syllables and the second (middle line) is seven syllables. It is a style created in Japan and has a fabled history dating back to at least the sixteenth century.

I could have ignored the prompt to create using this unique style but something about it grabbed me. The contest was very specific that you must use the word ‘blue’ somewhere in the haiku.

The very first image that formed in my head was the brilliant blue ice of a glacier my wife and I saw while in Alaska. Simply gorgeous!

Conforming to the 5/7/5 syllable format presented quite a problem for me. It limited my freedom and I think that’s a big part of any new challenge. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is always difficult, but if you never do, you’ll never know what you are truly capable of.

So, I spent time creating and recreating. Finally, something came together, and I liked how it felt. The image really stood out for me and gave me a sense of inner satisfaction, which was the whole point to me. Although it would be fun to ‘win’ the contest, I’ve already experienced enough value and enjoyment that it doesn’t really matter if I do.

In case you’d like to read the haiku, here it is.

shafts of midnight blue

silhouetting moon lit ice

dreaming of heaven

I’m not suggesting that this is a way for YOU to be ‘bigger’, just that it was one way I chose.

Are there ways that occur to you? Things you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to?

Do you know what’s stopping you? Can you imagine it being fun to try something brand new and see where it leads you?

Obviously, safety plays a part in this adventure. My wife has exempted me from skydiving, hang gliding, even rollerblading, but that’s not really very limiting. And I can think of lots of ways to explore the world.

I don’t want to stay the same size that I am right now. I want to be bigger and to expand, learn new things, meet new people, experience new journeys. How about you?

I’d like to encourage you to follow your dreams. You can start small and work your way up if that feels more comfortable to you.

The idea here is to release a bit of the rope that keeps you tethered close to the ground. If it feels right to you, let go a bit and explore. There are literally thousands of ideas out there in the world, many of which require no money, travel, or a dependence on others to try. They only require your willingness and excitement and participation.

I end with this hopefully encouraging haiku:

it is up to you

to explore your dreams or not

i suggest you do

A New Context for Disappointments

How good are you at dealing with disappointments? Does it make a difference about the size of the disappointment, or do they all effect you the same way?

It’s a topic that’s on my mind at the moment because I’m experiencing a significant disappointment. There isn’t anything I can do about it practically speaking, and of course, that’s also part of the problem. If there were things I could do, then at least I could take some action, even if it didn’t entirely fix everything.

Maybe you’re experiencing some disappointments of your own. They may be the temporary versions or perhaps, ones that repeat themselves over and over.

I decided I needed to have a chat with Lia (an ethereal feminine voice of god who loves and cares for me and who is always willing to talk with me about anything).

I brought up my issue and asked for some guidance.

Lia responded by saying, “Your attitude about your disappointment is completely under your control. You can be disappointed and feel your feelings BUT then exercise great care with your next choice. You can allow this disappointment to manifest into intense feelings of it being ‘unfair’, but you need to realize this is a subjective judgement based on limited information.”

One thing I immediately realize is that Lia will never allow me to consider myself a ‘victim’ in any circumstance, since I am in complete control over the attitudes I choose in my life.

The next thing I realize is that Lia is challenging me and offering me something valuable to consider…that I am taking the ‘short view’ (limited information) and I would be wise to reconsider this.

I’m not sure how though and she already knows this.

Lia continues, “Whenever you choose to view life solely from the short view, you miss the full story. Everything is not revealed in one single moment (or event). It takes time to become aware of the fullness of life.”

Admittedly, I’m still a little confused. I get the essence of what she’s saying but need more.

As always, she understands and adds to her explanation with a magnificent illustration.

“Imagine there is a string of dominos set up in a line, so that once the first domino is tipped over, it creates a chain reaction…a sequence of falling dominos.”

It’s a great picture for me because I’ve done this hundreds of times in my life.

I can feel Lia smiling at me as she continues, “This is your life, a constant sequence of events, which may appear unrelated, but which are intimated connected. If you judge the whole solely by the first domino, you ignore the end result of the chain reaction. Try to remember, everything is connected.”

And although I get what she’s saying, I still wonder how I can release my disappointments and shift my attitude.

“The shift I’m suggesting is for you to develop an awareness, to pay attention, and to carefully observe your life. When you encounter a disappointment, feel it fully, then make a wise choice based on knowing the disappointment is a part of something much larger in your life. It is connected to the events that preceded it and the events that follows it. Watch carefully for how marvelously everything is organized and how everything serves you (in the long run). Cultivate a level of trust in the process so that you can sit back and watch how, what you at first thought was a disappointment, turns out to be a significant part of something much larger and wonderful.”

I recognize this is going to take practice, but I already sense the incredible value it will bring me. Now I think I’m ready to put my disappointments in a new context.

The Upside of Physical Pain

Do you believe it is possible that physical pain could provide you with any benefits?

This may seem like a trick question at first. It’s not. I really want to know what you think and what you believe.

Sure, some physical pains might make you want to see your doctor, so they can diagnose your condition and offer you some appropriate remedies. Remedies that help you recover from the physical pain before it becomes a more significant problem. But what about all the lesser pains, the ones you’re tempted to ignore or try to cover over? Is there possibly a message in any of them for you? And if so, how do you discover what the messages are?

I feel as though one of my approaches to this dilemma is somewhat unique. I haven’t talked about it a lot, so I don’t know if others do something similar.

Let me explain and you can see for yourself and then decide if it might make sense for you to try.

Many years ago, I had an insight that there are several different aspects within me, and they each have a voice. The aspects are physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and ego. I found it possible to isolate their individual points of view and was able to listen to their individual voices. I was also able to moderate their conversations so that I could gain firsthand insights.

As with so many things, it’s much better to share an example, rather than continue to try to explain how it works.

Recently the moderator (‘me’) began by saying that it was very difficult to trust my body because when aches and pains started to arrive, I felt betrayed by my body, especially if I’d done all of the things that my cultural trainers had told me to do (exercise, eat healthy, stay hydrated…you get the picture).

My physical ‘self’ responded immediately by saying, “It’s a curious thing that you should feel betrayed, because it is you who stopped caring about me and just assumed I would provide you with constant good health.”

It continued, “The choices you make have a profound impact on my ability to maintain good health. You’ve done some of the things your cultural trainers have recommended but you have ignored the most potent and important ally you have…ME. I ought to be the first one contacted to discuss any physical issues.”

I felt reprimanded by my physical voice.

I also heard the truth.

This IS what I have done throughout most of my life. For as long as I can remember, I have expected my body to maintain my health no matter what the circumstance. And when I get sick, am injured, or need medical attention, I feel my body has let me down.

So here is my physical ‘self’ speaking to me about ‘my’ being a large part of the problem. And I realize that I have allowed the pain I encounter to be blamed on my physical ‘self’, which clearly creates additional problems.

The conversation takes a dramatic turn when my physical body poses a question to me, “When was the last time you asked me what I need?”

I have no good answer. I haven’t been paying attention. I’m feeling apologetic and I want to know how to fix this.

My physical ‘self’ responds. “Trust is a two-way street. We both have to trust the other. We have to listen and then take action.”

I think I’m ready for this. I wonder if the presence of physical pain in my life is an attempt to grab my attention, like waving a big red flag, one I can’t possibly miss. I wonder if continuing this conversation will yield clarity and direction. That would certainly create an upside for me.

As with all things, it matters most what you ‘do’. I could continue to ignore my physical ‘self’ and assume it will provide constant good health or I can listen for the truth and take whatever actions it suggests.

I want clarity and I want a relationship with my physical ‘self’, so I am going to shift and pay better attention. I am going to check in with my body, both when I feel well and when I sense a need for healing.

Allowing

What do you allow into your life?

This word may mean several different things to you since ‘allow’ is an open word. Allow, as in, let happen. Or allow, as in, give your permission to. Allow could mean to authorize or admit or even, to accept and believe in.

And depending on which meaning you choose; it alters the way your life proceeds.

When I considered this topic, one of my first thoughts is how the things I allow into my life might not work in my favor. They might not go right or to a place I am comfortable.

Why would I think this?

It could just as easily be the opposite, that things I allow into my life will benefit me and even bring me happiness.

My simple answer is that I have a default setting that points toward imagining that things I allow into my life will create challenges for me or work against me, instead of for me.

Where did this concept come from?

The first thing that occurs to me is that I learned it from someone. That it was a part of my cultural training. And although this may be entirely true, it doesn’t help me. In fact, it can become another part of the problem because it may trap me into thinking there is someone else to blame or that I am a victim. Neither of these things work for my greater good.

I certainly recognize how unfortunate a default this is for me, and I have tried to reprogram myself. I’ve tried to let go of what my cultural training has taught me and shifted toward a smarter, more beneficial approach.

When I encounter something new, I envision the positive outcomes it could bring into my life and then consciously allow them into my world.

I train my inner being to recognize the lies I tell myself, that allowing things into my life is dangerous. It’s only dangerous if that is what I believe.

It takes constant reminding to live with the truth that all things can work to my benefit, even and sometimes especially, the ones that at first appear challenging or difficult.

As with so many other things in my life, I feel I need an example to help me shift my consciousness. I want to see how the whole idea of ‘allowing’ will open my world and bring me joy.

So, I sit back and allow myself to breathe into a state of relaxation and see what comes to fill the open space.

An awesome thought pops in.

Allowing opens a door. As I keep breathing, the door swings wider. I begin to feel the presence of possibilities. I have no conscious opinion about whether they are positive or negative and am at peace believing they are just open possibilities, available to me to experience, if I choose to allow them in.

I sense the presence of faith and trust, which feel like very necessary ingredients in the process, because without them, it feels as if nothing will happen.

A part of me wonders, faith and trust in who, in what?

But I know the answer to that. Faith and trust in me and in my inner divine nature.

The more I breathe, the deeper the resonance with knowing that what I choose to allow, will serve me. There is a knowingness and I sense that this same essence exists in everyone. We are all divine, and we all have a choice what to allow in.

Release

What are you holding on to that weighs you down or causes you pain and suffering?

What would your life be like if you let them go?

I have a pretty long list as it turns out. It sparks me to wonder why I hold so tightly to ideas and opinions that clearly no longer serve me, if they ever did.

How about you, can you say the same thing? Can you feel how wonderful it would be to loosen your grip and release things that clutter your life?

Perhaps right now you might want to take a moment and join me by creating a list of thoughts and observations. And once created, explore the idea of letting them go.

Here are some of mine to help you get started. If something ignites your own awareness, please feel free to follow it and see where it leads you. Remember there are never any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.

I believe I would be well served by releasing the following:

** my need to be, feel or think that I am ‘right’ (about anything).

** my idea that I need to be ready to say the next thing when I am in a dialogue with someone (rather than just being present with them).

** the idea I have about all of my past ‘mistakes’ (especially since I cannot possibly know what was or wasn’t a mistake).

** the inner need I feel about ‘my’ team having to win in order for me to be happy.

** anything that I am holding inside my body which causes pain, suffering or discomfort (because I cannot feel safe, whole, or complete without letting go).

** any need I have to make comparisons (which hurt all parties).

** any value judgements I make (because they lock in the notion that I am ‘right’ and that others are ‘wrong’ and I don’t/can’t see far enough or wide enough to know the truth).

** the inner desire I feel for more food than my body needs (which can feel like a competition and one that profoundly impacts me).

** any restriction I place on experiencing JOY (there are times I feel I have to ‘earn’ joy, rather than knowing it is a part of my spiritual essence, always yearning to be freely felt).

I’m sure I could go on, but I bet you get the idea.

Now for the hard part…how do I make this happen? How do I effectively release all these things I seem to realize are not helpful for me?

It strikes me I’m not starting in the most beneficial place, because I used the phrase, “now for the hard part”. Maybe you were quick and picked right up on this. To begin any process with the thought that it will be difficult or challenging or ‘hard’, prejudices you and sets the stage for self-fulfilling prophecies to come true.

So, now for the easy part. I know it might sound simple, but I believe it is also quite true. YOU CHOOSE. If it’s obvious to you that your thoughts are complicating your life in any way, you simple choose new thoughts. You replace the ones that restrict you or run contrary to what serves you (makes you happy, fulfilled or joyful).

As soon as you recognize the appearance of conflicts or judgements entering your life, you make a conscious choice to release them, knowing it is you who profits from this. You place your sense of self-worth above what you imagine others expect or demand of you.

And, you keep doing this, decision after decision after decision. The constancy of choosing to release that which does not serve you, will create new patterns in your life, ones that do serve you.

Choosing is always up to you. I hope you choose well.

The Greatest Reward

I sat at my desk, ready to write whatever came to me. Not surprisingly, it was a question rather than a statement. It’s often this way for me. I find that questions are creative sparks that generate the heat of discovery.

Here’s the question that arose.

What are the things I’ve done which have returned the greatest pleasure?

For the purpose of this post, I changed the last word from pleasure to reward.

Why?

Well, mostly because I’ve learned so much from unpleasurable events in my life. They’ve led to significant rewards, despite what my initial thoughts were about them.

If you came from the financial world like I did, you might be tempted to think in terms of ‘return on investment’. The notion that there is an important relationship between the amount of time, energy, and resources you expend and the resultant benefits, usually stated in dollars and cents, that you receive.

Fortunately for me, I left the business world a long time ago and have shifted away from this kind of thinking. So, when the question placed itself before me, I was able to allow it the full freedom of expression.

What a gift, to be able to sit back and see what fills the empty space.

Can you take a moment to relax, breathe in and out gently, perhaps close your eyes, and I know it might feel strange, but give yourself permission to smile. Feel for your own empty space and drift along, allowing your memories the chance to come and be with you.

I promise, it can be incredibly fun.

As a way of helping you get started, I’d like to share a small sampling of the ‘greatest rewards’ that came to me. One or two may even surprise you.

Saying “I do” to my wife and joining our lives together. Sharing our living dreams and knowing we are there for each other. And even after over forty-eight years of marriage, we still hold hands on our afternoon walks.

The births of our children. No other single thing has created more pleasure for my wife and me than the births and lives of our two beautiful children. And of course, by extensions, the births of our grandchildren.

Stopping in traffic to hand a folded twenty-dollar bill to someone in need by the side of the road, knowing they now have options and perhaps, a bit more hope.

The cold I am currently getting over because it reminds me that my body is an amazing thing and is capable of healing and restoration, far beyond what I give it credit for.

Making a paper ‘Best Waitress Award Certificate’ while at lunch and handing it to our waitress along with a generous tip, because she did such a great job.

Writing a series of books (Little Buddha, Books One-Four, so far) because they absolutely elevate my level of joy, since I love the characters so much. Then being able to share the stories with others during a book study group and discovering the characters are as important to them as they are to me.

Going for a nature walk and breathing in the fresh air, allowing it to spread throughout my body and fill me with happiness.

My morning meditation after my shower because it offers me depth and disappearance. I can fade from this world for a short time and reconnect with the divine.

There were so many others and there will be more because this is a practice that yields rich dividends for me.

I hope it offers you the same.

Problem Solving

Are you a good problem solver? Does it depend on the problem or set of problems that you face?

Maybe you’re good at puzzles or crosswords but feel challenged by issues you face in life. Or maybe you’re fairly skilled at dealing with difficult people but not financial or medical situations.

One of the obstacles I’ve encountered while trying to solve problems is that I hit a ‘wall’. I seem to be making great progress and then something comes up and stops me in my tracks. I try to figure out what went wrong and am forced to restart the process over again.

The funny thing is I get to the same point and hit the same ‘wall’. I’ve explored some options and thought through some potential challenges but haven’t been able to reach any solid conclusions.

And the whole process can become even more difficult if I’m interrupted, which increases my inability to make any progress.

Time for a break.

I sit back and wonder about this whole thing. Don’t I want to arrive at a conclusion? I think I do, but perhaps there’s some reason or reasons I don’t.  Maybe I’m afraid of the unknown. Maybe I’m afraid of failure. Maybe I’m even afraid of success. Or could it be I don’t think there is an answer and that’s why I keep hitting the same wall?

I’d like to float an idea for your consideration.

Often it feels as though we get bogged down with problems because we feel we have to create their solutions from scratch.

What if this is not true. What if, what IS true, is that every solution to every problem ALREADY exists? If we accepted this, then problem solving would merely be a matter of claiming the solution, not creating it.

But you say, how can I claim a solution I cannot see?

A very good question indeed.

So, here’s a three-step process I’d like to propose.

Step One is to open your mind and conceive that the solution to your problem already exists, despite it not being immediately obvious.

Step Two is to believe you have the power to find the answer, either by yourself or with the help of others.

Step Three is to take action, to move beyond the wall by releasing any attachment you have to the idea that an answer does not exist. Let that go and instead, embrace the idea that an answer not only DOES exist but that you are capable of finding it and claiming it.

Here’s a quick case in point. Imagine you’re on an explorer ship leaving Europe and sailing eastward across the ocean, headed to the ‘New World’, which no one knows about yet. You’ve made preparations (conceived of the New World’s existence, stretched into beliefs that it must be there) and are now taking action, sailing with the wind. Day after day you continue and after several months, land ho, you arrive!

I think to myself, what if those sailors believed as others did, that they would sail off the edge of the world? Talk about a problem solving ‘wall’ (or rather no wall, since they’ve already fallen off the edge).

Somehow, they found a way to trust they would be successful. After they conceived and believed, they took action.

In the same manner, I’m suggesting each of us can discover (and claim) answers for any and all problem(s) we encounter. I’m not suggesting that every answer will come immediately, certainly not. But what I am suggesting is that our attitudes and beliefs play a vital role in all of our life’s successes.

Plotting Your Course

Do you know where you are headed in life? Are you going in a direction with intention or are you going with the flow, allowing life to guide your steps?

This question got me to thinking about how folks have navigated their lives over the course of time, especially the ancient seagoers.

For me, the thought of getting in a boat, leaving shore, and heading out beyond sight of land creates a good deal of concern. I suppose if I could sail along the edge of land, I’d be okay, but crossing an ocean by myself, no way.

I wondered how the early seafarers managed to arrive at their destinations, especially if they were going somewhere no one had ever been before.

I did a little research and discovered that they used the sun and the North Star (Polaris) to help guide them. Always knowing where north was became extremely important to them as a reference point. While the sun was up, they could easily track their east/west route and at noon they carefully watched the shadows the sun cast. They also became familiar with the constellations in the night sky as navigational aids. There was even a reference to watching the flight paths of birds and the direction the fish were swimming to help set their course.

What does all of this have to do with us?

Well, one thing it suggests to me is, what do we use as our aids to navigate our lives?

No doubt there are many ways for us to move through our lives and I’m wondering if I asked you, could you tell me how you do it?

Do you have a set of intentions, a kind of road map for what you desire to experience in your life? It strikes me that without intentions, it is very difficult to arrive where we say we want to go, for if we don’t have any set points we often drift an aimless path.

I’m not saying there aren’t times when it’s nice to kick back and relax, but it seems to me that most folks want to experience certain things in their lives and without knowing what they are, it is much more challenging to have them.

One thing that may help is to have some mid-points between your starting and end points. Sort of mini goals that keep you on track. Often it is easier to make advancements when your goal is nearer and seems more practical. Breaking down the process can be especially helpful when you start to veer off course from a mid-point because you can bring yourself back and not stress over how far afield you are from your end point.

What other navigational aids are there in reaching our intentions?

Perhaps you have many you use, and I hope they always help you reach all of your dreams. However, if you could use a few suggestions, here are the ones that come to me.

Although I’m not usually good at this, it has been one of the most important pathways to succeeding in my life…ask for help. None of us know everything, so it’s important to have your own North Stars in your life, folks who want to help you. And once you’ve asked for help, accept it when it’s offered to you. Learn from what’s given to you. It may not be the precise way for you, but it may spark something in you that does create a path forward.

I also believe we are all gifted. We came here with an idea in mind of what we’d like to experience while here. Each of us has an inner knowing. So, believe in yourself and then surround yourself with others who believe in you and who share your dreams. They can be cheerleaders helping you reach all of your mid-points and all of your end points.

Power

A visual image popped into my head. It was of a roadside mailbox, the kind that stands on top of a post and has one of those arms that the postal delivery person raises to alert you that you have mail.

But then the image shifted and somewhere in the background, I could hear a ‘ding’ and a voice saying, “you have mail”. I’m aware it’s there but some part of me is refusing to open it.

Have you ever been tempted to ignore messages being sent to you?

They could be from a boss, coworker, family member, doctor, attorney, or they could even be from YOU. Perhaps some part of you is trying to get your own attention.

I think I occasionally resist reading or listening to certain messages because I’m not sure I want to know their content and the simplest way to avoid them is to pretend they don’t exist. I sometimes do this despite knowing it won’t actually work. I know that whatever message I ignore, or resist will just keep coming back until I am open to listening to it.

I wonder what this image is meant to convey to me. Is there symbolism in it or some necessary guidance?

I ponder this for a bit and then something jumps up and waves madly at me. It has its own voice.

It says to me, “This message is about ‘power’, specifically ‘your power’. The voice goes on to say, “There is only one true source of power, which is your connection to the divine. It is from here that all power emanates. Every action, belief, and decision needs some of this power to manifest in your life.”

“It takes power to create each of your life experiences. Sometimes you are conscious of this dynamic, but most of the time you are not, and yet it remains the truth.”

“Every time you believe you are empty, you seek to fill yourself back up, so you expend power (your energy) by seeking positive responses or reinforcement from others in the world. And you attempt to refuel yourself using others as your power source. This will never work, no matter how hard you try. This will not work, even if they are willing to give you some of their power. Power does not work this way.”

Frankly, I’m stunned by this message. I feel its truth for me. I recognize that it is exactly what I do and what I’ve observed others doing. When I sense an emptiness inside of me, I do not always return to the divine source for replenishment. Rather I seek out others and expect them to share some of their power with me. It’s not a fully conscious decision on my part and it feels like one of my default settings kicking in.

The voice returns, “No one can take your power away from you, although it may feel this way. Every person has their own power, drawn from the same divine source. If you feel as though you are losing power, it is because YOU have allowed it to be released.”

I wonder, why would I do that? What would possess me to release power that I need? And I wonder, what energetic dynamic is at work here?

Some clarity arrives when the voice continues, “As you connect with the divine, you are filled with power, and it is up to you to decide how to use it. You make all of the choices. You can release it (allow it to slip away), retain it (for later use), use it (for all of life’s decisions and actions or enhance it (share and combine it with others). Each choice is yours and yours alone. Neither you nor anyone else can give away their power to another, so remember this when you fill empty, and return to the divine source to be filled.”

I am grateful that I finally opened and listened to this message and the power it holds for me.

Bridges

Are you a fan of bridges or do they scare you a bit?

I’ve driven and walked over lots of bridges and most are okay. But then there are a few that are truly nerve-wracking because they are so high or seem to sway with the wind or the end seems to disappear before it reaches the other side, leaving you wondering if you’ll ever set foot on firm ground again.

I know a few people who will drive out of their way to avoid going over certain bridges. I recently discovered that there is a recognized phobia for this condition, referred to as gephyrophobia, and that it often produces panic attacks. I feel badly for those afflicted with this condition and know of many bridges that would produce these effects.

This morning I was thinking about bridges of a different sort. The ones it would be wonderful to build between people.

We have such strong opinions and reactions regarding how we view the world, and they can create large chasms between us. I wondered to myself, what causes all of these and easily came up with an extensive list. No doubt you could add to it with ideas of your own.

Political ideologies, religious dogmas, social mores, economic stratification, injustices, wars, philosophical differences. And, branching off each of these are even more opinions and hardened ideas that make it very challenging.

So, how are we to bridge the gaps?

I suppose it is up to each of us to decide what approach might work for us. I’m wondering, do you have a proven method, or would you like a suggestion?

If you have something that works for you, I hope you share it with others, because it often feels that our human race could benefit from a lot of bridging.

If you’re open to an idea, I have one to share.

The idea begins by visualizing a bridge in your mind. There are two ends, and each has a firm foundation, which suggests something to me. It feels as though both ends are necessary and important. But there is a feeling of them standing alone and apart, so that without the lanes that crossed between them, they cannot support each other, and they are less because of this.

The visualization shifts.

One side of the bridge is now connected to my head, where all thoughts about the world reside. It is powerful and capable of great things, but it falls short of being complete.

On the other side is my heart where feelings exist. It is a loving, caring place, but it too is incomplete.

The two sides need each other to be wholly effective. And they also need a way to communicate. They need the lanes in between them, and they need to partner together, otherwise nothing significant can be accomplished.

And they need to find common ground and a reason to work toward mutually beneficial outcomes.

I often find that I learn best through examples, so here’s one that came to my mind.

While driving in a city, I’ll often notice a person standing by the side of the road holding a sign, asking for money. My head recognizes that there are many opinions regarding those who do this. Some folks feel they should get a job like everyone else. Others resist offering them money because they feel they’ll use it for liquor or drugs or something else objectionable. And while folks may be sensitive to their plight, they don’t want to encourage them to continue and feel there must be a better way.

On the other side of my bridge, my heart fills with love, sympathy, and empathy for them. It hopes that they will receive whatever they truly need, whether it’s money, a smile, or a word of encouragement.

But without a bridge between my head and my heart no action will ever occur. For me, that’s where compassion comes in. It’s when the love in my heart finds direction through an outpouring of compassion. It overflows into my mind and creates a desire to offer aid, support, and kindness.

Compassion builds bridges. Simple acts of encouragement, caring and sharing from the abundance we each have within us. Compassion builds lanes between the two foundations, making the entire bridge come to life.