On Friday, I innocently went to the movie “Reign Over Me” with Mr. Love-A-Lot. It shows the Adam Sandler character going through a profound (at least to me) transition after losing his entire family on 9/11. I was enjoying the movie, laughing even. It was heart warming and heart opening. And then IT hit. And I mean, IT.
The tears started almost like a dog whimpering as he might when caught on a white picket fence. But then they became so overwhelming that I had to shove my face into Mr. Love-A-Lot’s sleeve, chest, anywhere I could find to muffle the sound so as not to disturb the other movie goers. Now, I pause here to note, I did not stop crying for the other viewers. I did not worry about what they thought of me. I did want to be conscious of how loud my tears were getting yet I did not want to stifle them. I knew IT was profound even though I couldn’t name it or point a finger at something that happened in the movie itself. IT was happening whether I approved of it or not. So I let the tears come. Slowly at first and then eventually, as the movie ended, the wailing and guttural noises started showing up along with the usual snotty eyes and nose.
Mr. Love-A-Lot, much to his credit, was not phased. He did not move away or leave to get tissue. Instead, he took his sleeve and blew my nose. (Ya gotta love him!) And, I couldn’t stop. And I mean, I could not stop. I cried during the movie, after the movie (the cleaning folks walked around us), on the way to the car, in the car, as Mr. Love-A-Lot got me out of the car, in the doorway of our house, up the stairs, in the bedroom, in the bed…for hours I cried off and on. More on than off. (I think I only slowed down the tears for breathing and blowing purposes.)
What was IT about you ask? Compassion. Compassion for myself. Compassion for my mother. Compassion for my father. Compassion for my sister, Cindy. Compassion for my sister, Linda. Compassion for Oprah. Compassion for Dr. Phil (yes, even him). Compassion for the CFLCs (Certified Fearless Living Coaches). Compassion for the PCs (Program Candidates). Compassion for every fan, every book reader, every single person I have ever met, will meet or may never meet. Compassion. Pure and simple.
I know I can count on myself to be focused. I know I can depend on my passion. I know without a doubt I love what I do. But compassion for myself goes in and out as I work through my own dance with fear and freedom.
It’s almost as if my favorite philosophy, the very truth upon which I stand “Compassion first, Accountability second” is slapping me in the face and letting me know that my understanding of my own quote barely scratches the surface of its profundity. I am humbled.
Do I have more compassion than ever? Yes. (You can check that with Marta.) Yet, in the past four months I know I have been called to awaken within me and through me a greater level of understanding for the fundamental gift we all need, including myself, compassion. Compassion for the human condition. Compassion for our efforts and foibles. Compassion for our courage and carelessness. Compassion for the difference between who we see in the mirror and who we know is inside of us screaming to get out. Compassion for our true essential natures and the risk it takes to live it, share it and be it. Compassion.
I invite you to experience the depth (did I say that?) of Adam Sandlers portrayal of how I felt on the inside for most of my life…and in truth, how we all feel when we lose something that matters. When I cried that night, it was as if I was crying for the first time. It was deep. It was rich. It was freeing.
I challenge you to have compassion for yourself this month and use the practice of self-acceptance and innocence as tools for your journey. I challenge you to practice just being you.
Through compassion, I know each of us will become more fearless! Let’s do it together!