If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. – Jack Kornfield

Photo: My dad and daughter holding hands.

I’ve been thinking about the meaning of compassion lately and I realised it is not something we learn, but rather, a grace that naturally arises from an open heart-space.

An example of this was about a year after our son Nathan died in 2002, when I was still extremely angry towards to the driver who hit him. I had no intention of forgiving her, in fact, I only wanted justice for her actions.

But one day someone shared with me how much the driver was struggling and told me she was so overwhelmed by the accident she could no longer work or leave her room, and her family did not know what to do.

Suddenly and surprisingly, this story created room in me and I felt deep compassion towards her. For the first time since the accident, I realised she was also a mum and was facing the horror of her actions.

My compassion for her was not forced or felt from obligation, instead, it arose from a shared connection of vulnerability and human suffering.

From this space I was able to forgive her and even though we never spoke or met, my heart met her, and this created room to let go and create the first step to healing my grief.

21 thoughts on “Compassion

  1. A very powerful journey in your heart kind lady. To touch and understand something so profound is the making of us, and I have no doubt your son is smiling at his mother for reaching such a beautiful place. Take a bow Karen, that takes great courage, love and understanding to know love so unconditionally β€οΈπŸ™

  2. Karen, grace is a powerful energy that we all have access to when our hearts are open…as you shows in this story. I believe I recall this from your amazing book.

    I appreciate it even more today. Thank you for the vulnerability and beauty of your heart as offered to us all in this story in your post. πŸ’œπŸ™πŸ»

    1. I agree Carrie, this story has always reminded me of the power of grace, and an open heart! Thank you for your kind words. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ€—πŸ§‘

  3. The picture of your dad and daughter’s hands is so beautiful and tender. It speaks love and compassion. On having compassion and forgiving someone that caused so much pain and loss, that’s a hard one. But I do understand what you’re saying. But until someone goes through what you went through, it’s hard to think of forgiveness or have compassion for the person who caused it all. But in order to fully live again you can’t live with anger. So, I suppose we have to find a place inside ourselves for all this to go, and then we have to learn to release it all. Just like everyone here has said, you do have great courage and walk with grace, Karen, all the while helping those who are lost along the way.

    1. Thank you so much Michele for your thoughtful and kind reply.

      I think β€˜grace’ is a mystery of our higher self and our heart. Because when we try to respond to a tragic event or injustice from our mind or logic, it seems impossible to think we could or should respond in compassion.

      The gift is we all have grace within, and my life experience is just one example anything is possible.

  4. This may be one of the more powerful posts I have read, Karen. An inspiration and makes me more insightful of how important compassion is and how we need it for ourselves and those around us. It is funny; the first thing I noticed when I opened this post was the photo ~ it is simply fantastic, and I thought, ‘Wow!’ and it set the beautiful, heartfelt tone to this post. Wishing you well, and enjoy the weekend ahead.

  5. Karen,
    Your blog here is absolutely lovely and loving. You seem to have healed greatly and that could not happen without the courageous cathartic writing that you share with your followers.
    I have a question that came to mind as I read this blog: Do you think you may be healed enough to take that healing further?
    “From this space I was able to forgive her and even though we never spoke or met…”

    1. Thank you Alan for your kind words. I do think I have healed fully in this area, I sent the driver a letter too at the time, but she never contacted me. πŸ™πŸ»πŸŒΏ

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