Glow in Your Heart

Henrita Frost, SSND

The following words describe a
Love Relationship that has been alive in my being
since Mission: JOY  became part of my life.

 “Joy is the reward of seeking to give joy to others.
When you are caring, compassionate, more concerned
about the welfare of others than of your own,
you suddenly feel a glow in your heart because
you have in fact wiped the tears from the eyes of another.”
Archbishop Tutu, Mission JOY

Pause and Reflect Concerning –

“When you are Caring. . .
Compassionate. . .
More Concerned. . .
about the welfare of others than of your own,
you suddenly feel a glow in your heart because you
have in fact wiped the tears from the eyes of another.”

Reflect about a “glow in your heart.”
What was your experience of JOY, the heart-filled glow of JOY?

Daily our World Community needs us to be responders to the Call of Compassion.  Remember these words of Thich Nhat Nanh:  “With compassion in your heart, every thought, word and deed can bring about a miracle.”

Touch and Encounter

Your Beating Heart. . .
Welcome Compassion and joy into your Heart.
 Take time to be in Presence with your Compassionate, Joyful Heart.
(15 minutes)
If thoughts come, return to your Heart.

Journey with your Compassionate Joyful Heart.
To where is it leading you?

As I was thinking about closing words for these reflections, I came upon a quote from Pope Francis and I share it with you:

“The joy that you have freely received from God,
Please, freely give away: so many people are waiting for it!
So many are waiting for it from you!”

Pope Francis

Mission : JOY 

What personal experiences and  memories of  joy do you hold?

Where do you feel the link between your joy and your compassion?

How does your joy help you to share compassion with the world?

We invite you to explore these  questions as you watch the film Mission : JOY.

Mission : JOY is a film based on the friendship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The film, based on conversations between the two men over a five day period, is filled with laughter as these two friends discuss faith, practice, suffering and joy. 

Sister Henrita and I have been studying and writing about compassion together on this blog and are heartened by this message of joy.  The world can overwhelm us with suffering. And it is with friendship and laughter that we can begin to ease suffering and offer compassion. 

To get the link to watch the film (at your convenience, May 5-7)

and to join us on zoom for practice and for conversation  (Sunday, May 8 , 11:00 am)

Please register here

Joy: An Ingredient of Compassion

Have you noticed the spring? 

The warming sun?

The longer days? 

The small buds on the trees?

Have you noticed an ease in not needing a heavy coat? 

And the softness in your shoulders, which no longer need to brace against the cold? 

This is the joy we feel after a long winter. It is hopeful and buoyant. This felt sense of joy is also a key ingredient of compassion.

I have been reading Boundless Heart : The Buddha’s Path of Kindness, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity by Christina Feldman.

“Joy gladdens our hearts; it eases the mind; it has the taste of delight and happiness … [it also] brings meaning and intimacy to the fabric of our lives. It is in moments of joy that we feel ourselves to be fully alive, vibrant and appreciative.” p.83

Compassion can feel like such heavy work. The realities of suffering always break open our hearts. And in suffering, gestures of gladness  become great offerings.

Joy is the way we live into our love for the world.

We can practice this joy by pausing for a moment in the busyness of our day to see and listen wholeheartedly.

Feldman offers us this practice: 

Bring mindfulness to a simple journey you make regularly. (to work, to do errands, to walking the dog). Commit yourself to be wholeheartedly present. Notice what ever is present, colors, shapes, the sunshine, the rain, the greening of the world. Allow yourself to be touched and gladdened by simple moments of loveliness.

Have you noticed the spring?

We are the Ones who Can Create a Compassionate World for all Beings.

For hours now, I have held these words in my heart as I listen to reports concerning the Russian attacks on Ukraine. My heart cries out as I hear that over 500,000 thousand children have fled their homes since the war happened. According to the United Nations more than one million civilians have fled Ukraine. Current Population of Ukraine 43,284,747 people.

How do we feel when we hear the words – “we are the ones,” when we are a world that we could say is precarious because of the presence of war in Ukraine. Or do the words “we are one” grip us and impel us to labor for compassion here, there and everywhere. Our focus is to remember whatever happens in our nation impacts the World Community and whatever happens in the World Community impacts us, for we are Sisters and Brothers. We Are One! Our call is to compassionate interconnectedness.

As I reflect on all of this, my heart moves with the yearning to fill my Local Community, Ukraine and the World Community with compassion. I remember years ago a practice I had of standing outside in open air breathing Peace into the world believing that Peace would travel worldwide. I hope that it did. Today I breathe Compassion hoping it travels to Ukraine and the World Community.

Reality brings me from the desire to travel the earth with compassion to continue to participate in the development of a compassionate community where I am, and to be motivated by compassion to take responsibility for the care of each other, always remembering Ukraine.

Being In The World

When we look beyond ourselves, when we read, when we travel, when we meet new people our hearts and our minds are transformed. 

I love to discover brave people doing interesting things. One person I discovered recently is Ursula.

In August 2018, Ursula ( One Woman Walks ) hitchhiked to Kiev. Then over the next three years she walked down to Bulgaria through Romania and west though Southern Europe. She picked up the Camino de Santiago in southern France and then she walked to Finisterre before crossing back through Spain and up to Britain, where she lives.

Ursula walks daily in her home of Wales. ( FB OneWomanWalks ) 

On February 22 she posted :

“On the way home I think about Ukraine.

I’m so sad about what’s happening. I’m writing about the country right now, the beauty and simplicity of the rural life I found there. A tough life that will be made more difficult. Maybe not in immediate local conflict but in the ramifications, the increased prices, the supply problems, the deaths of soldiers, the fear. 

Ukraine does not deserve this.”

This week, as I too have watched Russia invade Ukraine, I am gripped with the question, 

“What can I do?” 

In the Buddhist Dharma compassion has two parts.

The first, baring witness turns the heart and the mind towards suffering. 

During these last few days, I  have listened and I have read. 

I better understand how the conflict in Ukraine is intimately connected to global politics. It is about democracy. It is based on a campaign of mis-information. It is rooted in ego and greed. 

I feel the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia, and I know they are just like me. They wake up each day, wanting safety, wanting peace, wanting happiness for themselves and the people they love.

The second part of compassion is taking action. 

The world is full of people doing good  and brave things. 

People like Ursula, walking the world to know it. 

People like Sister Henrita dedicating her life to peace, justice and integrity. 

People like me, writing to make sense of it all. 

People like you ….

A Buddhist Prayer For Peace

All Buddhas, Bodhisattvas,

Protectors of the Dharma

And the Three Treasures,

With all sentient beings

We lift our hearts to transform

Ignorance, violence and suffering.

May healing and peace prevail

Throughout the dharma worlds.

Maha Prajna Paramita.

DEDICATION

We dedicate the merits of this prayer

To the flourishing of love in all countries

To the healing of the earth

To the peace of the world

To the wisdom of the people

To the compassion of our world leaders

And to the harmony of all beings.

Unicef USA 

Rescue.org

Catholic Relief Services

Thank you.

What are you being called to do?

In the first Becoming Compassion post of 2022, Sister Henrita calls us to,

Take some time and gaze on our neighborhoods, our nation, our Global Community. Center yourself and ask: What do you love doing? What gives you joy? What has meaning for you
What are you being called to Be and to do?

Gaze again on our neighborhoods, our nation, our Global Community. Center yourself and ask: What gives you fear? What disturbs you? What has meaning for you? What are you being called to Be and to do?

One person doing this is Simon Weller.  Simon is a Registered Nurse and Certified Music Practitioner. He offers the gift  of harp and flute music in hospital and hospice settings. He also offers this gift to The Christine Center.

Simon is connected to the Christine Center through participating in retreats and in his work with Sister Johanna.  He enjoys the Center’s openness and acceptance of a variety of spiritual viewpoints and paths.  He has deepened this connection recently by becoming a volunteer.

Over the past year Simon has consistently enjoyed the on-line daily meditations  the Christine Center offers. The meditations have helped him to find a place of peace, especially amidst the worldwide pandemic and political challenges.  While in conversation with Sister Johanna an idea sparked to offer some soft, soothing harp music as a supportive background to the meditation experience. Simon plays the harp the 2nd Wednesday of each month, during the evening meditation held at 5 pm. 

He finds joy in being on a path that recognizes acceptance and appreciation. Simon is sincerely honored to share this music as a gift.

An Invitation to Be Compassion

This post begins with remembering the ending of my previous post. Make a choice, practice love and compassion as pathways to walk together. Look to the right, look to the left and shout to each other: “Stand by Me!” “Stand by Me!” Our journey together will continue to be mysterious but possible, for our God is within us who inspires and accompanies us on a hopeful, blessed passage to peace. With abundant expectations together, let’s move forward and stand by each other, giving love, compassion and peace to our Earth Community.

Ripples of Hope, Love and Compassion

Many years ago, I heard former first lady, Michelle Obama say “I am tired of daily chaos.” She was in Miami giving a speech at a “WhenWeAllVote” rally. Michelle’s words resonated deeply with me. Daily a desire has been growing within me to transcend chaos’s hold on me, to free my soul and spirit. The world doesn’t need me preoccupied with chaos, but rather to overcome it with love and compassion. A new moment calls. There is a growing desire within me to move forward with ripples of hope, courage, compassion and so much more. I wonder what it means and where it will take me. Would you like to join together?

Daily chaos is not going to go away, but my daily encounter with it needs to change. I can sit for hours searching for the path to a peaceful world, knowing I can’t create it, but we can together with God as our companion. Let’s drop pebbles of compassion as we walk the way of hope for a future of love and compassion.

These words of Robert F. Kennedy, delivered over 50 years ago in Cape Town, South Africa live on, affirming the power of a tiny ripple of hope.

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history

is shaped each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot

of others or strikes out against injustice. He sends forth a tiny ripple of hope,

and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring,

those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall of

oppression and resistance.

Robert Kennedy’s words about the tiny ripple of hope, . . . “from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest wall of oppression and resistance” – energize me. They can spark the movement of our spirit from a fixation with chaos to one of centering on a spirit of peace and tranquility, as we persist with fidelity to walk the journey of hope, courage, love and compassion.

As we walk to the future remember:

Look to the right, look to the left and shout to each other: “Stand by Me!” “Stand by Me!”

“Integrity of Creation”

by Sara Neall

It is cold and bright. The snow is completely covering the ground.
During these January days the clearest light seems to meet the deepest stillness. 
And yet, not everything is still. 
The birds flutter at the feeder, like a miracle
the smallest among us, out and about in this depth of cold. 
In the days of this new year, I have been contemplating, 
“Guided by the values of the peace, justice and integrity of Creation.”
and I have been searching for the meaning of, “integrity of Creation.” 
I find these words hold so much beauty and so much possibility. 
I love that integrity means both, 
the quality of being honest and having ethics 
and 
the state of being whole and undivided. 
It is a word that holds both being and doing.  
It is a word that requires both embodiment and action. 

The values of peace, justice and integrity of Creation are the foundation of the mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. They are the foundation of this Being Compassion Blog and the foundation of The Christine Center’s, Our Circle of Compassion. They have also become my personal values. They describe a way of being in the world, to which I aspire. 

I follow the Buddhist path which is a path of being and doing. 
I look towards nature to see, to understand and to be part of Creation. 
For me, it is a sense of belonging to the natural world that enlivens my whole-ness.  
In this belonging to and of the world, I get glimpses of being undivided. 
I have moments when I see clearly that, what I do to the the world, I do to my own body. 
When I act in anger, or ignorance or fear, 
my body and the whole world are harmed.
Equally, when I act with compassion and understanding, 
my body and the whole world are loved. 

In Zen and The Art of Saving the Planet, Thich Nhat Hanh, the beloved Zen Master, makes it clear that,

“there’s one thing we all have the power to change, which can make all the difference, and that is our mind. Our way of looking, seeing and thinking determines every choice we make, the everyday actions we take or avoid and how we relate to those we love or oppose.”

The more I practice this path, 
the more clearly I see 
and 
the more important integrity becomes.

Being Compassion

by Sr. Henrita Frost

In my heart’s journey, Becoming Compassion has called me into the hope of Being Compassion.  A Being Compassion that beckons us to help alleviate the sufferings of not only our sisters and brothers, but of all creation.  We have just remembered the overwhelming grief of the Capitol Events of 2021.  The Capitol event and many others may remind us that – Compassion matters more than ever. 

Let’s take some time and gaze on our neighborhoods, our nation, our Global Community.  Center yourself and ask: What do you love doing? What gives you joy? What has meaning for you?  What are you being called to Be and to do?

Let’s gaze again upon our neighborhoods, our nation, our Global Community.  Center yourself and ask:  What gives you fear?  What disturbs you?  What has meaning for you?  What are you being called to Be and to do?

Now let us fire up and create a compassion transformation!  We wonder where to begin!  Start with self–transformation, growing a compassionate heart, one by one.  It is a challenge that doesn’t go away, though we sometimes try to avoid it.

The call is to stand up before our chaotic world – stand, meet the chaos, feel the chaos, let it touch our hearts, break our hearts – feel the excruciating pain.  Cry out in grief at the possible destruction of our planet, our home, and every creature.

Make a choice, practice love and compassion as pathways to walk together.  Look to the right, look to the left and shout to each other: “Stand by Me!” “Stand by Me!”  Our journey together will continue to be mysterious, but possible, for our God is within us who inspires and companions us on a hopeful, blessed passage to peace.   

The challenge I have received is to move forward, for a new being is evolving within me, with greater awareness of the presence of the Divine within – a transformed being, a Sacred Being.  With abundant expectation, I hope to move forward and stand by others, giving love, compassion and peace to our Earth Community.

“Treat others and the planet as you would like to be treated”
Visit: www.charterforcompassion.org