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Charity begins... Monday May 18, 2015

For me Charity Begins where your heart is moved. Many of you know my theological background, and will know that what I say next is because of my fascination with wisdom literature rather than any religious intent...

I am deeply touched by the way my hero, Jesus, in the New Testament, is "moved by compassion" when triggered by the sight of an individual's personal grief or the need of the vast multitudes. If was Jesus, I would be totally overwhelmed by the scale of the needs on Earth. Interestingly, He addressed the present and presenting need - what He saw, what was before Him. In fact, after giving out, He would often withdraw alone to recharge. That, for me as an Introvert, is fascinating too.

I've shared someone else's poster on facebook recently because it captured my imagination. It says, "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few mintues, including you!" [Anne Lamotte]

Weaving these two threads together, I have my recipe for compassion:

1 Address the opportunity that presents itself (and let go of the rest of the World's problems for now).
2. Remember that charity begins at home - closer to home than most people realise - with you! You must recharge before giving out, and after giving out, or else you will give out!!

Would it be better not to be compassionate? I hear people saying, "Isn't Nature wonderful?" but I see very little compassion in Nature. There are strong parental bonds, to be sure, but very little compassion outside close family groups of animals. Humans have risen to something higher (and horses, dogs and dolphins... do add to the list!) We can choose to help other species and one another, even when there is nothing in this for us. That, for me, is the meaning of life. Yes, we do well to be compassionate alongside making sure we have the resources to continue to be so.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 6:49am

Hi Lex - thanks for a very insightful blog. I wrote a blog on the Compassinate mind . The subject is dealt with in incredible detail by prof Paul Gilbert leading authority on depression in a book of the same name. Be warned its at least 450 pages long but very readable I might add having ploughed through it. Compassion is in all of us- it just needs to be nurtured. And Natue my appear to have no compassion at all but it's off springs do! To your list I would add the primates and the elephant.

wacky Wendy Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 7:48am

I find my phone Tec recharge well if plugged in over night but I seem to need longer so plan 2 half days a week to plug myself in and in order to get maximum power I need to unplug everything else

Mary Blackhurst Hill Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 8:24am

Wise words indeed, my friend. Stephen Covey, in his Seven Habits book writes about our circles of concern and influence. The circle of influence lies within our circle of concern and is very much smaller, but it is the only one about which we can do anything about. That's the one we need to be at work in proactively (and charitably). We can do something about the beggar on the street in front of us, the food bank run by our local church, about our neighbour who has broken her leg and who could do with a helping hand. While we may be concerned about the people of Ramadi in Iraq, we mostly likely can do nothing but hold them in our prayers. (And very valuable that is too - but doesn't let us off the hook practically). I also love your point about recharging! Hey - Jesus is an introvert too!!!

Anonymous Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 9:20am

100% agree. Unplug required! I'm utterly exhausted all of the time even though I am sleeping well. I need to adopt more unplugging as a rule. Love from the room above the garage x.

Sally Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 9:56am

Lovely blog Lex, thanks for your wise reminder of how to keep things in perspective and our lives in better balance.

The Entertrainer Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 12:44pm

You're welcome, Sally... now to take my own advice!

The Entertrainer Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 12:46pm

Feel like that today, RATG. It's been a great day so far but was WIDE awake at 2am. Now I'm paying! Time to unplug after the next two meetings!

The Entertrainer Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 12:47pm

"Blessed are the Introverts, for they shall find inner peace!"??? ;0)

The Entertrainer Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 12:49pm

It just works, doesn't it, Wacky Wendy - give ourselves permission to unplug and all manner of new resources can open up before us.

The Entertrainer Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 12:50pm

Happy to end up with a long list of animals, Hopeful One!

Anonymous Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 1:59pm

Hi Lex, great to read something so positive first thing in the morning. I have an elderly aunt, constantly compassionate, who is an enabler and a carer. I am always telling her that she won't be any good to anyone else if she doesn't look after herself first. She might get the 'unplugged' idea more clearly so i'll send her your beautiful blog (from your beautiful mind, i must say). Thank you. susan xx

The Entertrainer Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 3:26pm

That's a beautiful compliment, thank you Susan xx

Sounds like your lovely aunt is a fully-paid-up-member of the-burnt-toast-club. These are those wonderful souls that, if the toast is burnt, eat it themselves and make a fresh batch for others. It's lovely, noble, praiseworthy, but ultimately unsustainable.

Anonymous Mon, May 18th 2015 @ 6:23pm

The burnt toast club...that's brilliant. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Tue, May 19th 2015 @ 7:22am

The burnt toast club, how apt for my poor dear mother. She was the Polyanna of her era, and would always eat the burnt bit/ broken bit/ leftovers/ etc, claiming to like it that way. So unassuming, but ultimately so unsustainable as you rightly say Lex. Even at the end of her life she put a brave face on her cancer, always stating she was "fine"...... The negative side of such a brave soul, so giving , is that we children have inherited her core values.....of being unworthy of the best. Don't know if I've expressed that clearly enough...but shall I add that she is a hard act to follow, and why indeed should you always put yourself last in the pecking order? A salutary lesson learnt over 55 years.....

Julia Tue, May 19th 2015 @ 8:41am

A late hello Lex. I unplugged yesterday and today feel better. I read your blog feeling very tired from a bad night and not feeling like going ahead with what was planned for the day. Luckily the plans were changed for me because of the weather and after meeting with my 2 good friends for a long coffee, I remembered your words and took it easy in the afternoon. I was feeling guilty for not being productive post 2pm but suddenly remembered the word, unplug. Hope you are feeling better today too Lex.

The Entertrainer Tue, May 19th 2015 @ 10:53am

I think it'll be my new Mantra for awhile...
"And Un-plug..."

The Entertrainer Tue, May 19th 2015 @ 10:57am

Now, I'm excited... only one year to go before I learn the lesson myself!!!
Thanks for the emotive reminder of your dear mother. She's an example to us all, and we don't have to take on the whole package. "Unworthy of the best" can be left behind (after all, I've just had local made sausages in a Rioja Sauce that I made... for Breakfast!) but we can embrace her loving givingness. In fact there's an old-fashioned word for it that I really adore: loving-kindness.

Julia Tue, May 19th 2015 @ 11:35am

Or Loving Spoonful. I'm singing!

Anonymous Tue, May 19th 2015 @ 8:07pm

Excellent post! Oh how hard to unplug though! Especially when emerging from a depression and you want to make up for living in black and white slow motion for 3months. Great reminders, thank you! Suzy

The Entertrainer Wed, May 20th 2015 @ 5:16am

Hi Suzy
There's some genius in your description in terms of 'modalities' - the bw and s-l-o-w motion... perhaps, for you, it'll more a question of choosing the buttons you'll push on your personal remote control... you've inspired me!

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