WHAT MAKES A COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY?
Eye wide open and caring, are the first two steps to feed compassion where we live. With an understanding that I, as one person, cannot possibly bring well-being to all of those who hunger — those who hunger for love, shelter or peace — I do understand that each action and smile that I make within a day creates a difference.
And this is where compassion within our communities begins. A day that ignites with the intention to illuminate sparks of light that follows our footsteps, compassion becomes the inevitable result.
Two key words are employed in the effort to bring compassion to the community: observe and listen.
Observe the needs and challenges. How can we address those needs and conquer the challenges? The recent California drought created severe water issues for my small community, compounded by a forest ripe for disaster. It remains incumbent upon every resident to grow in mindfulness of how we use water and how to react in the face of disaster.
That requires the second key word, listen. To listen without judgement to another’s point of view as a community that faces a growing list of frustrations and concern for the basic element of living — our environment — can best resolve the challenge at hand.
Positive change is ours when we seek our interconnectedness within our communities. How unmerciful would life be if we were all mirror images of each other? It is the differences, like a balanced blend of spices and herbs added to a soup, that creates the delectability of being human.
A compassionate community can be measured by the care of the environment that is a part of that community. The care of our environment reflects how we care for our inner environment. When we forget our connection to our water, our plants and animals, and the air we breathe, we have lost the very first steps to maintaining a compassionate community.
Every community experiences change. For my community, the change is in how we use water. For other communities the change can include a differing population, incoming jobs/outsourced jobs, housing, cost of living, or an environmental disaster. If we employ care, keep our eyes wide open and understand that we are all on this ride together, then creating a compassionate community has begun. It will spread. My smile made you smile. Your smile made a child smile. The child’s smile brought smiles to 10 more people, and so on. At this point we begin to work together to feed humanity’s hunger for love, shelter and peace.
~Charmaine Coimbra, a lifelong community volunteer, currently writes a monthly column for the local newspaper about volunteerism. Daily, she writes and edits The Daily Prism — a blog about the good that occurs daily. It receives thousands of views per month. Her current volunteering environmental effort is to raise funds for Pacific Wildlife Care, a San Luis Obispo county-wide wildlife rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit. She recently completed a book of contemplations about interconnecting with nature, “Connection — A Book of 48 Natural Contemplations.”
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