WHAT MAKES A COMPASSIONATE CITY?
I believe compassion begins at the very root of ourselves, our inner being, our core. It begins by being kind to ourselves, taking care of our bodies and nourishing our spirits. A stable and happy individual is better able to serve others and be more compassionate.
I believe a compassionate city is one that is inclusive, warm, and welcoming. In our town, Fernandina Beach, Florida, we have brought people together through mutual understanding and respect. We have a playground that is not just handicap accessible, but built for special needs – so children of all abilities can play there. We have a group that plants flowers in the downtown area and cares for them year round. Another group plants vegetable gardens for people to help themselves. We have a homeless coalition that has created a space for those in need and special services like giving bikes to people so they have a means to get to work. We have people from many cultures and backgrounds here – people truly love one another, and we embrace our diversities.
I have given up my car, my apartment, and most of my possessions. By doing so I believe I have reduced my carbon footprint, thus showing compassion for the earth. I also don’t eat animal products, and I have convinced others to do the same. Our environment is suffering because of factory farms, in addition to the terrible suffering of the animals. We are all connected – everything that we do, that we consume, affects another being. Each living thing on earth is precious. As Walt Whitman wrote, “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars.”
~Karen Miller is a freelance writer and house sitter living in Fernandina Beach, Florida. When not working you’ll find her hiking on a trail, or eating ramen in the woods.
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