Dr. Ken Larsen
I recently saw a post on Facebook suggesting an unpopular response to the senseless acts of violence that punch their way into our world. The clamor of “someone should do something”, can be turned into “what can I do?”
When we see someone alone and friendless, what can we do to reach out with kindness and compassion? Neil Diamond’s lament seems relevant to the loneliness and isolation experienced by so many in our world today.
“I am, I said
To no one there
And no one heard at all
Not even the chair.
I am, I cried
I am, said I
And I am lost, and I can’t even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still.” *
I think many of us can recognize the emptiness expressed in these words because we’ve felt it ourselves. I know I have. Finding our way to mental health and happiness is enhanced when we find a way to reach out to the other when we see this loneliness. This requires us to look at the misery in our fellow humans rather than look away. And then, once seen, we can respond with something as simple as a smile, a kind word…anything that gives the other the gift and experience of being seen with kindness rather than indifference.
By Dr. Nancy Buck
My life was falling apart. My husband of 24 years left, saying he wasn’t sure he wanted to be married to me anymore. He needed time on his own to figures things out. My twin sons had left for college. The family dog ran away.
I was alone in our home, but there was no more “our” or “we.” Was there even a home anymore?
I didn’t know what to do. Crying didn’t help. Talking with my sisters and friends gave me only temporary relief.
Day after heart breaking day, the sadness, isolation, failure and oppression was unbearable.
My lifeline, it turned out, was my journal. Every morning I wrote my three morning pages. Every evening I listed five things I was grateful for. Most days my gratitudes consisted of:
1. I am breathing in
2. I am breathing out
3. I am breathing in
4. I am breathing out
5. I am breathing in and out
The lessons I learned during that time were many. The most important lesson was to keep breathing no matter what.
You never know what might happen next, what internal strength will be discovered, and what gifts will be revealed in the next moment.
And if you don’t keep breathing you never will know.
So keep breathing, in and out, in and out, in and out.