Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Compassion is actually quite a radical practice and something that I have been thinking of quite often recently. I don't believe compassion is innate to us - it's something that must be practiced. The word compassion actually stems from the Latin word "compati" which means to "suffer with". For the majority of us, suffering is something we usually try to avoid. Suffering isn't always easy to be with, but it is an inevitable and unavoidable part of the human experience. When someone offers us compassion in a moment of suffering they temporarily share the load of that suffering so that we don't have to bear the burden alone. I witnessed a beautiful example of compassion earlier this week, when my Godmother's husband suddenly passed. She and my mother have been best friends for 50 years, and as my mom told me the news she started to tear up she told me the part that hurt her the most, was knowing how much her friend was hurting. My mother did not shy away from this hurt - not hers, or her friends. In fact, despite the suffering they both felt, she packed her bags and went to go and stay with her best friend, who was devastated by her beloved's passing. She drove through the snow to be with her (and this is particularly wild because my mother will not drive in snowy conditions for any reason I can even think of.) Even though she could not repair the situation, or reduce my Godmother's suffering, rather than turn away from the hurt, she turned directly into it, to bear the storm of suffering with her friend. That is true compassion. --
I want to share a compassion project that is near and dear to my heart as well. Connally McDougall is a local inclusive sustainable clothing brand that has been sewing Compassion Toques for folks living on the Downtown Eastside for the past few years, this is particularly important as the weather has turned quite cold in the Northern Hemisphere, and temperatures are not expected to rise any time soon. With so many living without adequate or consistent shelter during this season, folks are in need of warm clothing to avoid hypothermia.
For every toque purchased, another is donated & distributed to folks in urgent need in the DTES (Downtown Eastside) of Vancouver.
Last year, they were able to give out over 175 Compassion Toques in care kits containing other essentials & comfort items to the community
Now I just adore this project but unfortunately, I have natural Black kinky hair, which means I couldn't fit the toque over my hair!
Connally, with her benevolent heart, has created an alternative, a Compassion Headband to keep my ears warm, that could still fit around my hair.
What's more, she named the headband after me, for the work I do in the community, and I am both humbled and deeply honoured to have the work I do recognized in this way.
As a special thank you to everyone who purchases a toque or headband I'm offering a free compassion meditation, to help folks in the community continue to cultivate the compassion necessary to transform our homes, relationships, neighbourhoods, and the world. Please feel free to stream it below. Warmest wishes to all,