Inspiring Stuff, Radical Self Love, Travel

What it means to be human, a lesson in compassion.

We are Humans, all of us.

Humanity, as defined by Merriam Webster:

A noun; plural: humanities.

  • All human beings collectively; the human race; humankind.
  • The quality or condition of being human; human nature.
  • The quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence.

We aren’t so different.

I’m currently traveling through Asia, right? It’s beautiful, magical, mystical, healing, and very other-worldly. It’s surrounded by a slight air of mystery – simply because it is so radically different.

When you see pictures of “Asia” they often include rice or tea farms, people carrying baskets on their shoulders, and a never-ending horizon of street food vendors and markets.

These photos are exotic. Unknown.  They might evoke a sense of primitivism in viewers from cultures like the US, the UK, and other parts of the world that are heavily technology-oriented and ‘progressive’. It can seem like an ‘old-world’ destination where the people are not as developed.

Primitivism can insinuate: more dangerous or violent, potentially more corrupt, unhealthy, or possibly savage-like. I was culture-freakin-shocked at the attitude toward animals when I arrived in Thailand, and was thinking to myself “How is this not a big deal to you guys?! How can you just ignore that three-legged, starving cat over there who is obviously nursing?!”

These extreme differences in lifestyle and values can make it hard to relate or connect. Looking through the glass, you might not be able to see yourself in the people of that culture.

Today, my friend Bev and I are going to teach you how to recognize yourself in anybody.

When I was traveling to Burning Man on the Cobrabus, I met a wonderful and bright soul named Beverly. Bev is one seriously multi-talented and inspiring gal who loves to give and share. Not only did she share her home on the Cobrabus with us, but in Burning Man spirit, she gifted all the riders an amazing tool.

This tool has improved my quality of life dramatically. It has been a wonderful gift. Today, we’re going to share it with you.

What’s the gift? Is it free?!

Yes, it’s free! Not only that, but you will become [emotionally] richer every time you use it.

You can do it anywhere there are other humans (I’ve also done it on animals, they have feelings too!). Here it is:

Compassion Exercise

Excerpted from a book called, ReSurfacing®: Techniques for Exploring Consciousness by Harry Palmer.

Bev gave us each business sized cards with this exercise printed on it. I began to pull my card out on the playa, buses, trains, restaurants, my office…anywhere I was that was public or anytime I wanted to feel good.

Funny story: I was sitting on the Tram at the LA airport and this kid and his mom keep staring at me. Okay, maybe it’s the dreads? Do I have something on my face? Did someone tape a “fuck you” sign on my back? Eventually, I take a long, hard look instead of trying to get a side-eye squint. Low and behold, the kid is holding a compassion exercise card and was doing it on me! This was just extra reassurance that this tool is one of great value.

Since receiving my compassion card, I have found myself being much more understanding of, and patient with, my fellow humans. There is a lot less anger in my life! I used to see parents on the CTA who were being a little rough with their kids, and I would think “What a horrible parent!”.

With the compassion exercise, I managed to take off my judging pants. Now I think “Just like me, this person is …”. It brings me a lot of peace. While traveling, I’ve struggled with the ignorance and behavior of other travelers, and by showing some compassion, I’m managing to handle it much better.

What made me want to write a post about this?

Other than the fact that it’s a wonderful exercise that has literally no negative side effects? Alright, here we go, the kicker: I’ve encountered an almost unbelievable amount of ignorance regarding Asian people. 

To be blunt: just because they aren’t white doesn’t mean they’re savages.

I had this post in draft before my near-miss with kidnappers in Vietnam, and after that incident I considered throwing this post into the trash bin. After a few days of thinking hard about my feelings and where I now stand, I still want to bring this message to all of you.

Today, together, we are going to break that ignorance down like the Berlin wall!

Yeah, the cuisine is a little strange – shark fin soup, fried dogs laid out next to the chickens, and shrimp that have whiskers and legs. It’s true – you can’t drink the water from the tap; even the locals drink bottled water. Sure, I’m eating food that was served out of a cart with geckos and cobwebs stuck to the sides rather than sitting somewhere with a tablecloth and a waitress. I was initially very angry at the fact that animals are not regarded highly here – but then I realized it is not my place to judge, or try to and force change. There is nothing wrong with it. It simply IS.

Just because the beliefs and actions are different does not mean the feelings are.

Humans are humans. We all have needs, fears, goals, desires and hardship. Even in poorer, “more primitive” countries.

I reached out to Bev and asked her to help me with this post. While I’m a regular practitioner of the compassion exercise, she is truly the expert. I really want to drive this home with you guys. I asked her to share how she initially discovered the exercise, what she gets out of it, and why she continues to share it with others.

Between the two of us, I hope we can inspire you to begin using the compassion exercise yourself on a regular basis, and reap the benefits of relating to your fellow humans a bit more. Yes, even that horrible lady in the grocery line slowing everything down, the ‘terrible parent’, or the slow idiot driver.

Bev, take it away girl!

Thank you, Zoom! I initially discovered the Avatar® Compassion Exercise in a workbook while taking the Avatar Course for my own personal development, but did not grasp its power until I started teaching the course, and handing out these lovely cards. In October of 2009, the creator of the Avatar tools, Harry Palmer, unveiled the Avatar Compassion Project, which aimed to get these new,  colorful, “Compassion Cards” into the hands of one million people within a year.  Since then, the cards have been printed in more than 20 languages, and have been passed out in 72 different countries. We are fast approaching TEN million cards being out there! Can you imagine the net level of compassion in the world increasing every year because of a project like this? I can. There’s a tipping point out there, and the world could reach it at any moment!

Due to my work and my lifestyle, I frequent airports and festivals where I am surrounded by crowds of people. By doing this exercise on airport staff, I become more patient about standing for long periods, and have a smile for them by time I get to the front of the line. By doing this on others in a crowd, I become less self-conscious, and am able to meet strangers’ eyes with warmth, acceptance, and even an eagerness to connect and to know more about them. By giving a card to someone and inviting them to use the exercise, I immediately create a bridge between us that transcends any differences in our upbringing, ethnicity, education, or belief systems. It’s a wonderful way to bypass the struggle to find common ground through small talk, and simply connect heart to heart for a few moments.

I’ve received countless stories from friends to whom I’ve given a card, about how it made all the difference for handling  a difficult situation, or helped them to see someone with whom they were struggling in a different and softer light. If you visit the Compassion section of the website Avatar Results, you can read letters from people all over the world who’ve shared their experiences of using and sharing the Compassion Exercise. As powerful as this exercise is, though, it is just one example of the dozens of tools available in the Avatar Course, all of which are designed to increase a person’s levels of personal responsibility, compassion, and service to others.

If you would like to obtain your own Compassion Card to carry, I invite you to send off for a free sample, or purchase a pack of 50, by visiting the links at the bottom of the Avatar Compassion Project page. And if any of you wind up with a story to tell about using the Compassion Card, please come back here and share it in the comments!

Isn’t that wonderful information?! I’m now thinking about getting some of the cards in different languages to hang out while I’m traveling… Thanks Bev for helping me out with this! <3 <3

If you’d like to learn more about Beverly, contact her, or learn more about other Avatar resources, you can visit her website here: Way Of Avatar.

Homework: Practice your compassion

I hope that Bev and I have been able to show you the value in performing this compassion exercise – not just for yourself, but for others as well. When you’re nicer to those around you, they benefit too!

Your homework for this article (ha! thought you’d escaped from homework after school, eh?) is to acquire a compassion card and practice, practice, practice! If you don’t have a lot of money, want to get started right away etc. I encourage you to memorize the exercise so that if you lose your card like I did, you can still do it!

If you find that the exercise moves you as it has Beverly and I, tell your friends. Share it on social media. Give out compassion cards. Help us spread the word! Why not?

Just like me….we are all one.

If you have a success story or anything you’d like to share with Beverly and I regarding your experience with the compassion exercise, we would love to hear it in the comments!

xoxo <3

Avatar® and ReSurfacing® are registered trademarks of Star’s Edge, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

  • Reply

    Lauren

    June 7, 2016

    Ordered my box of cards! Thanks for sharing this exercise.

    • Reply

      Zoom

      June 8, 2016

      Yay Lauren!!! I love this exercise – it’s so fulfilling to me personally & it benefits so many others! So proud to call you my friend ❤️

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