Compassion is a Precious Resource

Its been on my heart, and may also be true for you.

Compassion is the deep caring for the pain of others, accompanied by a desire to help. It is most often expressed as an outpouring of emotional energy toward others yet compassion in terms of oneself is harder to find, especially at times when we are being overshadowed by inner critic, harsh judgment, fear or shame which often casts a long shadow.

Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed.

– The Buddha

Compassion is a gift we can give to ourselves, both as a means of authentic expression and to assist or act upon when called to respond. In times like these, when enormous and unexpected change can spark doubt, challenge can get the best of us. In times like these, compassion is a needed resource and companion.

Many of us experience being needed in ways that evoke a strong desire to assist, which includes “distance giving” for empaths. This can leave us feeling overextended, overwhelmed or used. Some who are working in helping fields are tremendously taxed with more work than can be managed, by the human self. The impact is physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion.

Complex experiences of compassion fatigue are common, especially for those of us in the vast and wide season of Midlife, where we may have poured out our energies serving roles and responsibilities, but find we are needing and seeking more space for our spirit and soul.

This breakdown can happen to any of us, when one is over-giving or overwrought. Oftentimes a desire that is established for right reasons, leads to ignoring the deeper needs of the self. This takes a toll. In addition to exhaustion, lack of self-compassion leads to feeling alone, burdened and neglected.

When we begin to identify, understand and develop a relationship with the underlying reasons for our pain and the patterns or life experiences, self-compassion can awaken and begin to rise. The feelings and behaviors that may cause distressing reaction and response habits can be deeply impacted and adjusted as we become aware. Calling in community and fostering connection also will shift awareness and open space to move into aligned relationships with self and other. Exploring compassion and utilizing creative depth approaches, can can help shift stories, align expectations and establish boundaries. This is all self-compassion in action.

We move into compassion for ourselves when we communicate with and unravel the fears and false beliefs that we have absorbed from our past and current experiences. This is powerful source of personal creative material when working with psycho-spiritual art forms. Within creative process you will often seek clues and express lived experience, uncovering areas that need tending. Then continue to explore the power of creative expression as a form of tending, loving, nurturing and connecting.


Where are you connecting?

How much compassionate space do you reserve for, or offer, yourself?

There are many occurrences and transitions that cycle, and require additional resources of compassion. Each is significant and the experiences are important, but many of us do not have the support to fully process the depths of our feelings. Art-making is a powerful tool of telling the deeper story and uncovering new insights that expand ability to cope and respond.

Let’s create with some of the prompts and see what comes:

  • If compassion is a part of self, figurative or animal imagery, who is compassion?
  • If compassion is an object, what is its shape and size…how does it travel or where does it live?
  • If compassion is a color, tone or shade, what is its expression?

Compassion is an invitation to express and experience kindness and care, it removes blocks and offers a throughway to restore balance and create space for wellness.

As you create or contemplate (musing is also an expression of artmaking) notice what opens the channel for seeing, and being.

Art as process is active and energetic…a simple mark or experience of image, line, color or word offers a potent way to explore the layers of life.

In the layers of life is always where compassion is active.


Working with compassion and its expression is both valuable and vulnerable.

Compassion taking on a distinctive shape, or story, offers an indication that you are ready to deepen healing or expand the space of expression and lived experience, Notice what is calling you toward compassion and where that is needed, you will likely find some new growth to nurture.

After years of experiencing compassion as suffering, I did not know how compassion could be extended to the self or others as an act of love. I made some creative space to explore the language of compassion and was interested in the idea of com-passion, as an expression of with-passion.

Compassion, rather than suffering with, is something I hold now as  Love With Passion…it includes offering and receiving nurturance, kindness, tending, caring, boundaries, truth-telling, acknowledging and honoring the pain/range of human experiences. It also holds the intentional heart of healing, recognizing potential, growth, transformation and possibility that can forge through the hardest lived experiences to shine light into life.

I’d love to know more of your experiences and where you are making space to extend the language of love, kindness and care…