Today, I attended a lecture conducted by Susan Brock Wilkes, PhD about compassion at Healthy Mornings, a monthly lecture series I frequent. I slipped in a little late and by the time I got there, people in the room were volunteering stories of how compassion showed up in their lives.
She spoke about the benefits and how to cultivate it. Dr. Wilkes even shared a touching recording of a story about a man calming an autistic patient down in a emergency room by using the same technique he uses with his own son on the spectrum. The mother was so gracious and kind in her retelling, it was hard not to tear up as she recounted it. I saw I was not alone in my emotional response.
We talked about the love, the understanding and the vulnerability that it takes to give and receive compassion. Dr. Wilkes led an exercise which felt more like a meditation to gauge the physical response to compassionate thoughts.
Guided meditations generally fill me with anxiety. This time was no different but there was a moment where she had us focus on someone we love that was soothing. I could feel myself relax as my thoughts oscillated between my husband, my Mom and my nephew whom I knew I would be seeing within the hour.
Fridays are a now more of a free day for me and I relish the opportunity to sleep in as long as my body will allow. However, I know getting myself up early to meet a friend and become part of an experience exploring and celebrating the power of compassion makes a few lost hours completely worthwhile.