Thursday, May 19, 2011

Compassion

What do you do to feel better when you are down in the dumps? Do you know how to pull yourself back up?

I've given this a lot of thought lately as these last few weeks (okay, year, but last few weeks especially) have been difficult. There is a lot going on in my personal world that weighs heavy on me. Sunday was an especially difficult day. I was in a really bad place, exhausted and anxious and worried and frustrated with all the same things that have been going on forever and a pile of new things heaped on top of that.

I thought about what I could do to try to turn my mood around. I knew I couldn't control the external events in my life. But I could try to change my mood.  It occurred to me that the times I feel best are those times when I'm doing something for someone else. In that moment of giving to someone, there is only joy.

Sunday was also International Day of Compassion, a day set aside by Bloggers Unite to honor Dr. Patch Adams, who has dedicated his life giving to those in need. I had read an interview with him and watched a video where he and his team went into the heart of some of the worst, war-torn areas around the globe to treat the children who had been caught in the crossfire and bring a smile to their face. I decided to participate by putting up a post on Sunday, along with a group of other bloggers.

An idea started to form in my head. I called the kids over and told them that it was a special day set aside to do kind things for other people. I asked them if they could help me come up with some ideas of something the three of us could to together, that would make others feel better. We put on our thinking caps.

I suggested we visit a nursing home and bring some handmade gifts to the elderly residents, but the kids said they would feel too shy to approach people they didn't know. Danny suggested we go to Target and buy Legos, but I explained that while that would make him feel better, it wasn't really helping others. Finally, we came up with a plan we could all agree on.

We decided to write messages of love and hope on slips of paper and tie them to helium balloons and let them go. So we each chose some phrases to write down. I wrote down the sorts of things I would have liked for someone to tell me, right then, at that moment. Anna wrote, "You are kind" and Danny wrote, "I love you." We laminated them with tape and punched holes in the end. Then we got into the car to go buy the balloons.

Aaaaand the car wouldn't start.

Did I mention that after the accident the tailgate and one side door of the van wouldn't close properly so the interior lights stayed on all the time? It was still drivable. Sort of. Until the battery died.

The kids whined and moaned and rolled their eyes and I went inside and laid down on the bed and wept.


The next day a man came and towed the dead van away.

Today I bought some helium balloons and after I picked the kids up from school we went to a nearby park. We tied our messages to the balloons and one at a time, we made a wish that each balloon would reach the person who most needed the message it carried and we let it go and watched it fly high into the sky.










We cut the long ribbons off the balloons before letting them go and used only a short length to carry the message, as ribbon can be lethal if ingested by animals. We also used latex balloons, which are biodegradable.




So this is my post in honor of International Day of Compassion. It's a little late. I love so much what Dr. Adams and those like him do every day. They spend their lives giving. It is everything they do and everything they are. They must have so much joy in their hearts from all that giving. I can't imagine a better way to live.







27 comments:

  1. i am in love with this idea, kristin! I almost cried along with you when you said the car wouldn't start though...I think this is a fabulous thing to do for ALL concerned, a great gift for your kids, showing them how to be compassionate. This is my favorite post of the day!No, favorite post of the week!

    Gill xo

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  2. I love that despite whatever is happening in your life, you always stop to think of others.
    I hope those balloons reach the right person, and their day is made a little better knowing someone cares.
    Beautiful x

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  3. You guys are just divine. What a gorgeous idea. I think I would just about cry if I had one of those float down to me or more realistically if it popped on my head x

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  4. Who cares if it's a little late.
    This was lovely. Just lovely.

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  5. I love balloon messages. I've never sent any, but the idea is just so great.

    Get a copy of Dr Seuss book "Oh The Places You'll Go" and read it as a bedtime story to your kids and to yourself. Have the kids read it to you. It's a great book and helps with pulling yourself out of a slump, by putting positive thoughts into your head. You could discuss with your kids how the book makes them feel....

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  6. If anything beats positive thinking it's positive action. I like what you did with the kids - so life affirming. Now, all you need do is make every day special. Because they all are.

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  7. Lovely sentiment, but I hope no harm is done to wildlife with the balloons :( http://www.fourthcrossingwildlife.com/WhatGoesUp-LanceFerris.htm

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    1. Thats what I was thinking too... lovely sentiment, though helium balloons are causing massive chaos to wildlife... might need to try paper kites next time?

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  8. Kristin - what a wonderful idea. I might just steal it from you!
    My uncle is a cardiologist in Arizona and for a number of years now he spends 2 to 3 weeks a year in Vietnam training local medical staff and operating with his team, all free of charge and at his own expense.
    It is, he says, a small way of giving something back.
    Likewise another family friend who is a maxilla-facial surgeon and spends a couple of weeks a year in the South Pacific Islands.

    LCM x

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  9. I love this post, Kristin, I just love it. what a wonderful, beautiful idea. You've inspired me.

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  10. I love and adore that idea - and if ihad received one of those balloons with a sweet, hopeful, positive message it would definately have brightened my day!

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  11. Great idea!
    Going to remember it! :D

    On the other side of the coin. When I was very angry with a person, I wrote some of the bad stuff on a piece of toilet paper. I said "I forgive you!" and flushed it down the toilet! It worked wonders for my own sanity! :D

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  12. What a beautiful idea!
    I hope one of your balloons reaches me down here!

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  13. What a beautiful thing to do. Sorry that you have been so down though, hugs to you and hoping things turn around soon. xxx

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  14. Fucking van! Apart from that, I am in love with this post xx

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  15. What a fantastic idea. Great thoughts to share with the world.

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  16. Eveything little thing is gonna be alright. Am singing it, can you hear it?! Love you, K.xx

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  17. Everything will be alright? Tell that to the swan that choked trying to eat a popped balloon recently...

    ah - er....

    leg it!

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  18. Ah Kristin, good for you. When life is hard it can be so difficult to find positives and yet you do. You are amazing, you are strong and you are compassionate.

    Everything is going to be alright!
    Jenn

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  19. What a lovely thing to do! Very inspiring and creative. Glad to hear you're all ok after the accident :)

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  20. I'm going to buy some balloons. I need to do this. Struggling with my own demons and worries at the moment and your post hit me right between the eyes (in a good way!). Luv ya Vx

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  21. What a joyful and wonderful way to celebrate Patch Adams! You are simply a marvel. :)

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  22. Ark, you're so f'ing awesome I can't hardly type. I love this idea and I want you to take it global immediately. x

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  23. What a beautiful idea. I would love to see where those balloons end up!

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  24. Phonakins - the link you included shows the danger of releasing balloons released with plastic clips and long ribbons. Clips, obviously, are not biodegradable and long ribbons, as I stated, are dangerous to wildlife. In hindsight, we should have used raffia, instead of short lengths of ribbon, as raffia is completely biodegradable.

    Balloons should always be hand tied and fully inflated. If fully inflated and released right after they are filled, they will rise to a height of 5 miles and then burst.

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  25. Nice. I was a bit worried at first because of the whole 'balloons endangering wildlife' thing, but you had that covered. What a lovely idea, and I think they'll brighten someone's day.

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