Thursday, May 26, 2011

Living A Life Of Compassion by Diane Mueller

How much thought do you put into your day-to-day actions? Do you go around preaching human kindness to others, while acting in a completely different manner in your personal life? Most people consider their choice of words greatly when dealing with others, but fail to use the same diligence with their body language and actions in their daily lives. Make sure you’re thoughtful and genuine with your words and your actions. Always remember, words can uplift, heal, and empower, just as words can knock down, belittle, and destroy. The same goes for your actions. Your actions speak with the same volume as your words, and in some cases, your actions are stronger than your words. It’s one thing to say, “Be kind to others,” but your words will be much more impactful if you are continually observed in public being kind to others, being honest, and lending a helping hand. Human beings have an incredible capacity for compassion and empathy, live your life in a compassionate way and you will discover a newfound happiness that you never knew existed. Empowering others is a much more satisfying way to live, than wasting your time and effort looking for ways to crush the dreams of those around you. You will never regret lending a helping hand to aid a friend who has fallen, but I can guarantee, one day you will regret turning your back on a friend when they needed you the most. Allow your compassion to show through and your life will shine a light so radiant that you will inspire all those around you, as well as many people you may never get the privilege of knowing. You never know how many lives your inspiration will impact.

A perfect example of human kindness comes from a wonderfully, inspirational story from the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain. The story centers on a sprinter from Great Britain, Derek Redmond, and his father, Jim. Derek was primed to bring home a medal in the 400m at these Games, despite his long history of injuries; he had 8 Achilles tendon surgeries previous to these Olympic Games. Overcoming these obstacles, Derek went into the Games feeling as if he were in the best shape of his life. It bears mention that Derek and his father, had a very close and loving relationship. Naturally, his father was in the stands on this day, as he was at every championship race, to support his son and help cheer him on to victory. It was during the 400m semifinal race, when “tragedy” struck Derek. Brimming with confidence, Derek commenced this race at a strong, powerful pace. Then as he was rounding the first turn, he heard a pop and felt excruciating pain shoot through his left leg. He had torn his left hamstring. Derek collapsed to the ground in agony. His dreams of Olympic glory had crashed along with him. But rather than wallow in self pity, a fire of pride ignited inside him and he managed to get to his feet, and he began walking, or rather hopping, around the track, determined to finish what he had begun. Olympic officials and physicians rushed to his aide, but he waved them off, determined to finish this race under his own power. He continued to decline assistance from the officials, when suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. As Derek turned to see who was there, he saw the loving eyes of his father, who had rushed the crowd as soon as h¬¬¬e saw his son collapse, and hurried to be by his side. Jim’s intention was to comfort Derek and convince him to accept the aide of the race officials, but once he saw the pride and determination in Derek’s eyes, he knew it would be devastating to force him to withdraw. Rather than crush the remainder of his son’s dream, he chose to embrace his son’s resolve, and help him complete the race. They walked the remainder of the course together. Derek’s goal changed in a heartbeat that day. He went from aspiring to win the semi-finals and earning a medal in the men’s finals, to merely completing the course. Jim also had a choice that day. He could have imposed his own will upon his son and convinced him to allow the race officials remove him from the track on a stretcher, forever relegating his Olympic experience as a “did not finish” statistic; or, he could empower his son to inspire every person who ever watched this miraculous finish. There wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as the two of them crossed the finish line together, and the bond between this father and this son will never be destroyed, because of this act of unselfish love.

On this day, Jim Redmond epitomized what it means to live a life of compassion. He showed the world with his actions, that he loves and supports his son no matter what. And that is what we are all called to do. As parents or as friends, we are called to show one another that we are there to pick up the pieces of broken dreams, and lead each other to bigger and better goals. Failure is never final; it’s simply a stepping stone to new and greater dreams.

Until next time; Live, Love and Empower!!

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