Spots of time
July 9, 2013 by
Categories: Coping, Personal

I’d like to share with you an excerpt from a book I am reading, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. In it, she shares an experience of hearing words from a superior that she was a good, valuable, person. Her superior at the time was suffering from the pains associated with cancer and was not expected to live much longer. She talks about how her superior, in spite of her pain, showed compassion by giving the gift of those words. The words that she heard had a significant impact on her life and she writes that when she is feeling down or overwhelmed, she thinks back on the experience and it gives her strength. She then shares these words by Wadsworth:

Image by ColinBroug

Image by ColinBroug

There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue, whence, depressed
By false opinion and contentious thought,
Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,
In trivial occupations, and the round
Of ordinary intercourse, our minds
Are nourished and invisibly repaired.

She then suggests we think of these spots of time in our lives. Times where someone showed us unconditional love, acceptance, or compassion that still have an impact on our lives today. I’m sure that we can all recall examples of the opposite: words that hurt us, demeaned us, tore us down. I just hope that for you, for all of us, those words and experiences do not become the defining point of our identity.

I think that it is also important to think of our interactions with others, as Armstrong suggests in her book. Are we providing the spot of time that others can think back on to derive strength? Or are our words a part of the burden that weighs others down?

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