It’s just my allergies….

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I have suffered with allergies since I was a child.  My sensitivities are mostly environmental so they are certainly manageable.  As a child I used to break out in hives when I ate strawberries but, I was as stubborn then as I am now so, I ate them anyway and eventually outgrew my reaction.

As I have matured into the person I am today, I am finding an increase in my hypersensitivity to certain things.  The environmental allergies still plague me year-round but I have discovered lately that a broad spectrum of human emotion, compassion and empathy is having a strange effect on my eyes.

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When I hear stories that touch my heart, the redness in my eyes is immediately evident.  There is a small bit of swelling in the upper and lower eyelids and I am guessing my body creates tears to cleanse my eyes of the allergens.  This “allergy” is becoming more and more prevalent.  What was once just a susceptibility to dust, mold, grass and trees now encompasses impassioned stories, movies, television shows and even commercials.  Seeing another human being cry is definitely the biggest trigger for this new onslaught of “allergic reactions” and once the tears are formed the next symptom of these “allergies” is a stuffed up nose.

I have battled allergies for years and these are the only ones I can say I actually don’t mind having.  I have given up wishing I could control these allergic reactions in public.  I’m sure seeing a few tears is easier for others to witness rather than a contorted face that looks uncomfortable and painful.

So, if you see me and it looks like I’ve been crying…..it’s just my allergies.

 

If I lived in Boston, I would say Buddha is ‘wicked smaht’

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I’m sure we can all recall the many times in our childhood we were told to treat people the way we would like to be treated.   Do unto others.  It made a great deal of sense, it still does, and made us all (hopefully) more socially responsible and more polite human beings.

But somewhere along the path of treating others with respect and courtesy we may have drained our personal well of kindness and empathy and saved very little compassion for ourselves.  We spend so much time worrying about how we treat others that we fail to treat ourselves with the same dignity that we would impart to a stranger.

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 It is instinctual to be concerned for others, to help those who need our help, but how often do we reflect on our own needs and drink from our own well of compassion?  We need our own help just as much as others may count on us for support.  There is a vast difference between wallowing in self-pity and allowing yourself a few moments to feel the pain of what is bothering you, to process it and to understand that giving yourself time to heal is, not just okay but, a necessity.

We need to do unto ourselves and give the same common courtesy to ourselves that we were taught to give others.  To do anything less would be a grave injustice. As Buddha so wisely says, it would make us incomplete.  Denying ourselves that level of self-compassion makes us unworthy of being able to understand the message behind the emotion and renders us unable to truly share the gift of empathy.

It is better to give than to receive.  But it is acceptable and necessary to give to ourselves as well as give to others.  Compassion is not something you can only share with those around you.  Compassion is meant to encompass everyone, including you.

 

Trauma in the wee hours

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As I do every morning, I awoke to the smiling face of my dog and we began our morning routine.  Coffee in my hand, we went outside and our first sight was a ravaged bag of garbage that a raccoon had left strewn about my entrance way.  This piqued Callaway’s interest and she was eager to get off the deck and chase the over-sized vermin to defend her territory.

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Within moments of being in the bushes her cry pierced the morning air and my heart began an incessant rapid beat that sent me into high alert.  I had assumed that the raccoon had performed some ninja moves and lacerated my dog’s face and I immediately threw on my running shoes and bounded off the deck, shovel in hand, ready to pummel the furry ninja with my weapon of choice.

I was ill-prepared for the gaping wound in her chest that was bleeding fairly profusely.  Callaway gingerly limped back to the deck and I noticed a 3/4 inch hole just above her left front leg.  She had run into a branch at top speed and the result had left her fairly immobile.  My First Aid training came flooding back and I applied pressure to stop the bleeding. After several calls to the answering service for the vet I created a makeshift bandage and lifted her 85 pound frame into the car for the hour-long journey to see the doctor.

The vet was remarkable.  He ushered her in immediately and assessed the wound.  Without being able to tell if the stick caused further damage, Dr. Jones made the time to examine her further and offered to keep her for the morning so they could stitch and dress the wound properly.  His colleague has also offered to have her as a passenger for the hour ride back to their local office where I can pick her up later.  It’s comforting to know that medical professionals have as much compassion and concern for my dog as I do.

I am back home now getting ready to go to work and am anxiously awaiting a call to find out the extent of the damage.  I miss her already but I know she is in good, caring hands and she will be home soon.