It is very seldom that I talk to people and not have at least one social issue topic come up. In addition to keeping up with all things lifestyle and entertainment here, I have always merely just been interested in how society works, which has led to, more importantly, how to initiate conversations with others on creating change in the areas of our world that are downright troubling — in my oh, so humble opinion, of course. Because so often the question of “what I do” comes up in introductory and basic conversation, it is extremely difficult to keep those topics of conversation that you’re not “supposed” to bring up — social issues, politics, sometimes religion — out of my chats with pretty much anyone I come into contact with.
I am a political-minded person. I always have been. Perhaps this is because I have never — not once in my entire life — been told that I am wasting my time thinking that I have the power to initiate and to contribute to change in the world. I have never been told that there are more important things I could be doing with my life other than blogging, letter- and email-writing, reaching out to my district’s Representative in Washington, and rooting my fellow activists on when they are petitioning and organizing marches and protests, and doing all they can do in the hopes for change that is long overdue in several aspects of our society. I have never been told that the beliefs I hold so strongly about the world and our society are a waste of time or effort.
I have, however, been told that I am wrong about my positions on many different issues. Several times, the underlying root of all of my strong-held beliefs have been “found out” and from them, I have been accused of being too politically correct and too compassionate. Too compassionate? I never — not in my wildest, most extreme frame of mind — have thought that could ever be seen as a bad trait.
You see, folks, I’m a feminist. A big one. A radical, sex-positive, fighting-for-equality, all-encompassing, people-loving feminist. I’m also a liberal, although I have been told that I am “too liberal” for even the mainstream liberals to handle. I let all of my stances on most all issues hang out shamelessly on my blog, Menstrual Poetry. It gets trolled a lot. During the 2008 presidential election, I received death threats. There are many, nameless people within the feminist blogosphere in all of its forms, and I suppose throughout the entire blogosphere, that strive to attempt to silence a group of people who muster all of their strength day in and day out to persevere through diligence and passion just to speak their own truth and to stand up and fight for the rights of people who are consistently seen as “less-than” by a large number of people within the walls of our society.
I know a little bit about being seen as “less-than,” and maybe that’s the reason why compassion has always come to me effortlessly. It was never something that I had to think about, nor have I ever had to muster compassion within myself to give to another, or ask myself if I was exhibiting compassion towards others at all. Compassion makes up a significantly large portion of who I am as a human being and is indeed the underlying root of most all of the causes and issues that I am passionate about. This is not to say that I am better, more knowledgeable, or have more heart than any other person out there. I am in no way above anyone else; I’m just coming from a different perspective here.
BlogCatalog is bringing the topic and act of compassion to the forefront of blog conversations today with their blogging event, International Day of Compassion in Honor of Dr. Patch Adams. This is a conversation I am very eager to have.
Dr. Patch Adams lives his life with compassion for others oozing out of his pores. This is admirable in any person, but when it comes to Dr. Patch Adams, he is truly a revolutionary; leading his fight with compassion leading the way to better lives for his patients and everyone and anyone who crosses his path.
In addition to being an American physician, Dr. Adams is also a social activist, a citizen diplomat, as well as an author. In 1971, he founded the Gesundheit! Institute where each year, he organizes a group of volunteers from around the world to travel to various countries dressed as clowns in order to bring humor to people, patients and orphans of those countries.
After learning more about Dr. Patch Adams, I can say that I deeply admire him, especially for his thoughts on the way health care in the US should work. He believes that the health care model should not be funded by insurance policies, which is something I wholeheartedly agree with on every level.
When it comes to most things in life, all we really have to look at as a moral compass and what we do in response to the people around us is look to our own life’s struggles and tribulations. Sure, during the holidays people throw a spare dollar or two into those synonymous-with-the-holidays red kettles either because they want that money to see the hands of someone who desperately needs it; or because it’s something that has been ingrained into their heads as something nice to do, or because they think it’s the “right” thing to do. But when you commit yourself to a cause and to changing the way people think about a certain issue, especially when you do this when it isn’t red kettle money-dropping season, most often, you are grabbing from your own life experiences in order to create the most lasting change for that person or group of people that you possibly can.
As for me, I’m passionate about a lot of things; most of which because I can see myself, my life, and the struggles I have been forced to persevere through in a lot of issues that need some serious reform due to the lack of compassion and justice in the world.
I see some of that same frame of mind in what Dr. Patch Adams has done throughout his life. As a result of being bullied in school, Patch Adams was suicidal as a teenager and was hospitalized three times in one year for wanting so badly to end his life. After these hospitalizations, he made the realization that “you don’t kill yourself; you make revolution,” and that is exactly what he has been doing ever since.
There is so much in our world that needs to be changed. It is possible; do not ever — not for a second — let anyone tell you that the world you envision living in isn’t possible, or that you don’t have the power within yourself to initiate or contribute to lasting change in the world. Take the lead of Dr. Patch Adams and other revolutionaries throughout history, and every time you get knocked down, stand up again and declare your truth louder each time.
Compassion is what contributes to the greatness of humanity; if more people were to look inside themselves and exhibit compassion in everything they do, we would see so much less suffering in the world. We would see the world in the way we have always envisioned it could be; with less struggling, less hunger, less homelessness, less ignorance, less sickness, less silencing; and with more love, more understanding, and more peace.
As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?
6 thoughts on “It’s Just Compassion, Folks”
I admire you. Your values are so clear. Your heart so open. It’s so evident from this post and the others I have read of yours. You’re an inspiration because it is those who need the most who receive the least. Yet like Patch you have not changed your values or backed down when things seemed bleakest. I love your point about looking inside. Isn’t that the truth? It is so easy yet for many so frightening because I believe they were told do not do this, or do not do that. They haven’t found their true self because they are too afraid to do what they were told not to. Yet deep inside everyone is that love and compassion and purity. There is the opportunity for a better world. A more humane world. People like you will lead the way. I’m honored to know you. Thank you for writing this and expressing from your heart.
Hi Holly, It’s been so fun to participate in this “Day of Compassion!” I admire your entry. Thanks for teaching me how to be “more compassionate” and thanks for all of your feminist writing. Keep it up!
Wow..very interesting topic Holli ! I was participated with BloggersUnite events and I admire you.
Am so glad I stumbled unto your other blog, Menstrual Poetry, which is how I got here. I totally resonate with your feminist and liberal leanings.
Keep it up!
I too am very glad that you found Woman Tribune, and Menstrual Poetry, for that matter. Thanks so much for reading, it’s always great when what you have to say and your outlook on the world resonates with others.
You have a clear stand point and although I do not know you personally, I must say I am very proud of you. Women empowerment must come from within and anyone (and I mean ANYONE) out there who does not believe in women empowerment is blinded by their own fears (of women).