Conversations with Compassion

Conversations with Compassion


Compassion has been dancing around me lately, asking to be revered, asking to be appreciated more, and asking to be brought into the board room.

She kept trying to explain to me that she is the medicine that everyone needs.

And I kept telling her, “I know but they are angry right now. They don’t have space in their heart for you.”

But she kept on twirling on her toes, circling around me, sweetly embracing me with her soft energy.

Sometimes, she would smile from afar and sometimes she would come right up to my face and fiercely declare that it’s time to make space.

It has become clear to me that the medicine I must drink is hers. And it’s become even clearer to me that the medicine the collective must drink is hers.

After 2 months of us braiding each other’s hair while sipping everything from tea to tequila, I’ve decided it’s time I share the contents of our conversation:

(Oh wait, I left out the part where we also wailed and snotted and hugged together. Because duh. That’s how friendship works.)

During our late nights, she would acknowledge the deep pain and anger of everyone who has been a victim of oppressive systems. A lot of light is being shed on all the systems that are no longer working. It’s tempting for us to run around and celebrate that finally the veil has been lifted! Oppressors are getting burnt down. Tides are turning. You can no longer get away with what you used to – whether it’s white fragility or whipping your penis out to unwilling colleagues.

And thank god for that.

Art by Helena Nelson Reed














Because the rage we are feeling bubbling with each incident is the fuel to the fire. The fire of change.

But rage without compassion is like lighting a fire in your backyard outside of the fire pit. If fire isn’t contained, it’s gonna burn it all down. Even the treehouse you spent an entire summer building.

And what’s happening with us is the same. We are not bringing compassion into the conversation enough. Instead, we are letting rage take up the entire spotlight.

It’s not getting us anywhere. As a collective, we are looping.

During our late nights, compassion shared with me that she is the alchemizer of rage, the wizardress of change and the champion of love.

As a society, we have been sick and in denial. And right now, we are finally peeling back our costume and airing out the wounds that have been festering and blistering and need serious care.

But instead of getting the salve we need to soothe the wounds, we are picking at them and looping in the internal dialogue of “we should have had this looked at sooner” and “this wound was because of that incident”.

We are pointing fingers, instead of doing it differently.
Instead of just loving our sick body and giving it the care and compassion it needs.
Instead of trying to understand what is going on inside our body that is causing these lesions.

Through the lens of holistic health, we diagnose the root of the issue, not the external symptoms.

Compassion told me this:

Louis CK is not the problem. Trump is not the problem. The men still performing honor killings and FGM and acid attacks are not the problem. These people do not do what they do because they are inherently evil. I do not believe in evil people, said compassion.

I believe in an evil system. A system that stops us from being able to recognize the human in each other.

Yes, we could have all done things differently. But we didn’t. That’s just the truth.

So, being here, right now, we can continue to look backwards at what could’ve and what should’ve or we can forgive ourselves, forgive others and compassionately build a new way, a new world. We can continue to play into the dynamics of a system that has us dehumanize our oppressors. We can. Or we can call on compassion and try it a different way – and completely override the system.

The prescription is more love. 

Now before you get super angry with me, because I know this will bring up feelings, I want to remind you that I am speaking about this as a mixed race woman who has been sexually-harassed and molested COUNTLESS times. I know RAGE. I know PAIN. I know POWERLESSNESS.

But the real way we’re going to get that power back isn’t by doing the same thing they did on to us – dehumanize us. It is by standing in love.

Let’s create a world where we ask what did you need that you didn’t get? What do you need to feel loved so you don’t behave this way? How can I help? What do we need to do to create a more loving and supportive system for all oppressed minorities whether my indigenous sisters and brothers, my LGBTQ+ friends, women of color, or anyone who has been oppressed by the patriarchy/white supremacy/religious systems/authoritarian regimes.

In embodiment work, I try to get my clients to a place where they can embody as many opposing emotions at the same time. How can you feel sadness and joy in your body at the same time? How can you dance with rage and openness both? How can you embrace chaos while standing in your sovereignty?

To me, this is mastery of our emotions and our bodies. It is range. Embodied Range.

So my question to you is:

How can we take the next few steps in humanity from an embodied place? A place where we make space to honor BOTH our righteous rage AND our capacity for compassion. How can we allow them to equally pulsate through our veins?