Learning Compassion

Jan 3 / Audre Rickard
2022 has begun. A lot of things bubble up for me whenever a new year begins. There’s a sense of hopefulness, skepticism, delight, fear, and numbness. They are felt in my current experience, but they do not define who I am or who I am made to be. When I investigate their edges, they become invitations to grow in greater awareness. They beckon me to live fully and freely.

The freedom to investigate with compassion the scary and uncomfortable places within myself is something I have learned with practice. The work involves leaning into discovering what is. The ongoing work invites me to do so with an ever-increasing amount of compassion.

Three years ago, I experienced a time where my value and belief systems were no longer working. In fact, they were holding me captive and were more harmful than helpful. It was a shit storm of sorts. It felt like the landscape of my life was collapsing upon itself. And for all intents and purposes, it was. It was two years after my divorce, and I was reconstructing what my life would look like as a single mother. I felt defeated and was despairing because my old patterns of navigating hard things wasn’t working under the circumstances.

Deconstruction was knocking and I was trying to hold the door closed for fear of what would happen. I was convinced that the side of the door I was on was the only pathway to freedom. I just needed to try harder. It was obvious I was on a hamster wheel to nowhere, but I felt like I was doing all the right things. As I am sure the hamster has that sense too, the wheel keeps turning, the energy is spent, and it gets off satisfied knowing it can get back on when it needs. Unlike the hamster, my striving to keep the door closed just burned me out. I was unsatisfied and desperate for a change.

When the door to deconstruction was cracked, I felt consumed because the vastness of freedom was destabilizing at first. Thankfully, I found a group of women who were loving, compassionate, safe and care filled to walk with me during this time. They didn’t rescue me, fix me or even put Band-Aids on me. Instead, they sat with me, accepted me, held me in the Light, poured out love and compassion and said “of course” repeatedly.

We entered our group while navigating our own roads of deconstruction. Our paths looked and felt different and yet we needed much of the same things along the way. We needed each other. We needed safety, openness, acceptance, compassion, grace, mercy, and hope.

We were grateful we had a guide who partnered with us and the Spirit to teach us how to co-create a haven. With work and attention to ourselves we were able to co-create a safe, healthy refuge for each of us and the whole of us. The group was the bedrock of the healing work we did for each other and with ourselves. It became an invitation for us to deconstruct and reconstruct our value and belief systems. Simply, it was a path of Spiritual Formation.

As our group formed, each of us uncovered the foundation of ourselves. We freely gave each other radical acceptance and compassion for what was found along the way.

At first, it was uncomfortable to accept what we offered each other. We found ourselves justifying our actions, thoughts, and feelings as we shared. We hadn’t experienced this level of compassion without strings or judgements attached. At times it felt wrong, enabling, and uncomfortable. And yet we kept coming back for more because we needed more compassion and acceptance in our lives.

Thankfully, radical acceptance and compassion is abundant and invites us to freedom. In our group I learned how to have radical acceptance and compassion for myself, (all of myself, even the hidden side), others and Divine. Words of affirmation, love, acceptance, compassion, and grace offered by my fellow sojourners taught me how to be safe with myself and with others.

As I consider what 2022 has waiting for me, feelings of hopefulness, skepticism, delight, fear, and numbness arise. I am thankful for the work that I did in the past, braving the uncertainty of freedom within myself and within a group of women on a similar journey. I cherish what they taught me when they held me and accepted me in the dark hard places. They invited me to a freedom, an acceptance, a compassion that is limitless. I thought that I would get to an edge one day but today I stand in awe that it continues to open up wider and wider.

May you know you are fiercely loved, always accepted, fully known, seen and heard.

Take a moment to notice your emotions and thoughts as you consider 2022.
Is there an image, color or texture that bubbles up?
What needs to be accepted, acknowledged or given compassion?
Audre Rickard
Audre is a Spiritual Companioning Editor who is passionate about helping writers, authors, bloggers, pastors and spiritual directors lean in to their call to write words the world needs to hear. She holds in high esteem what wants to be said and what needs to be said. She believes it takes writer and editor leaning into the Spirit to hear clearly the words the Divine has called the writer to share. As the three sojourn together, the writer’s voice is strengthened, their writing craft is honed and their reader will hear the words they have been longing to hear at just the right time.

Audre founded Saturated Grace, LLC in response to her call to be a Spiritual Director. She provides spiritual companionship and hosts Saturated Grace Groups. She sees the world through the lens of being an autistic person who mothers nuerodivergent children.
You can find her on FaceBook here. Editorial inquires contact her by email at audrerickard@gmail.com. https://www.saturatedgrace.com/