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Finding That Extra Space In Our Hearts

by Twitchy Corner on December 17, 2012

At this time of year we know we are meant to find extra space for love, compassion and giving towards others. Right now,  in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in particular, I wish I weren’t feeling quite as numb and empty.

I’ve written before of my sensitivity to human (and non-human) suffering. I don’t watch the news. I don’t buy magazines that make their living from perpetuating unhelpful myths, exploiting, or invading the privacy of others. Even when I strive to keep my incoming information stream as palatable as possible, my inbox is still filled daily with notifications of injustice; it filters through. There are things I see that are so hard to process, so devoid of any sense, order or fairness that I just have to step back a bit. That bothers me greatly because it’s not even constructive. Just as when it comes to the sadness that my loved ones might be experiencing- of course I’ll let them know I’m there for them, but when there’s nothing that can really be done during tough times to lighten their heart or ease the load- it just feels so…useless.

And it’s hard to love, there’s so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
When there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it’s much, much too late
Well maybe we should all be praying for time
- Praying For Time, George Michael

This is not just a fall-in-a-heap post where I simply rail at the world’s tragedies, scream WHHHHHYYYYY!!! then run and hide (although at first this is what it looks and feels like.) It’s me acknowledging my anger, disappointment and frailties, and remind myself that this is okay. The thing I need to remember is that the only reason I feel this way, is because I do FEEL.

While of course there are individuals whose strength and compassion are completely awe-inspiring, on the whole I find humans incredibly perplexing, often frustrating. I have strong morals and values that I believe in. These are often at odds with what sometimes seems like the majority of the world’s population, its politics, beliefs, or cultures of inequality.

In our society, it’s the ones that never look outside their own bubble of desire. Those for whom considering life in someone else’s shoes is not even a flash of thought, let alone an undertaking. Those who take for granted or hold a sense of entitlement, about everything they’re fortunate enough to have or experience right now- with not a moment’s reflection before wanting the next ‘thing’. That is not me. It’s not much, but I do what I can. I volunteer, I  sign and share petitions, share articles, make donations, buy particular items. I try to keep my purchases mindful of human rights, or the environment and where the proceeds go. It all takes a little bit of extra time, effort and research- but it’s incredibly worth it! The world is round and there’s only one of her.

At some point it seems Western and other affluent societies largely replaced giving with taking. Our sense of community, humanity, empathy and compassion, with the desire to own more and bigger stuff. Awareness of our global brothers and sisters with awareness of what the celebrities are up to. Valuable and important news hidden behind the front page sensationalism. There’s nothing wrong with having nice things  or light entertainment. It’s more about how, and how much.

I will always be sensitive and flawed. I will always need to protect myself and take a moment to step back like right now. But I’ll always, always have the well-being of, or goodwill toward, others in my head and in my heart. Even if it doesn’t convert into anything tangible in the immediate term, or feels like chaos swirling around inside me. It is there, to pass on to my children.  It’s there to remind me of the special people in my life I admire and hold so dear. It is there for me to express who I am and what I believe in. While my personal religious beliefs are non-existent or agnostic, it is there, to add to the universal consciousness in the hope of attracting a better time. It simply is there.


I’m so very pleased to find this great quality link to one of my favourite George Michael songs to share with you.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jayne December 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I had a conversation with someone recently about the homeless. I was really taken aback when the other person said they didn’t see the point in helping them, since they obviously want to be on the street and probably don’t want our help – who are we to force it on them?

Some people really do refuse to look outside their selfish bubble and educate themselves on matters far more important than ‘the next thing’.

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Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions December 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm

I don’t understand how so many people can go through life thinking of nothing but themselves and their own needs. The mind boggles.

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Twitchy December 19, 2012 at 12:05 am

The best I can hope is that they aren’t aware yet and one day might be, rather than deliberately choosing to be that way. I had a ‘Christmas gifts for kids’ conversation with a friend not long ago which left me gob-smacked. Had a big complain her kids needed nothing else but insisted on spending a large amount on ‘stuff’ anyway. She didn’t like my suggestions of a family experience or to perhaps include sponsoring a child. Her choice of course, but she’d just been asking for a solution!

Lara @ This Charming Mum December 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

You certainly don’t need to be religious to be a thoughtful or giving person – hey, you’ve really helped me, just right here and now today :) This is a lovely post. Sometimes you just want to scream a big WTF at the universe, but the privilege of being human is that we have the capacity to think, reflect, reassess and rise above (and THEN scream at the universe). I love most things GM does, but this is a particularly beautiful song.

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Twitchy December 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Thank you. Lovely comment, I like it very much :) So glad to be of service.

Good Golly Miss Holly! December 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Love me abit of George Michael x

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Twitchy December 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Me too. Do you think he’s available??

iSophie December 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Really well written and heart felt. I guess we can’t control so much, but we can do our best to teach our children to have compassion, empathy and even a sense of community at a young age.

I have also been avoided the news sites this week.

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Kelly HTandT December 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Beautiful post hun, very well written. This world is a scary place. I just don’t know what is wrong with some people. I don’t watch the news or buy magazines either, most of what I hear is through blogs, facebook or friends. It’s not that I have my head in the sand, it’s that I don’t want to acknowledge the low-lifes who commit these crimes and the ones who sensationalise them by writing about these criminals.

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Twitchy December 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm

We are so on the same page. I also prefer the real paper- I can skip anything I don’t like and take my time on what I do.

EssentiallyJess December 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm

It’s refreshing to know that there are other people out there who think like this.
I’m amazed at how selfish the world has become, and how selfish we let our children be, never considering the needs of others.

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Twitchy December 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Thank You Jess. It’s also a hard line to walk the non-judgmental path when I find the choices of others so disappointing.

Mandie December 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Great post.
Empathy is a marvellous thing. Taking the time to put ourselves in others’ shoes is a quality that I hope I can instill in my daughter. And I agree – to think and act the way we do, we need to actually feel.

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Twitchy December 19, 2012 at 12:18 am

Ah that double-edged sword.

Rachel from Redcliffe Style December 18, 2012 at 11:01 am

I love this song too. Rachel xx

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Pip December 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Beautifully written. I can so relate. I just finished blurting my heart out tonight in keeping for my usual Tuesday collection of words and read your post – v. similar thoughts. I believe this is the clip Cathy was referring to – and if not – well she reminded me of it. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151211016113780 xx

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Twitchy December 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Thank you Pip. It’s good to know I’m not the only one- I knew I wouldn’t be ;) Thanks for the link.

Cathy December 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I’m no saint but I agree about all the little things – the giving without expecting anything in return. I’m not very tall but the other day an old woman was struggling to reach something on the top shelf of the supermarket. I stepped in, stretched up and managed to reach what she wanted. Her thank you was so heartfelt and beautiful that it made my day. I’m sure there would be others that would have done the same but there would also be many more that would just ignore her and walk on. It’s just about being aware. Do the little things. Notice others. Someone posted a great clip about this the other day…I’ll find it and tag you on FB with it xx

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Twitchy December 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Thank you Cathy- there are very few saints. I’m certainly not claiming to be one! Is the link you were talking about the one Pip just put here?

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