The Roadmap to Compassionate Action

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become”

St. Clare of Assisi

Self-help teachers have been floating the clichés that we need to ‘love ourselves first’ and ‘take care of ourselves first’ before we can love or help others. This easy wisdom is just too easy. And perhaps it is more a symptom of our tendency to narcissism rather than a guide to furthering compassionate action. 

St. Clare and St. Francis might guide us to the mirror for a closer yet wider second look.  In so doing, we could possibly discover that Self-help and helping-the-Other are inseparable.

The false self would like for us to follow trendy wisdom of taking care of ourselves first.  It seems to make so much sense.  But the false self is never really interested in extending compassion to anybody other than number one. 

It shuns a deep look into the mirror because it will lead us to the discovery that we are one with our true self, with everyone else, with God and all of creation. The false self begins to dissolve when we take that risk of accepting and embracing our absolute vulnerability and inseparable unity.

You are totally loved and totally accepted just the way you are. So am I and so is everyone else.  Two great commandments are retold in the gospels of Matthew and Mark which record Jesus as telling us to love God, neighbor, and self equally with our whole hearts, souls and minds. 

Likewise, the beautiful song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” gives us a simple directive to walk with each other in perfect harmony. The roadmap to compassionate action is clear.  Take the risk.  Look in the mirror. Then, let it begin with me.

All You Need is Love

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“We’ve got the gift of love, but love is like a precious plant.  You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard, or just think it’s gonna get on with itself.  You gotta keep watering it.  You’ve got to really look after it…and nurture it.” ~ John Lennon
Love is perfect.  Even in the cloudy reflection of broken relationships, love blesses us for having experienced it at all.  Our fragile and conditional human expressions of love can cause pangs of regret and worry, but even so, without it we would be lost.  Every time we allow ourselves to become vulnerable and open to the possibilities of love, we are drawing closer to God.  Every time we let go of resentment in favor of forgiveness, we are walking with Gods hand in ours.  Every time we stop to help a child, the Spirit of God is moving in our heart.  Love is not only perfect it is the light that dispels the darknesses which would otherwise destroy us. We are directed to “Love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves.”  This instruction, if truly followed, provides challenges that can keep us on track throughout our lives.  We will be continually transformed.  Everything else falls into place as we love first and foremost.  This is not easy work and requires that, as John Lennon says, we really look after it and nurture it.  We must allow ourselves to be loved as well as to give love.  Love counts us worthy even when we feel unworthy.  It identifies each of us as the beloved child of God.  When we accept this, we will be able to share it with others.  Then, the love we give will be the love we get.   [/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member admin_label=”Robert Kenneth Jones” name=”Robert Kenneth Jones” position=”Columnist” image_url=”https://chaplainusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/robert.jpg” facebook_url=”https://www.facebook.com/KenJonesBoy” linkedin_url=”https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-kenneth-jones-8861183/” _builder_version=”3.5.1″ header_font=”||||||||” header_text_align=”left” header_font_size=”26px” body_font=”||||||||” body_font_size=”14px” body_line_height=”1.4em” border_radii=”on|1px|1px|1px|1px” border_width_all=”2px” border_color_all=”#d4cfc4″ border_radii_image=”on|29px|29px|29px|29px” text_orientation=”left” max_width=”89%” module_alignment=”center” custom_margin=”38px|||” custom_padding=”47px|33px|0px|32px” filter_saturate=”95%” animation_style=”fade” saved_tabs=”all” use_background_color_gradient=”off” background_color_gradient_direction=”180deg” parallax=”off” background_size=”cover” background_position=”center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend=”normal” allow_player_pause=”off” background_video_pause_outside_viewport=”on” header_level=”h4″ header_letter_spacing=”0px” header_text_shadow_style=”none” body_letter_spacing=”0px” body_text_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style=”none” box_shadow_style_image=”none” background_layout=”light” filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” filter_brightness=”100%” filter_contrast=”100%” filter_invert=”0%” filter_sepia=”0%” filter_opacity=”100%” filter_blur=”0px” mix_blend_mode=”normal” child_filter_hue_rotate=”0deg” child_filter_saturate=”100%” child_filter_brightness=”100%” child_filter_contrast=”100%” child_filter_invert=”0%” child_filter_sepia=”0%” child_filter_opacity=”100%” child_filter_blur=”0px” child_mix_blend_mode=”normal” animation_repeat=”once” animation_direction=”center” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_delay=”0ms” animation_starting_opacity=”0%” animation_speed_curve=”ease-in-out” animation=”off” text_shadow_style=”none” global_module=”26968″] Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse. In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers. His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation. Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast [/et_pb_team_member][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Sometimes the Runner Stumbles

“Deep down we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then.” ~ Mr. Rogers

One of my favorite movies was the 1981 classic Chariots of Fire.  It was a story of faith and dedication to the pursuit of our passion.  It also dealt with overcoming the expectations and negative perspective of detractors.

It gave me the sense that following my dreams was more important than the opinions of others.  It also led me to an understanding that ‘sometimes the runner stumbles’.  We don’t get it right all of the time.  We fall to the ground in dejection.  We feel like giving in or giving up.  But if we ask for help and get back up we will find that there are always resources enough to carry on.

Great things begin to happen when we grasp the idea that it is our mission to be passionately engaged with one another.  It is of the highest priority.  My wife was a teacher of Special Education who was actively engaged in Special Olympics.

There is a story that circulates quite frequently about that great program, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  It seems that nine contestants had signed up for the hundred yard dash one year at an Olympic site.  They lined up and took off at the sound of the starter pistol.  One of the little boys didn’t get very far before stumbling and falling.

His knee was skinned and he started to cry. The other eight kids heard him, and rather than running ahead, turned around, and ran back to him.  All eight of them went back!  The boy got up, his friends linked their arms together and joyfully walked to the finish line.  They all completed the race at the same time to the roar of the crowd, cheers, and whistles.  The celebration went on for a long time.

We are reminded that when we help the one who stumbles and lock arms in solidarity with God that the words of the prophets are fulfilled;

‘We will regain our strength.  We will sprout wings like eagles.  Though we run we will not grow weary.  Though we walk we will never tire’.

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration, and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast