Welcome back to From the Journal Fridays, where I share thoughts from my large collection of journals and notebooks. Today, let’s talk about finding balance between our feelings & work in compassion.
Yes, this is the exact same journal from last week. Except it’s not. I’m a creature of habit. I had 3 of these notebooks during my time in India. They have multiple sections and pockets and hold so many memories. Last week’s held a lot of hard work. Today’s held a lot of feelings AND work.
How do we balance the two?
In this journal, I think I learned a little bit of balance between the two,
because most of my work in India was time spend teaching women that feelings are okay. That God made feelings, feels them a lot like us, and wants us to listen to our feelings. My work was literally about finding the balance between “feelings are okay” and “feelings show me what work I need to do.”
If you are a feeler, there’s a reason. There’s purpose. There’s work to be found there. True, our feelings can leave us stuck and stagnant. But they can also, beautifully, propel us forward in ways different from duty, different from to-do lists. Forward with feeling we can do the work. Forward with compassion.
That’s where the balance lies: compassion.
Compassion literally means to “suffer with.”
You FEEL the sufferings of another with them, AND you desire to alleviate that suffering.
Jesus felt this a lot. The Greek word for compassion is σπλαγχνίζομαι –splagchnizomai — and can literally be translated as a deep wrenching of the gut. I mean, just try saying that word. It sounds like you’re really working up a spit.
It involves, by its own definitions, movement. Feelings, yes. But also work. Movement to make something better than current circumstances.
Feel first, then work.
This is where I am starting everything these days. Feel first, then work. Because if I try to separate my feelings, I’ll lose the integrity of the work. If I try to not feel, just act, it will be more pretense than anything. But when I connect my feelings to my work, I find compassion–the ability to act even when overwhelmed by my emotions.
What does this look like?
For me, this looks like shrinking the to-do lists to leave space for deep breaths and deep feelings.
This looks like digging into my heart before I dig into my duties for the day.
This looks like looking behind the curtain to see what’s beyond my frustrations while working.
This looks like taking time to evaluate how I can help someone else, how I can put others before myself.
Compassion is where we find balance. It’s where we take our feelings and we point them outward, not to drop them like pity-party-hammers, but to fuel our work and our days with movement and growth and love for others right where they’re at.