Compassion and Skillful Action

Compassion and Skillful Action

Compassion and Skillful Action

In Between Spaces

My practice of yoga extends far beyond my mat. That is where the journey begins but certainly, at least for me does not end. There is a sense espiecally as I age, of entering deeper into life’s questions instead of reactively answering with certainty. Diving into mystery has opened my heart in often painful but also inspiring ways.

This path of yoga has guided me to ground my thoughts, speech and actions in compassion. Compassion, by its very nature implies suffering. When we live with an aversion to pain, where denial shows up, fear rules the day and blame and resentment guide speech and actions, there is an absence of compassion. ( Recognize this in the political realm, anyone? ) Compassion is relational and invites the recognition and acknowledgment of suffering and most importantly, the response be one of affirming the dignity and sacred value of life. In the yogic path, thoughts, speech and actions are aligned to repeat and affirm this response, continually breaking the heart, while expanding and growing this capacity for openness.

I am continually amazed and blown away by both the fragility and resilience of the human being.  In hospice work, it is humbling to walk alongside someone facing their own death, making the best of time left and loving openly in the face of death. In the space of working with survivors who have had so much taken from them., Choice being a biggie here, finding Hope, Healing and the ability to reclaim their lives.

I am flowing and growing  into this life of connection and community and sensing a continued awareness and deep sense of gratitude for the love we are all held in which is greater than us. Grace. The Sanskrit word Shambo is the Abode of Joy. This is where we are held and loved unconditionally.

This is also not spiritual bypass which is a big part of the New Age and hippy community where it is all about “love and peace.” Denial of suffering shows up big here in these communities and often in the Christian community, where sentimental cliches show up  and people that suffer feel there is something inherently wrong with them in this culture of denial.

I have had people hardened to suffering call me out as a Pollyanna. I could not sit alongside someone facing death nor walk into a prison with this spiritual bypass that denies suffering. It would be dangerous and harmful to myself and the vulnerable people I walk with in various ways.

Growing and opening into skillful action, having a deep and abiding belief that we are wired for connection. Finding more and more everyday, reasons to be grateful beyond measure for life, for singing, for moving, for dancing,  for creating safe spaces for people to show up as they are. Always. Honoring the light that exists in everyone without exception.

May all beings be happy, be free from suffering and have peace and may my thoughts, words and actions contribute to the happiness, freedom from suffering and peace of all of life. So be it.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen, B.A. Political Science/Sociology, is a Certified Music Practitioner, Sound Healer, Reiki Master, and Registered Yoga Teacher with a trauma informed/social justice framework. She has 20 years experience of working with some of the most amazing people on the planet; hospice patients and their families, patients in a variety of health conditions, survivors of sexual abuse, adults with mental illness and most recently, incarcerated women. Rachel is also passionate about supporting and working with caregivers to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. Locally, Rachel teaches Creative Movement at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. Regionally and nationally, she teaches and presents at conferences and retreats, weaving live music, yoga, and creative movement into themes of compassion, self acceptance, and transformation. Rachel is committed to engaging people from all walks of life in the healing arts to create healthy, diverse, and joyful communities.