The sages of our wisdom traditions teach that the healing that becomes possible in a life crisis is always in direct proportion to the magnitude of the crisis. The invitation of the Fertile Heart practice is all about that: turning crisis into opportunity.
A few years ago, I made up a brand new holiday. I declared November 9 the International Day of Compassion. The idea was inspired by my belief that as a nation and a species, we missed the giant healing opportunity after that dark September Tuesday in 2001. For me, that Tuesday was our draft card into the army of peace. Sadly, it was not the army most of us joined. Thus the army of peace remains pitifully understaffed.
But it’s not too late.
The legacy of 9/11 can still become a giant forward-leap in human awareness. It’s really up to us. Every little step counts.
For now the Turn It Around Project is going through a slow gestation. And looking around at the state of affairs in our dysfunctional human family, I’ve also come to realize that compassion is way too ambitious an aim at this early stage of our human evolution.
The literal meaning of compassion is to-suffer-with. Compassion means feeling the pain of another. Most of us have a tough enough time feeling our own pain, which puts suffering with another out of reach. So for the time being I’ve decided to re-name November 9 the International Turn-It-Around-Day. A day when I’ll take just a few minutes longer to ask myself:
What is it that needs turning around in my own life right now?
It’s a more humble, more achievable aim.
In case any of you care to join me, I’d love some company. Wanting to bring a kid into this glorious mess we’re finding ourselves in lately and not wanting to Turn It Around doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?
What I wasn’t aware of when I first declared this holiday, was that November 9 is also the anniversary of the Night of the Broken Glass, when synagogues were burned, and beatings, looting and attacks against Jews had taken place throughout Nazi Germany and parts of Austria. The night was the beginning of Hitler’s Final Solution and the beginning of the end for my two grandmothers, my beautiful young aunt Adele, countless cousins and a little boy whose picture hung over my bed.
So this holiday I made up, is for me also a chance to honor the memory of the people I never got to meet. That little boy, my brother, was one of them. The video I posted (again) is a way to keep turning the memory of his short life into a force of healing.
Got anything you’d like to turn around in your life?