Where Is Compassion?

Today has a specially cold wind blowing and while my late lunch cooked I went downstairs to get some sunlight and get warmed up.

There had been a few months since I stopped buying bread.

I replaced them by whole wheat toasts, but this morning I decided to get some brown bread home, along with some turkey breast slices and cheese, to vary a bit.

Few minutes after I put the chair under sunlight one of my neighbors came up and we started talking.

As we were talking a man appeared at the entrance saying “Food, food. I want food.”

He was obviously homeless and didn’t have any bad smell but his feet and hands looked very dirty.

He appeared to be in his sixties. Very skinny and weak. With his trembling body he asked for food.

My neighbor said “Only in the restaurant. I don’t have any now.”

It was probably true because he lives alone like me and orders food most of the time.

Then the man started asking for coffee: “Coffee, I want coffee.”

I said: “I don’t have any food prepared but I can make you a sandwich and coffee. Wait here, please.”

As I came upstairs I went to the window to check if he was waiting and shouted “Sir, hang on there, please.”

I quickly made a cup of coffee and a sandwich, which would not be possible yesterday when I wouldn’t have anything to offer but some fruits.

I was glad I could give him that at least but my heart broke as I delivered it to his hands. I also gave him a little money.

I asked him how long he’s been living on the streets. He said “20 years.” I said goodbye and came back to my apartment to check on my lunch cooking.

It reminded me of one episode of that NatGeo serie, the one that showed tribesmen from Tanna [Pacific]  staying with families in big cities in UK and US.

In that episode they went out with the family and saw many homeless people.

It was an ackward and embarassing moment because one of the tribesmen said  “How do you leave them like that, homeless and hungry on the streets? In Tanna if someone doesn’t have where to live we help and build a house for them.” There was an uncomfortable silence and the host tried to explain it to the tribesman who asked.

Of course in their primitive way of living it’s easier to provide for someone in need what is necessary to live.

But why, how and when the so called civilization lost the ability to promptly help someone in need?

When did it become so difficult to do? Probably when money started being used.

We can’t just bring somebody home to live with us. It’s not safe. Everybody knows that.

But I see it’s more than that. I saw other people in the building on the other side of the street. Nobody made a move to help the man.

If at least we all could give the possible help at the moment we find someone like that it would help already.

Most of people don’t even care anymore and prefer not to think about it. It’s probably uncomfortable for them.

I know many others donate regularly to NGOs and directly to the people they find in need.

I see a lack of compassion in general, not only toward those homeless but even with people we know.

Compassion is what good actions are made of.

It’s necessary to cultivate it so it will give us better ideas of how to really help.

I strongly believe that no matter how difficult one’s situation might be, it’s always possible to improve it with the right mindset.

Not everybody has that strength to do it, specially the ones in so much need, so true generosity and compassion are always welcome, but very hard to find nowadays.

Remember anything counts. Anything possible to do at the moment. Even if you have to interrupt your sunbath for a few minutes.

Indifference

We all make mistakes. And we  can’t have full control of how what we say may harm someone else.

Good and bad people make mistakes. The difference is that good people don’t plan to harm anyone and usually care about the consequences of their acts.

What harms most is not the act itself but the lack of consideration.

Sometimes is not possible to repair but real good people demonstrate some concern about that or try to offer some compensation.

Even the people that are close to us,  like friends and family,  can harm us in different forms. We overcome much easier when we know that those people care about what they do and come to us to fix the situation, one way or another.

But in some cases you may have someone in great consideration and find out the worst way that the person doesn’t really consider you as you might have thought.  And then, at least for me, it’s not possible to repair anything. For me that person becomes a turned page in the book of life. Forever.

I have a friend who says “The worst you can give to someone who has harmed you in the past is indifference”.

I am not so sure about that, specially because if someone didn’t care enough of you to harm you in the past, that person will probably not care at all about your feelings or indifference now.

I prefer looking at that in the reverse way.

For me, the best thing I can feel in such cases is indifference.

Not indifference as something to give back as a revenge, but genuine and spontaneous indifference that comes when  by any chance you get in touch with that person again. The one that comes to you as natural as breathing.

That is the real sign of overcoming the situation. When you feel that for having any friendly contact with that person you would have to fake it really hard if necessary.

The real indifference is the absence of any feeling or emotional attachment to that person or the situation in the past.

I think it’s a great thing because it means that any negative feelings like anger or disappointment have gone. It’s not a negative or positive feeling for me, but neutral.

That is the big deal for me and not how or if the other person will one day ever notice my indifference.

Relationships

Last night I went to a chat I use to go. I usually don’t find like minded  people to talk in brazilian chats.

I spend months without going to any chat room but then I have a chat phase again, which I’m going through right now.

In Brazil or abroad, in a thousand guys I chatted I found like four worth talking to.

With those I manage to keep a virtual friendship.

It’s nice to come back with your nick and having someone asking about something you mentioned two weeks ago, and asking about the job interview one had, or about the holiday trip one took, etc.

I’m also amazed that I can find those so interesting people online.

So that’s why I keep this, even having to  dribble all the perverts and not like minded people.

It’s still worth because of the nice ones I’ve found.

Last night I found a married guy asking for counseling.

At first I thought it was some joke, but then he started exposing the facts in such an articulate manner and I knew this was serious.

It was a very delicate matter and he needed to get someone else opinion about it.

I have never been married but I cultivate a compassionate and respectful look to the people I find, in real or online. And I think that’s the key to help anyone with their issues. Of course knowing about someone else experience may help. But every people is different and situations are never exactly the same because of that.

And whenever my opinion is asked by someone I try to make the person find the best answer within herself, which I believe is always the best answer.

I think that’s the point of therapy also. Being able to find the answers by yourself.

I was able to chat with him for a while but then the website had connection issues and we lost each other. I hope he doesn’t think I left him because I was bored or so. Anyway, I’m just a stranger for him.

That made me think of the advantages and disadvantages of being alone or in a relationship.

I think that people that are in a relationship get more stimulated to achieve greater things, like a nice house, planning a trip together. It’s much easier to make that kind of thing happen when you have a partner. Also they support each other in many different ways and that gives a sense of security.

People like me who live alone go for things they can do alone. I’d love to live in a house with a backyard and have pets and a garden. But I could never feel safe at night alone in a place like that, so I don’t even consider that. And I bought myself a small apartment, since crime rate is a big issue in Brazil.

Also I like to travel but this year I have to recover my financial situation that got tight after I bought this apartment. So I have to wait things to get on track again financially. Anyway, when I think about traveling I think of places I can go alone and have nice places to go sightseeing. I have been to New York once and that is a great place to visit, specially for people like me. And I can think of other places like that where I can go, but I’m always considering going alone. I have my sisters and friends but I can’t count that we’ll be able to go on vacation at the same time or they want to go to the same place I want to.

I think considering the practical matters, people in a relationship have a great advantage.

However, being alone gave me a strong reference of myself as individual. The issues of living alone are always the same and it gets easier as time passes by to deal with them. It gives me the strength I need when facing issues of any nature. It also gave me more time to dedicate to my spirituality.

Considering people I know and also this strange man that asked my opinion last night,  I think that maybe it’s more difficult for those who spent their whole lives in a relationship to face serious issues that arise between them and their partners, than for those who had, at some point in their lives,  spent some time alone to strengthen themselves as individuals.

Anyway, it’s never easy or simple as it may seem  from outside for anyone.

Games

Some people use to say things in a very calculated way, not spontaneously, focusing on the effect they will get and not on expressing what they think and feel at the moment.

And I would say more. Some of these people only say something if they think they can get some advantage of that. They don’t really like or need to share their thoughts and feelings.

Those people consider everything is a game and you have to know how to play, by what to do and say, to succeed. And this is for all kinds of situation, social, professional, all kinds.

I am definitely not one of those people. Wouldn’t succeed if I tried.

What I do, and this is good for everyone I believe,  is considering if what I have to say or do will cause me or anybody else any problem or embarrassment before I actually do.  But this is not playing, this is just good sense.

I like to think I can tell when someone is always playing, saying things in a calculated way, and when someone is spontaneous and sincere.

On the other hand, what I notice is that people who use to play in everything usually consider everybody else is playing also.

They take everyone else by themselves.

I hate when it happens. When I say something I mean and with no hidden intention and someone take it as part of a game and says something like “Oh, you play smart”.

Maybe those people can cause better and strong impression than me and indeed get some advantages but I prefer to stay with truth, even if it’s considered not smart by some or considered a game by others.

Looking For Kitty (2004)

This 90 minute comedy-drama movie has a lot of content.  Directed by Edward Burns, where he plays a private investigator, helping a baseball coach to find his wife who ran away with a musician, this movie is about how sometimes close people actions catch us by surprise…and how difficult [and impossible?] it is to know somebody.

The baseball coach goes to New York to find his wife who abandoned him without any explanation, hoping to make it up with her and tell her how he still loves her….and mainly…to understand what she did.

During the investigation he and the detective get to know each other better and he finds out there’s no possible explanation that can fill what he needs. And understands that her actions mean she doesn’t care at all, which was what he wanted most. He understands her actions mean it’s not possible anymore and finds out what he wants for his life and that it can’t be found on any explanation or somebody else.

Sometimes in life other people actions catch us by surprise and we get very disappointed. The sooner we can forget about the facts and circumstances, the hows and whys,  to see and accept what it means, the better. The answers are always in ourselves and not in anybody else’s reasons and explanations. And a spontaneously given explanation means  a lot more than a demanded one.

Attraction

I found this picture in a brazilian blog.
It comes with a text I agree almost completely.
The author begins showing her disappointment when she found out that José Saramago is married to a woman who is 4 decades younger than him and also beautiful.
She expected him to be married to an older lady.
Disappointed but not surprised, she continues saying that besides being a great writer, he is also a man, and men prefer young beautiful women.
Pilar, Saramago’s wife, is also an interesting woman, according to the author.
I agree when she says this behavior of men is instinctive and can’t be condemned.
And we women also have attraction by the physical attributes of men, but what we listen comes before what we see.
It means, if the guy says the right thing he will take it, no matter how he lacks physical attributes.
No doubt about it. We tend to be less superficial and treat physical attributes superficially, and not as reasons to invest in a relationship.
I wouldn’t dare to translate the whole text here, but I don’t think this behavior is unanimous anymore.
There are a few points out of the graphic curve, who still need and search for physical attributes but also consider what comes inside the package. I personally know a few, very few, it’s true….
I personally think that we women need a better attitude about this facts.
We don’t have to worry about looking like girls in the magazines. Everyone has a personal looks scale from worst to best look [I’m not considering plastic surgery]. If it feels like looking better, do it, but first of all to please your own.
And if someone says he finds you attractive, believe it, accept it. Don’t spoil everything talking about what you dislike about yourself. Attraction is very personal. What pleases one may be totally unpleasant for someone else.
Don’t dislike anything. If you’d feel better and there’s an improvement available, do it. But don’t expect becoming a better person. And don’t forget what comes inside.

Love and Human Relations

There are things that I can’t prove or discuss with anybody but I believe in them completely. I don’t have any doubt, I don’t need any proof, I simply believe.

I don’t belong to any religion but I totally believe in God, in reincarnation and in karma.

I respect all the other points of views and have friends with many different beliefs, even atheists. So I never discuss these subjects.

I think everybody comes to our lives for a reason, a reason that affects both sides, and some superior forces control the circumstances where it happens. Everybody, friends, loved ones, family, enemies, everybody.

We all look for people we can identify ourselves with. People who can accept and understand us, even if they are very different from us. Friends are like that. Friends support, accept and understand us unconditionally. I think their main role and ours in their lives is giving support and advising each other.

With true friends, we can always act sincerely, without worrying about acceptance and understanding. In fact we usually share things only with those we believe in advance that will accept and understand us, no matter what. Somehow, it doesn’t help us growing much, because it can only make us stronger.

I think the only thing that can make us grow and evolve is Love.  Masculine-Feminine relationship [ I’m straight but I guess homosexual relationships have a masculine and a feminine side also].

It’s the only thing that can bring us the fullest happiness and also the deepest suffering. The only thing that can really show us how imperfect and fragile we are. Love shows us that human relations are not the same as business relations, where you can demand your rights, demand explanations, set rules, sue someone for acting wrong or lying to you.

In Love we can never be compensated for being hurt like in a legal process where the judge decides how much the charged side must pay to the damaged one. And also, nobody can really demand and guarantee that we are going to act the way they expect. No matter what was said before.

Everybody can hurt and get hurt in Love. Everybody, no matter how much a great person he/she is.  Love can only succeed if we can accept the other as someone imperfect and accept our own imperfection. And that there are no guarantees of happiness at all. Never ever.

The pain of loss is the same if the person has always been great with you or cheated on you. The pain of getting away from the loved one. The difference are other feelings that come at the same time, depending on the situation, making things confuse.

So, considering all of it, all I have to say for those who once came to my life is:

I love you.

Forgive me for anything I may have done.

Thank you.