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COMPASSION 101
The fog came down in the night and coated everything with starry white lichen. It's as if it got physical on us. Every winter-killed blade of grass, every pebble, every stripped and stiff bush is limned in frozen fog. The fog stuck around to greet the morning too, smothering the world. Your eyes play tricks on you as you drive through the fog. You expect the world ends over and over. It's as if the world is creating itself as the car advances, the negatives of trees loom like transparencies.

Get Out. I'm the Boss of My Ideas. They're Not the Boss of Me: The Meme Explained

I galloped through Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere yesterday. All I could think as I slugged it down was, why hasn't anyone made a movie out of this yet?! So, I went and looked it up on IMDB and it turns out someone has, sort of. It was a British mini-series back in 1996. Now I'm wondering if it was anywhere near as good as the book.

***

How do you handle other people's pain? Is there ever a time when it gets easier hearing that someone you care about, even if you don't know them well, is staggering under the weight of heartbreak? There are people on the fringes of my life who are going through major personal nightmares: divorce, separation, illness, impending deaths of loved ones. Anders and I are worrying about how to pay for both a trip home to the States this summer and getting the garage finished. I feel so small. There should be compassion classes in high school or college where you can learn the right things to say and the right things to do. How to help others. How to make them feel better. How to stay out of the way. How to listen.
 working
mood: working
music: Midge Ure—Let It Go


Comments

The filmed version of Neverwhere wasn't as good as the book. I used to have a copy on VHS back in the US, but I don't know where it's gone to. As I recall, it had rather low production values and didn't retain the same dreamy quality of the book.

Yeah, I wish I knew what to do, too. *sigh*

I wish I knew the answers to those questions right now. Its always hard to find the right words for a friend in pain isnt it? It seems like everything that comes out of my mouth sounds stupid and selfish.

That last part really hit home. I am struggling with the same thing now. I have a flat on my bike and that is my biggest problem today. Meanwhile others are hurting A LOT. I wish I knew what to say too (or write, as the case is)

Well, no words that any of us could come up with is going to provide a solution right now, that takes time. But just saying a kind word and showing some compassion is a healing thing too, letting somebody know you know they are in pain and care enough to respond.

i keep remembering how the bible says (oh so many things, lol, but in particular) that we go through suffering, so that we may comfort those who come after us. i don't think you can learn compassion (at least the real deep connetion type you seem to be meaning) any other way but by going through things of your own. but on the other hand, i don't think you can let the sufferings of those you care about become so much of a burden that they steal you chances of joy. those things in your life that are important to you now are not small... they are yours. a some point, you need to be able to step back and let them be what they are... no guilt.

That's true, and I think it's BECAUSE I've gone through similar things that I feel so hard when others go through them now. I guess I mean more, how to SHOW it. How to help in a tangible way.

Neverwhere - weirdly, I saw bits of the mini-series before I read the book. It almost put me off of reading the book. The feel of the thing was all wrong. It's impossible to (on such a low budget) get the same depth as the book. I remember thinking that some of the actors were good. It was a while ago though. The book is fantastic though. :) Loved it!

Compassion - I find that listening helps most. Giving advice if you have any when asked also helps. Letting the person know you are their friend and you care, that helps as well. Each of us has our own struggles. They help us grow and learn. Yes, they can hurt like hell, and yes, they can be MAJOR life changes... but, don't forget that you deserve your happiness in life. Seeing your joy could help them to have hope for the future. But as I said, showing you care by giving hugs and letting the person know you care does loads.

Actually, Neverwhere was a mini-series before it was a book... the book is a novelization of the script, with little details that they weren't able to do when filming thrown in - for example, the first Floating Market was supposed to be filmed in Harrod's, but at the last minute the suits in charge decided they didn't want their precious store to be filmed in the context of a travelling bazaar for homeless people. But that's why the book seems so much richer and more detailed - they had a limited budget to work with, but when Neil wrote the book, there was nothing holding him back.

I personally *love* the film - I had horrible bootlegged VHS before the DVD finally came out - but then I've always had a soft spot for that "boring old BCC crap." :)




I agree w/ you about compassion... I don't think it can be taught, though... I think the more times our own heart's are broken (even in the countless small ways people die a little every day), the more we're able to feel for others... I read a book about a year ago that had "answers for every occasion" - what to say and do when others are sick, dying or in need... It had some interesting suggestions, but what I mostly noticed, repeated over and over, was that the best and sometimes only thing you can do is listen... and just the fact that you're feeling that helpless, but still trying to comfort may be enough...

Re:

That's interesting...that he did the screenplay before he did the book.

Well, I'm usually a good listener, so I hope that does help when it comes to helping others!! :)

It is difficult when people around you are in pain. I know what you mean- worrying about small stuff then friends have HUGE issues or more immediate issues. It is difficult.

I think a compassion class would be awesome. I can see the booklist now...the bible (focusing on select passages) anything ever written or said by the Dali Lama, the Koran, the Torah. I read a buddist passage everyday to try to help learn how to be more compassionate. The fact that you put your concerns below those of your friends in trouble is a sign that you are compassionate. Just your time, thoughts and energy will help your friends. Let them know with a card or note or phone call. I've learned to be more compassionate by reading books by the current Dali Lama, he has some really good ones out there. I find when it's something that screams for compassion, I am there. It's the smaller, everyday compassions that I have to work on. When I suffer myself I find that mediation really helps me through tough emotions. I get creative with it and do my own imagery. After closing my business, I was in a very bad place emotionally. I used to imagine myself in a circular room with pillows all over the floor and beautiful women with big hand held fans. The room was open to the outside and when I looked out I saw a perfect blue ocean. I guess you would call that my happy place. The other day I was bogged down by a feeling of longing and desire. So I imagined spreading it thin over a big chocolate cake and then I imagined eating the whole thing so I was sick of it. Maybe some of these will help.

Re:

I know you had a super tough time after your business went under. :( I'm glad you've come out on top! I like the cake idea. although, wait a minute...you mean a metaphorical cake, don't you?! curses. :D

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