Compassion fatigue

I have heard the term, “compassion fatigue“, but haven’t really understood the concept until the last few years. Being overwhelmed to the point of being unable to see, feel or even comprehend the pain of others is a very real condition. I have always been a person who would cry at the slightest representation of hurt but I have been through a season where my tear ducts have run dry.

The personal hurt or injuries can be so deep and so invasive that there is an inability to see beyond the confines of the jagged emotional walls. For most observers, selfishness becomes the defining term; yet, in reality, the pain and the loss of control is so intolerable that there is no capacity to interact beyond that which simply exists.

I have repeatedly said that the brain can lock and without question, I understand that fact. Gaining accessibility to functional thinking is something that most take for granted. Spaciousness is necessary for even the slightest decision making process. When spaciousness is not available, an emotional immobility is inevitable. One of the most challenging components of this season has been related to the fact that the pain originated in places where I once found my most significant comfort and sense of security. When the circumstance began to unfold there was no ability to orient elsewhere because quite literally there was no elsewhere. Attempting to start over when there was not even a hint of the necessity was more than disconcerting to my physicality and my nervous system. Anxiety can take over the dashboard of existence and I, for one, can assuredly testify to that fact. I was not a person given to anxiety, I was usually most self assured but the effects of that which cannot be understood are truly maddening.

Within the last year, I have begun to explore the practice of yoga. As I have observed my mind and body, through this venture, I have been unable to even comprehend my lack of dexterity. I have been an athlete, extremely agile, highly coordinated and even the most simple attempts at balance have been unexplainably challenging for me. I am no neurological specialist but I can tell you for certain the hemispheres have not been communicating and even at the present, I’m still trying to regain my spatial balance. I feel the expectation internally to jump into the next opportunity but I’m honoring this time, knowing that my brain is healing. Sometimes decision making must align with where we are both physically and mentally.

At the moment, I’m sitting outdoors, being warmed by the natural sunlight. My body and mind seem to be finding some integration, once again, and just as if I had an actual physical, external wound, I am internally healing.

The laceration to my life has left a gaping hole and all I can do is observe the emptiness. At this point, starting over is no doubt totalitarian. Literally, every area of substance in my life has been voraciously tossed to the floor. I’m awakening to find myself standing among the rubble of what I have accumulated physically, financially, occupationally, relationally and I’m just now beginning to assess what is left for me to work with. Can I easily assess my sense of anger and rage, absolutely, the circumstance was unwarranted and based completely in behaviors of hatred and vengeance. An attack that targeted the entirety of my existence. Can I stand outside of myself and adequately determine where I am? Today, that seems to be the starting line for the return to compassion. I know that compassion embodies my being, it has been true of me for as long as I can remember. I open and extend my arms eagerly awaiting the return.

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