Five dogs. 12 weeks. Increased compassion. Better sleep. More patience. Peace of mind. Improved relationships. Smiles. Opened hearts. Expressed emotions. More unconditional love. At a maximum security prison. And the dogs didn't charge for their services.
Friendliness and trust are linked, but also very different. In relationships that matter, trust masked as friendliness is fleeting and false, much like receiving an award you do not deserve or did not earn.
Compassion literally means "to feel with" or "to suffer with" another person. It means seeing something the way they do, and experiencing it with them. Here's what I've learned about being a more compassionate parent, especially in the moments when compassion may not come readily.
And we want to help. And we're afraid to. We're afraid of not knowing what to say. We're afraid of looking too closely into the deep and bottomless well of someone else's unhappiness, afraid of how those dark waters may beckon to us.
May this world continue to be blessed with fearless artists who are inspired by Robin Williams' comedy, courage, and creativity. May we pour out compassion. May we be aware of mental health and the sickness that comes with it.
I am a firm believer in the concept that no one "gets there" alone. I know that I have had a lot of help along the way, and I strive to help others as they go through life too. I know what it's like to be alone, to struggle and to be the victim of an injustice or cruel act.
These lessons aren't part of any class curriculum. They are taught between the lines -- picked up through pain and need and faulty action. They are unwavering truths of life we often forget but more often dismiss.
I've seen the blight and hopelessness. But I've also met people there who are working with the poor -- and in the process creating miracles. This makes me wonder what qualities they have that the rest of us lack.
Healing from self-blame for wrong done to you is possible, especially through a compassionate connection. I have hardly ever seen this demonstrated as well as in the film Good Will Hunting, starring Robin Williams and Matt Damon.