What to do when you (or the kids, or your partner) are BORED
This is an on-going post title that gives structure and ideas to develop meaningful connections with the five threads. We’ve all felt bored at some point in our lives, and if you have children, you deal with this state of unrest frequently. In an effort to encourage those connections, we’re offering you suggestions for things to do when there’s nothing to do. Many of the ideas are simple activities, but are complex in intention. They are usually relevant to all five threads (although, we try to assign just one or two), but that’s the underlying point of our mission at Five Threads. We are all connected through our thoughts, actions, memories and feelings. We just want to help you discover those connections. This post, however, is intended to serve the SELF thread.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~Dalai Lama
Sometimes it’s difficult to practice compassion in what sometimes feels like a self-obsessed world. But, if you’re ready and determined, you can find a lot of resources to help you understand and practice compassion for yourself. Below are two of those resources (along with my two-cents) on the subject.
Happiness, Love, Bliss, Kindness, Compassion, Well-being, Empathy, Consideration, Enjoyment, Pleasure…how many have you felt or given today? -Five Threads
I read a blog post from Wildmind that offers a look at compassion and science, along with information on Buddist practice and meditation. Apparently, feeling compassion shows similar brain activity as when you are happy. Read the complete post here.
The author gives three reasons for why compassion works in the same way as simply feeling happy:
1) Compassion moves attention from the self, which in-turn makes the self feel good.
Our four-year-old has a personality type that challenges my own. We work daily at communicating without tears or meltdowns, but it’s difficult. In exploring various techniques, the ones that really seem to work for us are those that take my focus from my behavior (what can I do differently) to his: empathy for his feelings and teaching self-control and relaxation skills.
2) Compassion delivers perspective.
When we received our last power bill, I nearly fainted at seeing the $1198.71 amount due. (up from $346) It must be a mistake, right? Nope. After nearly four weeks of phone calls to the power company, power consumption troubleshooting, and deep breathing, we learned that our furnace is the culprit and a heat pump is the best answer…at a whopping $16,000!! Outrage is the best descriptor for my state of mind during those days.
Then, I heard a story on NPR that put it all in perspective. People in the US are having to choose between food and heat. They can’t afford both, and the traditional places to get aid can’t help.
A woman and her young son live on the top floor of a townhouse-style building on the east coast and decided to spend what money they have to put food in their mouths, instead of oil in the tank for heat. The wind pushes its way through the cracks forcing them to sleep bundled in sweaters, coats, and piles of blankets. This is the part that got me: The two of them go stay with her mother when it gets really cold, when the water in their toilet freezes.
Things can always get worse and are worse. Perspective. Get yours today!
3) Compassion helps us connect.
Finding focus outside of ourselves, and our own troubles, allows us to more deeply connect with others. The same four-year-old in #1 recently asked me about the homeless. We were in the city, saw a homeless man sleeping and he asked why he was sleeping under the walkway. I explained how some people don’t have a house, and they have to sleep wherever they can find a warm place. Feeling satisfied with the conclusion, I moved on to another topic. My son didn’t move on and asked, “How do they get clean?”
The continuation of the conversation taught me not to change the subject too quickly just because I’m finished, if I want the continuation of the connections to occur. By practicing compassion for the homeless man by teaching my son about his perceived struggles, as well as having compassion for my son’s desire for more information, he connected to his community through the development of compassion and we enriched our connection with each other through conversation.
When we are caught up in our own anxieties and longings we are not fully able to connect with others and so our experience is impoverished. Compassion is therefore enriching. –Wildmind blog
You say you want to practice compassion? You’re ready to meet the kinder you?
Here are seven ideas from another blog post by Leo Babauta that can get you started.
7 Compassion Practices from ZenHabits (Leo Babauta)
#1: Including Morning ritual, #3: Commonalities practice, #6: Those who mistreat us practice