Compassionate Action: A Radical Approach to Giving Back!

The other day, I was on one of my rare excursions outside our home at the local grocery store. I was there with my basket of gluten-free bread, eggs, milk (okay, fine, I had a few gluten-free chocolate chip cookies in there, too!). Above the checkout area was a large, handwritten sign lettered in Sharpie that said:

“Please be kind to the staff. They are here to serve you during these trying times.”

At first, I thought, “How nice!” After all, I adore and appreciate any intentional reminder for kindness and love. 

But then it occurred to me that something must have happened to require someone to take the time to write the sign and put it up. Actually, something must have happened more than once. 

How many customers had snapped at the cashiers over the past 12 months? (I actually asked the cashier and she told me a few nasty stories!) 

How many people had sworn at the stock clerks because there was no toilet paper left on the shelves? 

How many complaints, angry voices, and frustrations had been taken out on others?

And suddenly, that sweet sign made me sad because of the hurt and suffering that was behind its creation.  

The Problem with Fight or Flight

We’re all under a tremendous amount of stress right now. A common human response to stress in our modern times is to lash out at others. In prehistoric times, we would have used our anger or fear to fight off the woolly mammoths or outrun the saber-toothed tigers. But when our “enemy” is more existential than physical, our negative energy gets turned outward and unleashed on others in the form of road rage or keyboard warrior-ing on social media.

The problem is, when we do so, we do nothing to lessen the collective amount of suffering in the world — which is what compassion is all about. Yes, we may feel slightly better when we blow off some steam by laying on the horn and blasting the car that cut us off, or leaving a nasty Facebook comment. But we’re not doing anything to increase the kindness, joy, or love in the world, or to raise the vibration for the collective whole. We are not practicing compassion.  

Practicing Radical Compassion

If we want to be compassionate beings — which, at our core, we are drawn to do — we must practice radical compassion. We must spread our love around with abandon, with the realization that it is a renewable resource that multiplies exponentially. When we offer love or kindness in the face of fear and negativity, we not only neutralize our own negative energy, we lift up others as well!

There’s a common misconception that charity involves only money. I disagree. Charity is the sharing of any positive resource we have, whether it be time, money, intention, or energy in any form. 

When you’re driven by compassion, you naturally begin to seek ways to help others without seeking anything in return. You give without expectation, because you’re giving from abundance. That lack of expectation is absolutely radical in our “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” culture. But we’re moving into a period of existence where we’re all called to more humanitarian action — that’s the pull of Aquarius on us all. 

Here are some ways to practice radical compassion:

1. Do your own work. Best selling author of Mindful of Race, Ruth King says that racism is a heart disease — and it is curable!

As a white woman, I do this work to become aware of my privilege, and to unpack my own biases and make real changes so I can be part of the solution. Ruth King writes, “Bearing witness to racial suffering without turning away is an opportunity to discover our humanity, our innate kinship. If we take on this practice, we begin to move through the world with more awareness and sensitivity.”

It’s Black History Month right now, so there are reminders of the work to be done all around us. But this isn’t part time work for the duration of a trend. It’s deep shifting work  I must do year-round and for the rest of my life.

While I can’t “cure” the world on my own, I can — and must — do my part. When I move through this material world with greater sensitivity, I can reduce suffering. I can help to ease the burden my brothers and sisters have been forced to carry. We can all be part of the solution in our own way.

2. Contribute to compassionate charities. I support several amazing, heart-led charities that aim to mitigate the suffering of vulnerable groups, including LGBTQIA+, the BIPOC population, trans youth, animals, and more. If you’d like a list, I’ve compiled some of my favorites here:


Note: This list is by no means complete! I encourage you to do your research, and find charities that speak to the causes that are near and dear to your heart. There are so many wonderful people doing wonderful work. Find something that calls to you and put your energies there. 

 

3. Roll up your sleeves. In non-COVID times, it’s so gratifying to look for hands-on ways to give back compassionately. Volunteering to foster abandoned dogs, weed a community garden in an under-resourced area, make phone calls on behalf of a cause you believe in… it’s all needed.

4. Practice kindness to others. Kindness is compassion in action. When we are intentionally kind, we are consciously raising the collective energy level for all. It doesn’t take much! Looking others in the eye, holding the door open, leaving a note for the FedEx delivery person that says, “You are awesome, thank you!” Again, these seem like small things, but no shift of energy is ever small. It all adds up.

5. Practice kindness to yourself. Releasing yourself from your own resentments reduces your personal suffering — and that means you’re reducing the collective suffering as well. When your own energy levels raise, you have more to give others. It’s impossible to be horrible to yourself and then go out and practice radical kindness to everyone else. It just doesn’t work that way. Self-love is an act of compassion! 

You’ve probably heard the story of the woman walking on the beach after a storm had washed up thousands of starfish. As the heat of the sun began to warm the sand, the starfish would surely dry out and die. So as she walked, she tossed each starfish she passed back into the waves.

“Why do you bother?” asked her little grandson, who was watching her actions. “There are thousands more than you could ever help. Throwing a few back doesn’t even matter,” he said.

“It matters to this one,” answered the woman, as she picked up another starfish and returned it to the sea. 

We can’t save everyone. We can’t fix everything. In such a divided world, we may wonder if our actions even make a difference. 

They do! Each time you spread kindness instead of suffering, each time you reach out in peace, you are healing the world. Compassion calls us to take our place in community, and care about one another. Your actions matter. YOU matter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Is your soul intrigued by the Vision Board process? It is a magical approach to setting intentions and manifesting more compassionate abundance in every area of your life. While the Vision Board Challenge is over, the full video series is shared in the Oracle Circle Membership. 

Click here to find out more about the Oracle Circle, Intentional Guidance for Your Spiritual Journey

Showing 34 comments
  • Christine B
    Reply

    Well said. Thanks for your reminder…for me…especially your message about self-love.

    • Anonymous
      Reply

      Hi Colette,
      Small acts, small shifts of energy ALL add up! Agreed whole heartedly. Thank you.

    • Stephanie
      Reply

      Dear Colette,
      2 1/2 years ago I’ve been a very positive inspiring contributing woman knowing her place in the world.
      Through the coming together of extreme unforeseen challenges i got so triggered in really all of my not healed issues that I sort of slipped out.
      It feels like I became my own shadow and the great life I had created with so much love and courage sort of aborted.
      When I try to be who I’ve always been and in my core I know that I am I feel like the worst hypocrite.
      Kindness, friendship and love feel acted and not real.
      It is really hard for me to find a beginning in authentic positivity and contributing again from that place.
      I cannot force myself to feel love.
      In my case, what would you recommend me?
      Thank you Colette.

      • Colette Baron-Reid
        Reply

        thank you for your sharing I know this is a difficult time for you. I suggest therapy. I am a big believer when you are really lost you get someone to guide you through the tunnel. xoxoxo hang in there.

  • Bob
    Reply

    Of all the people, humans, we are all on the earth , life is to enjoy for us together 🌎🌐👀❤ to be of love on creatures and animals also.

  • Angela
    Reply

    Thank you Colette. These messages are very much needed right now. You’ve pointed out so many ways we can act compassionately, including toward ourselves.
    In Gratitude,
    Angela

  • Jacqueline Doyle
    Reply

    Oh Colette, This is just what I needed today. I too believe that compassion, patience and tolerance
    is the source of Love and comes from the Soul. A beautiful light that shines from within
    and extends outward to all around us. Blessings……

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    Beautifully written, loved this ! Thank you… Rosann

  • Celestine Olaprath
    Reply

    Well said though sometimes it may be difficut to practicensure.

  • Kathryn
    Reply

    That was so inspiring. I felt every word in my heart. Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    Beautiful message and one that we all need to hear once again :). Thank you so much

  • Teresa Waddell
    Reply

    Thank you dear Colette!! These words are incredible & our world needs this so much!! God bless you Colette!!

  • Jan Schreiber
    Reply

    Yes! Yesterday, Valentines day, I was moved to fill my newsfeed with lots of loving posts, and in honor of the day of love I donated to people in need. Thank you!

  • Anja
    Reply

    Yesss, so important to be friendly to others. They have had a hard time especially in stores etc. While it is not yet possible to show it with a smile, it can be done by a kind word. Free off charge and it might brighten someones day.

  • Ginger Rast
    Reply

    Beautiful Thank YOU

  • ATHENA
    Reply

    I love this can you do a blog on Freezing and Avoiding in Stressful times due to FEAR AND DEPRESSION and LONELINESS ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR LIVING BY YOURSELF

  • Bea Poirier
    Reply

    I understand how difficult it must be for staff.while l am standing in the cashier lineup l practice meditation.So it keeps me centered and calm.l have had during this time of Covid a few rude encounters them not me.And l chalk it up to burnout and Carry on.

  • Michele Sciortino
    Reply

    Thank you, Colette! Love this message – do what we can, as often as we can and always from the heart.
    Sending loving vibes to you ~
    Michele

  • L Brown
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this article!

  • Kerry Hanna
    Reply

    What a beautiful reminder for all of us to do our part in co-creating a better, more compassionate and peaceful world. And “to spread our love around with abandon!” Thank you Colette for continuing to be such a beacon of hope and light for us all! 💗

  • Barbara
    Reply

    I love that you took the time to express this so well for us. Being human, we can never hear this too much- even if we think we have it!
    I especially noted the idea of “ charity” , understanding it in a new light, softer and inclusive of all manner of kindness and aware actions. Thanks for being so present and morally honest, as well as kind.

  • Sae
    Reply

    My husband’s parents (white immigrant from Europes) who were a part of the community to help racism, they co- owned Jazz bar in NYC, had interacted with amazing legend musicians, (at that time, most were poor, I heard) and watching the movie ( based on true story) “The Best of Enemies”, there are people who stand up and speak their truth even facing life threatening events… Courageous actions. Thank you, Thank you for this post.

  • Karen Hamilton
    Reply

    “Bearing witness to racial suffering without turning away is an opportunity to discover our humanity…”, a fantastic quote by Ruth King. I am reading this book now, and others, and tuning in to the many offerings available online for Black History Month. As a white educated woman, I am stunned and amazed at how ignorant of I am, and have been to the suffering of others right here and now in our communities. Thank you for introducing me to this amazing author.

  • Wendy pinder
    Reply

    Beautifully said,it makes you stop and think about your actions and try to be a better person .thankyou .

  • Nicole
    Reply

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this. I have seen so many times when going to the store (no matter whether it’s Stater Brothers or Walmart) a person who treats a worker like garbage because the store is out of something or there is too long of a line. I look at these people and wonder why they’re doing that or what happened to them that day to cause that. Because of the current situation with Covid I have come to be understanding that there will most likely be a long line to checkout and that they may be out of stuff I want or need because of high demand and because there is delays in shipments because of Covid. I thank you for writing this blog post about this topic because it makes me realize that I can do more acts of kindness to make others day be better even if only for those few minutes and that the little things add up and I am inspired to try and spread more joy than unhappiness. Thank you 🙂

  • Renee Sugar
    Reply

    Beautiful reminder Colette. It doesn’t ask much to be considerate, decent or kind. The simple gestures can make a big difference to someone. The other day I was waiting in
    line and the person ahead was short when it was time to pay. I slipped the missing amount toward the cashier and he responded. ” You don’t have to do that “. When I looked on the floor there was a case of coca cola. I said,
    ” You need to have your coke “. He said thank you dear and left.
    I also think that listening is a very valuable gift you can offer. Be interested, caring, try to understand someones’ perspective, or point of view. It expands our heart to focus on someone else. ” Be kind for everyone you meet it having their own challenges.” “Kindness is the mightiest force for good “.

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    I loved this blog! Every act of compassion no matter how small makes a difference in this world. My husband was notorious of holding a door open for anyone behind us passing through it. Many a time I would have to wait and smile several minutes while he was stuck holding the door for many more people. At first it was annoying, but it was his compassion for others to not just let the door go and walk away. Small acts like this do my heart glad. Blessings!

  • Dina
    Reply

    Thank you Collette for this reminder about how intentions & tone of voice , helping etc all matter now.

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    Beautiful message. Thank you for the reminders and new ideas on how to take compassionate action!

    • Suzie Mapp
      Reply

      Thankyou Colette❤

  • Patrick Ogbogbo
    Reply

    Thanks Colette. Our hearts need healing. Every little bit helps!

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    This is just the right thing at the right time. Great ideas for us. Thanks.

  • Giovanna
    Reply

    This was so beautiful to read! Thank you for sharing your compassion so clearly so we too can be reminded of positive, actionable ways to follow. You’re the best, Colette! Keep shining your beautiful light. We need it more than ever❤️🙏🏻🥰💜

  • Anonymous
    Reply

    I would thoroughly recommend the Vision Board Challenge. I have just finished mine, but have already felt some benefits in the form of a cheque arriving early and friends getting in touch. It has been such a fun project, but at the same time very profound, getting me to think deeply about how I really want my life to be and how I have to change to make it happen. Thank you, Colette. It was a great challenge! Vickie Sinha

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