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Posted By Opening the Heart
Posted By Opening the Heart

 Deteriorating Compassion Disorder (DCD): A soul condition leaving one feeling disconnected from others, spiritually alone and emotionally empty. Symptoms often include irritability; anger; procrastination; not laughing very much; eating Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Macadamian Nut ice cream in large quantities (which, actually, many times, increases symptoms)......jb

So, several years ago in my clinical practice, I saw two different women for a first time visit, separated by about a month. What was striking about these two women was that they told me the same story about each having been in a car accident where neither was at fault, but another driver had run a stop light and crashed into the two women's cars. What I found so intriguing was their polar opposite responses to the same script. The first woman was still quite angry: "What a jerk! This was the last thing I needed. I hate buying a new car..." The second woman told me that after the accident, she had an awareness of how short and precious life is: "No one got really hurt. I have insurance...." I realized that at a deep level of truth, this was, perhaps, not two women but one woman at two different ends of the 'compassion continuum'.... I've been at both of those different ends.

 The past three days the T.D.'s (Technology Demons) have laid seige. On Sunday Night, we came home to find sewage backed up in our basement sink. On Monday our internet and cable t.v. had a sit-down protest. On Tuesday, my home copier/fax machine had a tantrum and died. Deteriorating Compassion Disorder was settling in for a stay.

Last night, my friend David and I went out for dinner and a bad movie.  We go on a Wednesday night when it' s half price night and we can take advantage of our new status as 'elder Americans'. My agreement with David is that we see really bad movies, ones that our wives would never see, then we critique them. Last night was "Predators": "So I thought Adrian Brody was better in his role in "The Pianist"; or "I thought the cinematography reminded me of "Umbreallas of Cherbourg"; or "This was the worst 'worst movie' we've seen- it was even an hour and a half too long!"

With a connection with my friend, DCD was lifting. We laughed and enjoyed friendship together.... And it occurred to me, again, that it was the same me- at two different ends of the Compassion Continuum.

I've seen this transformation many times during an Opening the Heart weekend. It's not unusual to see participants at the Opening Circle on Friday night experiencing some DCD symptoms. When I speak into that circle I sometimes say that when we look into another's eyes and see 'difference', we experience fear and separation. By Sunday, I see many people looking into each others eyes, seeing 'no difference' and experiencing compassion and connection. And so, for a moment the Deteriorating Compassion Disorder is gone and we see with Beginners Eyes, and the reason that 'moment' is so important is that we can remember our Greatness.

With Love and Respect, Jon

Posted By Opening the Heart

A most amazing, beloved friend of mine sent me this poem the other day.

I realized in the silver unfolding of that day, how words reach in and rearrange priorities, how we can be urged, guided and loved into more compassionate living, simply by our willingness to receive beauty.

In this spirit, I offer this poem, for the heart of all seekers.

May it lift a tender place into gentle flight.


 Morning Song

by Marcia F. Brown


Here, I place
a blue glazed cup
where the wood
is slightly whitened.
Here, I lay down
two bright spoons,
our breakfast saucers, napkins
white and smooth as milk.


I am stirring at the sink,
I am stirring
the amount of dew
you can gather in two hands,
folding it into the fragile
quiet of the house.
Before the eggs,
before the coffee
heaving like a warm cat,
I step out to the feeder-
one foot, then the other,
alive on wet blades.

Air lifts my gown – I might fly –

This thistle seed I pour
is for the tiny birds.
This ritual,
for all things frail
and imperiled.
Wings surround me, frothing
the air. I am struck
by what becomes holy.


A woman
who lost her teenage child
to an illness without mercy,
said that at the end, her daughter
sat up in her hospital bed
and asked:
What should I do?
What should I do?

Into a white enamel bath
I lower four brown eggs.

You fill the door frame,
warm and rumpled, kiss
the crown of my head.
I know how the topmost leaves
of dusty trees
feel at the advent
of the monsoon rains.

I carry the woman with the lost child
in my pocket, where she murmurs
her love song without end:

Just this, each day:
Bear yourself up on small wings 
to receive what is given.
Feed one another
with such tenderness,
it could almost be an answer.

Posted By Opening the Heart

Someone recently asked why they should even consider experiencing an Opening the Heart Workshop™. Here's the list I gave them to consider:


You're living life with a 'safety first' approach.

You want to be more 'whole hearted' in your relationships.

You tend to substitute a fantasy life for the real thing.

You wish you were able to be more spontaneous.

You spend a lot of time being anxious.

You'd love to live life more gracefully.

You live a constricted existence.

You'd like to be more genuine in your interactions with others.

There's a compulsive or desperate quality to your actions.

You'd love your responses to others and to situations to be more appropriate.

Real fulfillment is absent from your life.

You long for clarity of expression.

You'd love to be more gratedul and less grouchy.

You'd like to feel that you had more choices.

You live in the past or future rather than the present.

Your responses don't match the situation.

You are hesitant or tentative in your interactions with others.

You are inhibited in living up to your potential.

You'd love to be more 'present'.


We're very confident that the workshop can help any of the above conditions. If you haven't done so already you might like to investigate further at The Opening the Heart Workshop™


Posted By Opening the Heart

Jon's fishing story brought to mind a time in the early 60s when I was a student in London. This was pre-Beatles, and our live entertainment was mainly folk music played in the pubs of the Kings Road in Chelsea. There were a lot of really talented singers and folk groups. Many of them happened to be from Ireland. One of my favorite songs of the time was The Shoals of Herring. Hope you enjoy this great version of the song as sung by contemporary folk singer Luke Kelly: