Sharing the lessons along the way…

Inciting Epiphany

I had an interesting revelation today and one that I am pretty sure isn’t going to excite you very much.  If anything, it is more likely to incite you.

When I wrote my “When I see you, I see me” post, I shared that it was through seeing others that I was able to see myself.  I saw the good, the bad, the ugly in both of us.  I saw the vulnerable, the needy, the strengths and the limitations for us both.

When I become angry about something someone else does, eventually, I come back around to seeing myself in something they have done.  At that point, and at that point only, I have compassion, love and understanding for them instead of anger.

At that point, I also feel compelled to look at that aspect of myself to see how I can be more aware of it to avoid behaving or thinking of behaving in similar ways as those that spurred my anger to begin with.

I have a dark or shadow side.  We all do.  We don’t always act on it.  We aren’t always even aware of it, nor do we always acknowledge that it exists.  I may write about my ability to shift my perspective, but I am shifting it from the shadows into the light of day.

I choose to do this because I prefer the light of day, quite frankly, over the darkness.  I share it with you because I believe you, too, prefer it and strive to stay in the light of day instead of in the shadows.

I think we can all agree on these points.  I share the rest, in hopes that it merely incites some reflection and pause.

Would you think I had gone mad if I said that I felt compassion, love and understanding for the shooter in the recent tragedy in Newtown?  If I said that I could see my own darkness in his darkness, would you tell me I had lost it?

When I see you, I see me” applies just as much to him in this situation—at least I think it does to the best of my understanding.  Doesn’t it?

My love and compassion for the shooter does not at all take away from the love and compassion I feel for the families and the community of Newtown.  In fact, it seems to expand it.

More of my energy is going in their direction because it isn’t competing as much with my outrage over the tragedy.  (Notice I said “as much” because I too still haven’t stopped feeling the outrage.)

It doesn’t change my feelings about the broken systems in our country, but it does allow me some clarity about what role I can play in helping to create change within those broken systems.

When I see you, I see me.  No matter what you’ve done.

Comments on: "Inciting Epiphany" (4)

  1. I think compassion has been lost in our society today. We can ban guns and make more laws such as NDAA, but until we teach, learn, and show compassion we will never be safe from the violence. ” Jesus would have made a good Bhudist”.


  2. I am so feeling the same way about this tragedy but have been hesitant in sharing it with others because I think people will say I have lost it. I AM feeling compassion for the shooter as well. What kind of pain must have he been in to bring him to doing such a thing? He was obviously hurting and I truly do not believe he wanted to hurt those children in this way. He wanted to wake people up in some way and he has awakened the world with his dark side, Did he think he was the “Catcher in the Rye” preventing all those innocents from losing their innocence once adulthood is reached? I could not help but feel love and understanding for what may have caused his actions. I cannot stop myself these days for feeling compassion for the ones that invoke vioence and suffering on others as some way of healing their own. You are so brave for speaking of your own compassion here. Isn’t that the true grace of compassion though? To feel compassion towards the obvious is a given, but to feel compassion and see yourself in the dark side of humanity and others is to me true compassion which helps in understanding ourselves. Compassion should not end with ones we love automatically but should include all. It does not change our intitial anger and sorrow or condone the behaviour but let us not forget those that need our compassion the most. My hope is that this recent tragedy may bring on some real meaningful change for mental health and for our society to reach out instead of casting out those that are pleading for help before other tragedies follow. Thanks for sharing, it is so important that you did.


    • Nina, Thank you so much for sharing that you were feeling the same. It is indeed easy for us to extend love, compassion and understanding to those “like” us. It might not come as readily for those who seem so different, but that doesn’t mean it also isn’t something we should consider. Gandhi and Mother Theresa lived this way. Jesus and Buddha did as well.


      • Exactly, and why I want to read “The Lotus and the Lily” which speaks of Jesus’ and Buddha’s parallel teachings. Peace Pilgrim also lived this way and speaks of her exeperiences where her compassion was tested in volatile and potentially dangerous situations where she faced violent indivuduals. Her display of compassion, love and kindness towards these individuals and her non-judgemental approach worked miracles. She truly walked the walk.


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Kitt O'Malley

Bipolar Writer and Mental Health Advocate

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