I’m sorry, friends, I’ve not been writing. In all honesty, when I get
a few moments to myself, all I can do is art. Above is a triptych
inspiration board I am making using the left over scraps from other
projects adhered to a cardboard box that arrived from Amazon with
something or other we thought we needed. You know how that is.
A longtime client told me recently why she has been coming back all
these years to classes and sessions with me for support with her
parenting. It was simple. She said,
Empathy takes practice.
I couldn’t agree more. It is true that learning to listen and really
care in a world that does not teach or value these things takes
ongoing practice. Our kids need empathy from us in order to feel safe,
in order to be open to what we have to teach, and in order to trust us
enough to bring their struggles to us.
But of course, empathy isn’t just a tool for life with kids! There is
much to care about in our world; an increasing amount. I don’t know
about you, but I have several friends going through really big,
difficult things. I am feeling so much right along with them. And then
there’s the wider world. Today my concern for the Earth is looming.
So yes, the demand for empathy—and action aligned with this kind of
genuine care for the lives of others—it’s enormous! Empathy fatigue
is understandable. We get shut down and numbed over when the things
that demand our care exceed our personal capacity.
I realized today that I create art in part because it is one of the
things that protects my capacity to be moved. Somehow creating
things—even just with the scraps and left over bits from our
life—somehow, doing this helps me hold and continue to feel all that
is happening. Art also helps me remember that I am not the ultimate
Holder, but merely Her face and hands 🙂
Dear parent. You are working SO hard. Always, every day. Perhaps now
more than ever. If you are feeling empathy fatigue, you are not alone.
My hope is that you will find ways today to protect your capacity to
be moved. Your feeling, responding heart is exactly what the world and
your family most need. You are a treasure.