Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 51 seconds

I just spent a few hours discussing a topic that is near and dear to my heart. It is called compassion. The group met a Boise State University and invited me as a guest. Turns out there are a bunch of likeminded folks in this town.

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

I fell in love with the concept of compassion when I listened to the Dalai Lama in Sun Valley a few years ago. Businesses besides mine are actively engaged in strutting their compassionate selves. Trying desperately to spread the word about the amazing power of using the word to explain how we live our core values.

Showing compassion

I had the fortune to be exposed the super concentrated version summed up into 4 words. “Show That You Care” Howard Olivier shared the words with me and they stuck.

It has served me well in my 30-year career as a paramedic and will remain one of my guiding principles for the rest of my life. Like a pebble in a pond I believe that is just a matter of time before the ripples return. “Saying that you care” on the other hand is like peeing in a wet suit. (you get a warm feeling for a short time, then it’s gone)

Although I would gladly have traded my life to save another in my EMS (Emergency Medical Services) world, (and nearly did more time than I care to admit), that is not the ante for this little game.

Here is my hand

Here is my hand

The consensus among those that I spoke with was that it is important to expose everyone to good role models, have great tools to use when confronted with the opportunity to act in a compassionate way. Living compassionately is a way of looking at things that takes practice, patience, and understanding.

Not everyone who is wandering is lost

There is confusion that compassion it is about helping, sure there is an element of that, but not everyone wants help who needs it. To really get it, you need to connect someone’s soul with yours. I have done it with a look, a wink & a nod, a thumbs up, a text, a note, a random act of kindness, and the most powerful of all, a hug.

Compassion is an active word much more powerful than empathy to me. Being compassionate is a conscious choice you can make. I believe that it starts when you realize that life is not a football game. In other words, winning isn’t about how much you have, that you beat anyone, or the score, rather it is about making a difference. I have learned how to incorporate compassion into just about every aspect of my life.

Is it a bottomless pit of giving?

I have limits, and boundaries that I protect. Things are not always black and white. To be perfectly honest, I am disgusted with panhandling as an example. I can only hope the young woman I surprised with a $100 bill, packed up her begging station and did something good with my gift. Honestly, I am exhausted by the dichotomy between third world and first world problems.

Rather than throwing my hands up in disgust, I remain involved and engrossed in the discussion. I also marvel at how our community deals with the spectacle of camping on the streets despite plenty of housing opportunities and the like.

I am so convinced that being compassionate is the right thing to do, I am offering others a taste of the sweet nectar that comes gushing from my “Pay it forward program” and my association with Contractors Who Care which I look over for my remodeling association NARI. (National Association of the Remodeling Industry)

By actively practicing and showing compassion by “Showing that I care”, I discovered that it is like looking through NVGs (night vision goggles), once you have the compassion filter on, you just see things differently, and much more clearly in the dark.

To this day I hear stories of how my past coworkers gave patient the “Levitch Treatment”. Or how I turned them around from burnout in EMS (Emergency Medical Service) profession by sharing my secret weapon.


NVG view in pitch black conditions

Show that you care!

Look in your contacts next time you have the energy and your head is in a good place. Reflect upon your week in a quiet moment and reach out to someone you know that needs some support.

Let’s be compassionate members of our community and find the niche were it feels good to volunteer or lend a helping hand to another human being. Current events in Europe make me want to stand up and be counted, how about you?

In the end, we have options. You can easily go through life avoiding these things. If you are lucky you may never need a hand or feel the urge to get involved. What is the fun in that? I say. “Get a little on you”, and see what I mean. I double dog dare you. As my dear friend Brandon LaRosa always says, “Tell me a story” about how you got involved or some results of a compassionate interaction, so I know it is working.

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