Like many others, I am trying to get things ready for the Christmas season and today I was out and about in the snow with my list in hand. As I walked, I was worrying about things that seem so important now but will soon be forgotten on 26th December (e.g. should I stick to the traditional sage and onion stuffing or to try something more adventurous).
As I walked down the road, I could hear someone playing a rather sad and melancholy tune on their violin. As I drew nearer to the busker, I saw a row of makeshift beds under the bridge of the railway station. 'Beds' made from fruit pallets and crates, used 13tog quilts and sleeping bags. The haunting music was rather apposite for the scene I was witnessing. I imagined who slept here. What happened? What were their names? Favourite food? Had they eaten? In my mind, I imagined a man named Jim who just fell on hard times and was now sleeping under a bridge in the snow.
People were walking pass the row of beds, locked in their own little worlds (probably thinking about things like stuffing) and I usually walk pass too but this time was different for me. I had an overwhelming sense of compassion; not just for Jim and people that would be sleeping on these beds but for so many others that are going through really tough circumstances. It was Human Rights Day recently and it struck me that these rights are for everyone but not everyone has these rights.
Lao Tzu said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."
I say that a journey of compassion begins with one smile. A smile that says "I can see you" or "You matter". I wonder what would happen if I show a little bit more compassion to people like Jim? If I cared more about what is happening to humans across the globe?
I'm a huge believer in giving back to society in some way and was thrilled when The Power of Staff Networks Foundation was able to make a small donation to two charities this year. I want to do more of this in 2018 but most of all I want to be more compassionate. It doesn't cost a penny but could mean the world to someone to show we care. As an advocate of staff networks, I know that one of their greatest strengths is supporting people and showing care to those who feel alone or isolated in the workplace.
I wish I could do more for the 'Jims' of this world. Realistically, I cannot help everyone going through tough times but Ghandi said: "When Action Meets Compassion, lives change." So here's what I can do:
Through staff networks and coaching, continue to make work better for employees who figuratively feel left out in the cold in their workplace
Be a little bit more compassionate to people - whether they are on the train going to work or sleeping under the bridge that carries the train.
My Christmas shopping list is nearly done and of all the lovely gifts that I will be giving this Christmas, compassion to someone in dire need may not be the most expensive but to me, it'll be the most precious.
Merry Christmas Jim, from Cherron