Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Empathy in a Time of Uncertainty - Heartful Art by Raphaella Vaisseau

Today is March 31, 2020. Most of us have been staying at home for awhile now as the people of the world come to grips with the pandemic of Covid_19. Anna Galland posted a tweet over two weeks ago on March 16th that I came across today and I feel it's still relevant: "You can safely assume that everyone you talk to today has *something* going haywire personally ..." All of us, around the globe, are finding ways to cope, discovering new ways of being, and for some, enduring the day to day challenges of saving lives. I think we can all agree that gratitude helps. Empathy does too.
     I'm reminded of a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?" Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster goes further: "Empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner."
     A friend in Denmark, Melinda Knudsen, offers empathy counseling through her company, Empathy Catalyst. A student and practioner of nonviolent education, Melinda offers empathic support and communication coaching to groups and individuals around the world. A perfect skill for the challenges we face during this unusual time of our lives.
     As Anna reminds us, "Be kind. We're all figuring this out." If you're struggling, Melinda may be able to help. Find her on Facebook.
-Raphaella Vaisseau