Walk a mile?


First question I asked of self,

would I offer to walk a mile in someone else's shoes if I knew their shoes
were as uncomfortable as this?

Second question of self...
why do I even need to ask such a thing?

Life...so damn difficult at times.  Hard for every single one of us in one way or another, 
all these struggles that take hold.   Ages ago, while in conversation with someone,
I said that everyone bore pain in their own way and sometimes others could see it
and sometimes they could not...
that it was easy when
someone wore their wounds on the outside - obvious and hard to ignore - 
like a burn or a bad scar,
but what about the wounds that weren't visible?
They're still ever present, 
there is just no way for another person to know.
We often don't tell.   Can't tell.    But they are with us nonetheless.

So back to this shoe and the sudden avalanche of emotion...

I need to ask 
 I need to remind myself to never forget compassion  

and too, when compassion doesn't come when I myself might need it most,
I need to forgive what others cannot see.


Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Photo credits:  Woman's slapshoe, 1625-1649 AD, England, The Greig Collection of Ladie's Shoes;  The Story Teller, mural project for Fellini Gallery, Berlin, by Michael Vincent Manalo.


  1. Sometimes it is difficult to forgive and to forget. I often think that forgivness belongs only to God, the best I can do is close a door and walk away, with my burden and my pain, yes, but I try to keep the door closed and it gets better.
    First I need to offer compassion to myself, if I don't, nobody will. It is a tough world, I have to count only on my strength.

  2. i'll think about this and comment later, but in the meantime maybe a hug is in order.

  3. hug indeed

    we so often forget the unbearable pain inside

  4. i don't believe we can walk in another's shoes but perhaps we can try to walk beside them, if we have insight. goodnight and another hug, talk if you need to, you know my addie.

  5. sometimes compassion is there but we are unable to see it. wishing you peace of mind.

  6. there is so much we don't know, it might kill us to know all of it.

  7. Compassion is probably one of the most beautiful and loving gifts we can give to each other. I would add to that a dose of acceptance. Allowing people to be who and what they are with no judgement, just peace and acceptance. Hard shoes to wear -- but well worth the blisters. Beautiful and thoughtful post.

  8. Perhaps some forget compassion because their own pain has never gone deep enough to pierce. I believe there are some people that can't be hurt. Sad.

    We come to term with our own pain in different ways. If you are lucky, you remember your pain and are able to show compassion for others. Some never can.

    Here is a hug. I'm sqeezing your hand. Whatever your wound, I hope you can let it heal.
    xx, Carol

  9. My dear blog friends ~ what kind words here! But don't worry, I am ok, I have not meant to mislead, only to touch on a subject that felt important to pay attention to. And also, to say out loud (via the "publish" button) a little bit of what I (usually) keep to myself...I held my breath while doing so :>]]

    I love hearing all you have to say on this subject. Some of us have been blogging together for a long time now, we've said a lot already and shared even more. Aren't we fortunate to have this?! And we all have personal work that keeps us engaged and moving forward and "what-iffing" and asking even more questions - of each other, and of process. I'm grateful!

    So thank you for being here. Truly.

  10. Walking alongside too... in my own shoes, which are not particularly comfortable ;-)

  11. It's good to read posts like this. Even if we never meet, I feel that I know you, and so many others through this blog connection we have forged.

    I think that we are lucky to have been given a place to be real.

    I think that it is brave to be real, and I want to thank you for doing your best at that.

  12. You, my dear, are always compassionate...

    except, perhaps, occasionally, with yourself... like kinda hard on yourself, a little, sometimes?

    Beautiful pictures and like the reminder that sometimes we are not sensitive to the difficulties others hold within themselves. Guess that's a double reminder... not to hold them in quite so much...

  13. On good days...when I don't let the noise of the world drown out my inner self...I assume there is struggle being overcome when I meet anyone. Isn't that why we're here? To learn something. To overcome something? It's what takes us to our better selves.

    (Oftentimes I wonder if we have pre-selected our own struggles before we landed here...more and more, I think so...)

    And so yes, for hidden struggles...A cautious approach. A listening heart. A few questions just to start uncovering the story behind the person that stands before me...A deep breath...a genuine smile...

    even when...

    even when someone may be prickly or even nasty or closed. They are most clearly struggling aren't they?

    even when...they are silent, and quiet and hiding...

    a slower approach maybe to draw them out.

    I have a husband who was an abused child. He was never "taught" happiness or self-love or strength...

    He was taught fear, and obedience and any strength he showed was broken down.

    It is much much harder for him to navigate his own failings and even minor struggles...He has no "muscle memory" for laughing and unfettered joy...and so he doesn't easily laugh at himself or shrug things off...in fact, I don't think his body can easily generate endorphins because he didn't generate them as a child. He has never experienced a "runner's high" even after exercising for hours...

    And yet...

    He is a Master at navigating the failings of others. And his heart remains open despite his parents effort to close it. His sun shines today but there are days when the clouds move through his eyes and try to take him.

    We are many wounded children...some have just figured out how to cope better than others. And those that are coping better set the path for others to follow. But only in certain areas. For most definitely, my husband leads me on the path of selfless love...every day...and I lead him on the path of unfettered joy and self-love...every day

    None of us gets the full package. We can only hope to play our best hand with the cards we've been dealt.

    Thank you for reminding me to tread lightly.

  14. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a kind comment on my blog. It has in turn lead me to yours and the wonder and beauty I find here is just lovely and quite uplifting.
    I'll be back - often.

  15. beautiful words - I personally think compassion and non-judgemental acceptance are companions walking hand-in-hand. If only they weren't so difficult to practice, the world would be a very different place.