Building a Compassion Bridge with Your Intent & Action

Build a bridge across uncertainty by digging into what you believe and what I believe without judging or assuming. Let’s reach out with the intent to understand one another while honoring one another’s right to non-violently disagree.

Build a bridge across divisiveness by deeply anchoring into our humanness — those parts of us that we hold in common and that are powered by compassion. Let’s acknowledge our fears and judgments that stop us from being a welcoming presence of community.

Build a bridge across mistrust by changing the “I am out to get you” culture to an “I am listening to understand” one. Let’s withhold judgment, not defend our positions, and realize that maybe we aren’t 100% right and the other 100% wrong.

Build a bridge across… (read more)

Create a daring paradigm of compassion by building a bridge of intent and action. Join the 5-week course beginning October 16: register online

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa.

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

How to Create a Cable of Peace: Being Compassion

I often wake around 3:38 a.m. On Monday morning I grabbed my phone to see the time (3:38 a.m.) and saw a horrific ABC news notification — 12 people gunned down in Las Vegas. Before I left the house at 6:30 a.m. the number had climbed to over 20 people. By the time the number reached 50+ victims, I was in empathy overload. I was paralyzed and unable to access my inner peace. I was overwhelmed by my sorrow-filled disbelief and the grief that shattered many connections in the peace cable of the collective. I felt the individual strands shred and the weave of the collective peace cable loosen as many of us experience empathy overload.

Later, after the pressure of my empathy overload was relieved, I reflected on both the violence perpetrated and my reaction to it. It was humbling, and a bit embarrassing, how unaware I was  — how caught I became in the escalating chaotic uncertainty. By anchoring in the moment, I was able to feel how the upheaval obscured, and in some cases, severed fragile connections to peace.  Read more…

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ vanessa@intentandaction.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

 

Living Compassionately by Filling the Potholes

I am a recovering fixer. You know, that person who jumps in to fill the potholes of another’s suffering. Unfortunately as I fixer, I am not always good at choosing the best materials for filling the potholes of another person.

Being in recovery means that I acknowledge my feelings of empathy while not allowing them to overwhelm me. I no longer get stuck in the fear-heavy emotions that rage at me. Instead I am aware of the angst, the suffering in those who surround me. I recognize how I get triggered.

 

Are you a recovering fixer? Read more about moving from fixing to being compassion’s presence.

 

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ vanessa@intentandaction.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

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The Lovingkindness Of An Intimate Stranger

I am that person who starts conversations with strangers. As I stand in a long check out line, I feel the tension rise when out of my mouth pops a conversation starter. Walking down the street, I spontaneously compliment someone on their clothes, hair style, or smile. Those words of engagement are often uttered before I even recognize the precursor thought. My interactions are based upon the beliefs that we are all part of creation — that is is our right and responsibility to share joy with one another.

It wasn’t until last week that I really understood on a deep soul level the impact the lovingkindness one stranger to another. Not once, not twice, but three times I was the recipient of this kind of compassionate engagement. During those interactions, someone connected heart to heart to me. The words they uttered shifted my perception of myself in the moment as well as challenged the way that I normally see myself.

Read more about connecting with the Intimate Stranger

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ vanessa@intentandaction.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

How to Become Us: The Factors Behind the Facts

It is everywhere. Those subtle nudges to get us to think and act in certain ways. When we do not agree, others attempt to shame us. Instead of living from our authentic core, guilt seeps into the cracks of our being. Regret at our inability to conform powers the fear that we are wrong. We may even be embarrassed about who we are. None of this is because we have done anything wrong. It is because we do not agree with a conclusion another person or group has made about a series of facts.

To live prophetically, you’ve got to be questioning and looking at factors behind the facts. You’ve got to be aware that there are contradictions, says Thomas Merton. This quote has been resonating with me more and more. While questioning and looking at the factors behind the facts might not make me the most popular person, I cannot seem to stop. This close examination is my way of getting the greatest understanding of someone’s conclusion.

Read more…

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ vanessa@intentandaction.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and  Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

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Fear is so pervasive that I can feel its oily thickness, smell its acrid odor, taste its bile. We live in a time that is driven by fear-filled reactions. So overwhelmed, we are unable to take that first step of hope.

Not too long ago, I made a decision to limit the amount of news that I watch. Maybe if I stop hearing about the skyrocketing murder rate in the city, bigotry-spurred violence in the nation, the damage of storms precipitated by climate change, and the political instability in the world, I will be able to reignite my ember of courage and incinerate the pervasive fear growing in my core.

A quiet voice inside gently whispers, “Limit what you watch, but do not run and hide from reality. Know that to burrow into your self is to give into your fear.” Read more…

 

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ hurst.vanessa@gmail.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

Compassion Along The Life Spectrum

vanessa f hurst, ms

When I was in sixth grade, a new family moved into our small town of 2500 people. I was excited to see a new face and gain a new friend. My 13-year old self was convinced that the new girl, Jenny, would be the center of attention. Everyone would want to be her friend. I was wrong. In the less than three months Jenny was at our school, I was one of a scant handful of people who befriended her.

When Jenny and her family moved, I remember being envious of their vagabond ways. I saw her life as one of rolling opportunities of discovery. The at best complacency and at worst hostility, toward someone who was not like us really shocked me. For, in my friendship Jenny, I was introduced to a life not available in that very small, very Catholic town.

When I was fourteen, not too long before I was confirmed in the Catholic Church, my godmother gave me a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The book was a rich unfolding of a different spiritual path. As I was drawn into the story, the way that I saw my relationship with God changed. My own spiritual journey was transformed.

These life altering moments happened within months of each other to this small town Catholic girl from a working class family. Instead of shying away from people and things that were different, I relished new experiences and new people. These were opportunities to learn and grow. I was eager to learn about life that was not like mine and figure out ways to make my life richer.

Read More…

 

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ hurst.vanessa@gmail.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

 

Reverse the Spiral of Compassion Fatigue

An unfortunate common thread in our lives today is that we are tired, bone tired. Many people that I speak to tell me how fatigued they are. The circumstances of the past months have contributed to an exhausted populous stuck in affective empathy. Feeling so deeply, empaths (we) get stuck in emotions of angst, sorrow, and suffering. So mired in these draining feelings, empaths (we) are unable to use the power of awareness to move from empathy to compassion.

But, affective empathy results in the inability to be the lights of compassion to the self and the world. Without adequate compassion, the suffering in our self and the world increases. We are overwhelmed by all the emotions, and they trap us. We get stuck in a downward spiral of compassion fatigue. Awareness is key to reversing the downward spiral to an empowering spiral of compassionate and peace.

We stop the downward spiral when we are aware our self and the emotions that triggered our current condition. Until we can quiet, to some degree, the tumult inside our self, we are not even capable of naming what is at the root of our fatigue. Once we name the roots, we gain the power to reverse the spiral from compassion fatigue to empowering compassionate presence.

Until we are a compassionate presence for our self, we cannot be a calming presence for others. Instead, we feed off of the angst, fear, and suffering of another. And, they feel off our ours. We do our work so that we can do the work of the world. That work is compassion. We begin by intentionally listening to the four aspects of our self — body, mind, spirit, and heart.

Really listen. Listen to the words, their tone, feel your body. Through open minded reflection upon what is heard, you notice the maelstrom of emotions that you react from. Perhaps you feel fear that manifests as anger or you are anxious and are brusque in your interactions. Once you are aware of your internal maelstrom and its impact not only on yourself but also on others, notice how others are caught up in theirs. Then notice how your state of being contributes to the collective chaos.

Instead of blaming and shaming yourself as the source of your fatigue, gently ask, “What do I need?” Listen to the voice of your body, mind, spirit, and heart. However you need to be self compassionate, do it. Give yourself the grace of self care. Unless you are relatively angst free and aware of your fears, you are unable to help others.

After you have begun to alleviate your compassion fatigue, pay attention to how others experience suffering. Really be aware of the tumult. While it is difficult to “put yourself in another’s shoes,” you can befriend them in their moment of suffering. Be present to them. Listen with our body, mind, spirit, heart. Give them what they need — not what you think they need or what you want to give them. Compassion might take the form of gentle listening, a hug, assisting them in securing resources. There is no limit to your compassion.

Say that — “There is no limit to my compassion.” Let it sink into your being. Feel it resonate into your cells. Make it a somatic knowing. Know that when you believe that there are no limits, compassion echoes in all your actions, all your words, and even your thoughts. You waken to the knowing that you are an emissary of compassion.

Maybe I am a dreamer. (I hope I am not the only one.) I am a dreamer who is fatigued by a waking nightmare of dissension, polarization, othering, and unspeakable suffering. I am a dreamer who believes in the absolute, transformative power of compassion. I am a dreamer. Will you dream with me?

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ hurst.vanessa@gmail.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

Compassion in the Face of Evil

Watching the news often catches me aware. I am horrified by the reported actions of others. I generally try to stay away from calling something evil, but lately I do not know how to describe some actions as other than reprehensible, and, yes, evil. I do not understand how some people self righteously hurt others. This premeditated behavior has me questioning how I can be compassion’s presence in a world gone awry.

As I hear the words of reaction pouring out of my mouth and toward the broadcaster flickering on the television screen, I recognize that I am judging instead of knowing that at the core of the violent behavior is suffering. I forget that I can judge the behavior as hurtful while compassionately holding the perpetrator accountable for their actions. In my angst and anger, my spark of compassion seems to extinguish.

After minutes, or hours, of angst, I feel it — that warm glow of my compassion spark resurrecting. In that moment I am suffused with the joy-filled knowing that my spark of compassion can never be extinguished. In times of great angst, it provides a pathway to the release of toxins from my body, mind, spirit, and heart. Toxicity levels lowered, compassion flows through my being re-igniting the fire in my heart. Now comes the hardest part — arguing with myself over just how to be compassion’s presence to a perpetrator of suffering.

Acknowledging my own personal struggle opens me to being compassionate to both perpetrator and victim. It is easy to practice compassion to one whose suffering is visible — who has been directly harmed. For the perpetrator, I must find the grace to stop objectifying them and fashion my compassionate response.

Compassion is not possible unless I acknowledge the behavior is somewhere along the continuum from disturbing to downright reprehensible. Compassion asks that I do not justify or excuse the behavior; rather, that I seek ways to alleviate suffering that stems from its roots. That suffering is present in both the victim and the perpetrator.

My personal reflection propels me into my own dark side, my shadow. I recognize that I wouldn’t be so angry unless the behavior touched something in me. I search for what their behavior is pinging off of in me. I identify what judgments I make, how I defend my own beliefs, and how I objectify people based upon their behavior. And, then I find the deeply hidden, repulsive glimmer of who I do not want to be, but who I am. The behavior might not be the same, but the energy of the glimmer resonates with the actions of the other.

Before I am able to show compassion to the other, I have to acknowledge the roots of my own woundedness — of the suffering inside myself that unconsciously informs my reactions toward the one I would objectify. Through the practice of self-compassion I not only heal myself, but I become a font of strength. By owning my shadow, compassion is my response even when I struggle to judge or condemn another for their actions.

Compassion requires mindfulness. Unless we are aware of our judgments of others and defenses of our self, we are unable to be compassion’s presence in a polarized, increasingly violent world. With the stance of the objective observer, we are able to maintain a balanced compassion core while recognizing how the actions of another trigger us. Instead of thinking negative thoughts or saying hurtful words about the person who exhibits disturbing behavior, our initial thoughts are, “How can I alleviate the suffering that they spewed? And, how much the perpetrator, must suffer.” Those thoughts trigger compassion of the person not of their action.

Objective, we do not judge. We do not defend. Our energy is no longer held hostage by suppositions and assumptions. We are really free to notice what is happening. No matter how terrible, how evil, how bad the behavior is, the armor of our objectivity protects us from engaging in ways that exacerbate the other’s behavior. We do not become part of the escalation; the person’s behavior is their own.

Being compassionate in these circumstances never equals agreement. Because we refuse to enable, we may be judged as devoid of compassion. But, our compassion is present on the deepest levels. We hold space for the person to experience the breadth of their behavior — to learn the life lesson, no matter how difficult or painful, that is inherent in the bad behavior.

The compassion of “I love you enough” holds a person accountable for their actions. We trust that, with compassion, the perpetrator comes to know the ramifications of their behavior.  Even if they do not, we do not allow our self to be consumed by the angry face of evil perpetrated.

The compassion of “I love you enough,” for me, is the most difficult form of compassion. I am required to be gentle and love unconditionally while not enabling another person’s hurtful behavior. Being compassion in this way is not easy, but it is our most deeply authentic practice of compassion.

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Synchrony™ sessions to assist clients in navigating their life paths with intuition.  Contact Vanessa @ hurst.vanessa@gmail.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017

Heart-Soul Perception

The world we live in is amazing. When we get stuck in the routine of the day, we miss opportunities to see the wonder. By listening with the ears of our heart and seeing through the eyes of our soul, we move beyond the mundane. With a shift of perception we are propelled into the extraordinary.  Through this heart-soul perception, we access our inner wisdom — our intuition.

Now, I can almost see the creaking door of denial edging shut. I can almost feel that denial rising from the depth of being. I hear some of you say, “Me? I am not intuitive.” But, intuition, whether conscious or unconscious, is the chief navigator of our life. Throughout the day we respond to our intuition in ways that we may not even be aware.

How do we move from unconsciously reacting to intentionally responding with our intuition? By accepting that we are intuitive, identifying intuitive cues, deciphering the meaning of our inner wisdom, and responding to the received message with gentle love. These 4-steps are not linear; rather, each is occurs at any point in the cycle of evolving intuitive awareness.

Accepting: Acknowledge that you are intuitive. You fall some where along the intuitive awareness continuum. Accept that no matter where you fall upon the continuum, you are evolving as you gain additional intuitive skills. Perhaps your abilities are not as physically evident as another’s. You may not see auras or hear voices. This does not mean that you are not psychically connected to your intuition. Your intuition may manifest in ways you are not aware. It often is an inner knowing that rises into your consciousness.

Try: Each morning when you wake, affirm, “I am intuitive. My intuition makes itself known to me at least three times today.” Then notice how it manifests. Make notes how your received your inner knowing and the message.

Identifying: Sometimes we receive information without being aware of how our inner knowing informs our actions. It may present in the words of a friend or a physical reaction in the body. Unless we are mindful, we miss these intuitive cues. When we are mindfully aware, we are better able to identify the cues of our inner wisdom.

Try: Close your eyes and attend to your breathing. With each inhale, bring your breath deeper into your body until you are taking belly breaths. As your breath travels throughout your body, notice any sensations. Are there messages in those sensations? Open your eyes. Let your awareness go to where it needs to go. Note what your are drawn to. 

Deciphering: At times we get information that seems to be more of a distraction and less of an intuitive knowing. Or, we may recognize a nudge but have no idea what is it telling us. Instead of negating or ignoring the message we receive, we remain objective and openminded to any information. With this stance, we are better able to increase our awareness and decode the message. It becomes easier to recognize additional cues.

Try: When you recognize an intuitive message, ask yourself what it is saying. If you are unsure, look up the word’s definition, consult a dream dictionary, or look up the symbolic meaning. Ask for additional information. Listen to the words of another to discern the meaning of your inner knowing. I also journal to find meaning. There is no right or wrong way to uncover the meaning of your inner wisdom. Deciphering takes practice.

Respond: Every intuitive nudge we receive requires a response. It might mean being loving and gentle even when you feel like reacting in harsh and cruel ways. Our response is fashioned through asking, “How is the inner wisdom requiring me to act?” Our answer is an echo of our authentic self. And, each time we respond instead of react, our connection to our intuition strengthens.

Try: Name an intuitive morsel you have deciphered. Ask yourself, “How am I called to respond?” (Even if you are unable to answer this question definitively, respond to the best of your ability. It is not that you are lacking in intuition. You might not have all the information needed to decipher the message). Our intuition guides us into the most loving, gentle response. It powers our honest response in difficult situations. We have only to trust.

Intuitive awareness is not for the faint hearted. It requires courage, trust, and curious daring. When we connect with our intuition, we peer into the extraordinary world. We see the amazing and are given opportunities to respond in loving, gentle, transformative ways. Through our inner wisdom we are not longer stuck within the chaos; we journey the path of transformation.

Vanessa F. Hurst, ms, is a Mindful Coach, Compassion Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Author who weaves her inner wisdom into all she touches. Vanessa offers Neural Contact Vanessa @ hurst.vanessa@gmail.com

Her books are A Constellation of Connections: Contemplative Relationships and Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action.

Website / LinkedIn Profile / Facebook / Twitter: @fyrserpent / ©2017