This questions comes at an interesting moment, I am just finishing up motion to my board for fundraising campaign for food gardens in Sri Lanka. By western standards, it is not a large amount of money, about 700 to 1000 USD per garden, yet the impact is vast for the several hundred people who will benefit from each food and fruit garden.
A year ago, I found myself totally overwhelmed by the change in the economy that seemed to happen overnight in Sri Lanka. My heart broke ands sense of empathy took a deep hold on my heart. I felt so deeply for these people who were faced with food prices that were as much as 10 times higher than they were a few months earlier, the quickly deteriorating overall economic and health situation.
While we at InMetta have been helping to provide emergency aid during COVID for what we had hoped was a temporary emergency aid situation, it has become clear that this is one that needs a fundamental cultural change and immediate local action. So we have started supporting the development of food and fruit gardens in schools and homes.
We had hoped to receive EU funding for this, but an error in checking 2 wrong boxes at the end of our proposals put an end to that hope.
Feeling deep compassion and finding myself empathizing with and taking on the sense of hopelessness that so many people are feeling in Sri Lanka, I felt stuck, overwhelmed and exhausted, as well as a kind of anger for my inability to act. Somehow, I found compassion for myself and appreciation for my own limits. Now, with my birthday coming on Sunday, our nonprofit approved last week by the IRS as a 501(c)3 and a proposal from one of my Buddhist Monk colleagues there for a food garden in my inbox right now... I feel hope. We will start building -- one garden at at time... as funding comes.
I am learning to trust, to care for myself so I don't get overwhelmed with the gravity of the situation and continue to act out of lovingkindness with both compassion and empathy. I am grateful for. this learning; pray for the good healthy and happiness of all; and know that we can only act within our own bandwidth.
I realize that I cry often--when my heart is touched, when someone reaches out; when I feel I have touched another; when I look into someone's eyes and I feel grace; when I see someone doing small acts of kindness or just the laughter of a child , a baby, a couple holding hands, or my own offspring protesting and standing for peace.
Compassion with empathy--acting form the heart while feeling and perceiving the another's perspective touches me the deepest and opens my heart wider with more love.
On Nov 21, 2023David Doane wrote :
Congratulations to you and your board for what you are doing, and wishing you all further success that is a help to many.