The Tracks We Leave

"Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins
And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave
In other people's lives, our kindnesses and generosity."
"Judge Softly", Mary T. Lathrap

How often have we thought to ourselves ruefully, “I wish I had paused for a moment before reacting, I would have responded differently"?  In our compassion practice, we offer compassion to those we know are experiencing discomfort.  We aren’t doing this to take on the pain or sadness of those around us, or even because we believe that the mere wish for an end to their suffering will improve their situation at that moment.  Rather, we are training ourselves to change our “default setting” to one of compassionate response, rather than self-oriented reaction.  We are training our hearts so that our first response is to acknowledge that the slow driver in front of us may be lost and to wish them safe travels rather than honking; and to acknowledge the stress that the gate agent must also be feeling as she lets passengers on our cancelled flight know that we won’t be getting home to loved ones as soon as we hoped.  We know these are the responses that leave us with no regrets when the moment has passed, but it takes training to have them be our first response.  We hope you can join us as we train our hearts to leave tracks of kindness and generosity in the lives of others.

Community Sits This Week:  We’re back at Ridgefield Library this week on an every-other-week schedule!!

Monday 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM Trumbull Library 33 Quality Street Trumbull
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson  Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford (made possible by a grant from Bankwell)
Wednesday  12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street, New Canaan

**********

A Note about the Poem Judge Softly:
For the second week in a row we were moved by a piece of American literature from the late 1800’s, which speaks to the consistency of the human condition over time.  This week, Mary T. Lathrap’s poem, "Judge Softly" (often referred to as "Walk a Mile in His Moccasins") spoke to us.  The full text reads:

Pray, don't find fault with the man that limps, 
Or stumbles along the road.
Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears, 
Or stumbled beneath the same load.

There may be tears in his soles that hurt
Though hidden away from view.
The burden he bears placed on your back
May cause you to stumble and fall, too.

Don't sneer at the man who is down today
Unless you have felt the same blow
That caused his fall or felt the shame
That only the fallen know.

You may be strong, but still the blows
That were his, unknown to you in the same way,
May cause you to stagger and fall, too.

Don't be too harsh with the man that sins.
Or pelt him with words, or stone, or disdain.
Unless you are sure you have no sins of your own, 
And it's only wisdom and love that your heart contains.

For you know if the tempter's voice
Should whisper as soft to you,
As it did to him when he went astray,
It might cause you to falter, too.

Just walk a mile in his moccasins
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.
If just for one hour, you could find a way
To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse.

I believe  you'd be surprised to see
That you've been blind and narrow minded, even unkind.
There are people on reservations and in the ghettos
Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their minds.

Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I.
Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions
And see the world through his spirit and eyes
Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions.

Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins
And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave
In other people's lives, our kindnesses and generosity.

Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.


**********

As a reminder, CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.

Stay up-to-date on all CMP news and happenings by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Meetup and Insight Timer.

May all beings everywhere, without exception, feel the peace that comes from compassionate response.

Sha-co-pay, a Plains Ojibwa chief. Painted at Fort Union, 1832 by George Catlin

Sha-co-pay, a Plains Ojibwa chief. Painted at Fort Union, 1832 by George Catlin