I was listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert when she said something that stopped me in my tracks.
“Anytime I get a chance to talk to people on the subject of mercy, I just want to put in a word for it. Because I believe that we live in a merciless culture, and I believe that we are merciless to ourselves and I believe that we are very often merciless to each other. But most merciless to ourselves because we’ve been taught to be.”
I heard her say the words “…I believe that we live in a merciless culture…”and I stopped in my tracks because she is right. Being in the healing industry, I’m always hearing talk of compassion. In fact, right now I’m taking an online workshop about self-compassion.
But mercy? Mercy seems like a more powerful word, an active word. And I started to wonder, what is the difference between compassion and mercy?
My new thing is paddle boarding, otherwise known as Stand Up Paddleboard, or SUP if you are one of the cool kids.
I was paddle boarding for the second time when I started observing how happy I was. Obviously, paddle boarding makes me happy or I wouldn’t have bought one. But, have you ever sat and asked yourself “why” something makes you so happy?
My logical brain says that paddle boarding should be a pain in the ass, especially for a girl under 5’ tall. Getting the 10’ board on the car and strapping it down, driving to the lake, getting the board off the car, carrying the 10’ board/paddle/sometimes with the dog to the water, getting it into the water, stepping into the water and getting dirty and wet…
But I’ve noticed that when I step into the water with my bare feet before I hop on the paddle board, I feel this surge of thrill. A feeling that reminds me of being a child runs through me. I’m excited.
And then I get on the board and I’m off.
Despite the other people in the water paddle boarding and kayaking, it is very calm and peaceful to be on the water. And when you do encounter people, everyone is very nice. It’s a very casual, brief conversation. A brief hello, or a comment on the weather or how cute your dog looks paddle boarding with you, and then they respectfully move on, giving you your space to enjoy your time on the paddle board.