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Have a Heart!

Published by Huffington Post on Fri, 11 Dec 2015

Image by Pamela HaleBefore settling in tonight to write this post, I thought I needed a bit of escape, so I continued my catching up with the tense and fascinating series, "House of Cards." And wouldn't you know it, Kevin Spacey, playing the most cynical, strategic character one could image, said two key phrases I remember: "Ruthless pragmatism" and "Hunt or be hunted."Both of these are examples of the reptilian brain, which tells us we are still living in the land of the first chakra, that tribal place where life is all about survival. It is a hard and brutal land. So why do I watch it' It's very articulate and entertaining. It's a "good, bad example," as a new friend put it. And, it reminds me of the political scene and of a current presidential character who must be a student of "House of Cards."It's fascinating and good in a way to watch a heartless way of living. But only when it reminds of everything we don't want.Come on, folks, we'd like to say. "Have a heart."And what would "Have a heart" mean' What would it look like if we traded in the strategic, the cynical, the survival mentality for a "heart-centered" one'1. We'd show our vulnerability. When someone said or did something hurtful, we'd say, "Ouch. That hurt my heart." (This, instead of pointing the finger or the gun at the "perpetrator," thereby becoming one.)2. We'd have couer-age.The French word "couer" means "heart, " and so the root of the English word "courage" means having heart. Our heart helps us care, and caring is what helps us take right action, as Buddhists would say.3. We'd lead with compassion.There are times when it's really hard to accept people, and times when we can't and should not accept their behavior. But, we are all humans, part one one family. And so we can hate the behavior while having compassion for their struggle, their pain. It is compassion that will save us from continuing to make war.4. We'd take action.Now, I don't consider myself much of an activist, but these days I want to re-invent the word. I want to take action when I feel hurt, by telling the person who hurt me that my heart feels hurt. That feels like it will take some couer-age. It is a different kind of action from blaming or revenge. I want to lead with compassion. And that starts with compassion for myself.5. We'd take a stand.My friend Lynne Twist has done some magnificent things in the world, and one of them was asking, "What will you take a stand on' What is actually worth dying for'" That was overwhelming when I first heard it. But after Colorado and San Bernadino and everything that preceded it, including all the violence and vitriol I've experienced in my own life, I'm ready to take a stand. Against violent action and violent language and violent ways of being. How about you'Because I'm willing to take a stand, I'm starting a campaign. It's called the "Have a Heart Campaign." I have a wonderful collaborator, dear friend and colleague Diane Turner. We are cooking up some ways you can take action on the five points above, and more we may think of as we co-create.In the meantime, I feel a bit guilty that I'm still attracted to "House of Cards." I could rationalize watching it because it's that good, bad example that lets me study what I think we need to avoid at all costs. And, it's dynamite acting.But we are not actors, or entertainers. We came to the planet for something else. And we came at this time precisely to be here when all this cow poopie landed right here in our path. Violence. Cynicism. Cartoon characters pretending to be leaders. So, what's to do' Save the world'Well, yes. Hopefully. And we have to start where we can. With ourselves. And our families and communities. That's where we need to practices having a heart. Bringing heart to everything we do. Putting heart in the stew we cook. In the love we make. In the arguments we have. In the work we do. In the children we raise. Because that is probably the only thing that will actually help us survive.Have a heart. And let us know what your heart says about all this. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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