This weekend I attended a funeral of a friend who passed away. He was genuinely kind. He had goodness in his heart. Friends and family got up to speak and told stories and shared. It was nice to meet people who he knew from different walks of life. 

I got up and spoke and shared how we would always have deep conversation and talk about important subjects. The people who meant the most to us in our lives, the universe, how we can make a true difference. 

When someone important in your life passes suddenly, it brings up so many different emotions. It makes you think about how you are spending your time, with whom and if you are truly on purpose. 

Everyone has conditioning. That’s the way humans are wired. We all have opportunities to better ourselves and be able to have open dialogue in a non-violent communicative way with kindness, openness, curiosity and understanding. 

For the most part, I do believe that people are inherently good. Our childhood and experiences in life shape how we are in the world: how we communicate, how we protect ourselves, how defensive we get, etc…What I’ve learned about people is that to the degree we love ourselves, is to the degree we have the capacity to love another. That goes for communication too. If we don’t have room for a deeper understanding within ourselves then how can we possibly have room for a deeper understanding with another human being? The more we grow, the more we soften. The more we have love for ourselves, the more we have love in the world and for those around us. 

Mike was this kind of guy. He had a massive heart. His heart was way too big for this world. Every person who spoke on the day of his funeral spoke about his gigantic heart and how he extended it out further than most people in this world. He had generosity of heart. 

I will always remember Mike for his big heart and how he was generous with others. 

Let us all be like Mike. Someone who truly cares, asks questions and remembers what is happening in one’s life. Someone who has a deeper listening to find out what is truly going on. Maybe someone just needs to talk or didn’t show up in the best way but truly needs some room to not be judged. Whatever it is, check yourself and decide if being combative is really in the best and highest for yourself and for others. 

There is enough combativeness in the world. We need more people who walk with peace and understanding. 

Here are some resources on speaking with peace and empathy: 

Speaking Peace: Connecting with Others Through Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

The Empathy Effect by Helen Riess, MD

Lisa Schneiderman is a UO member who helps people raise awareness for causes and positive messages that uplift humanity to a higher state of being. 

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