It isn’t easy to feel compassion for everyone. We are afraid of opening  our hearts to the person whose heart seems closed to ours. Whether that person is a family member, co-worker, neighbor, or across a border in a war, we fear that if we open our hearts to them, we will be ignoring the pain we are experiencing. Worse, we fear that we will be condoning harmful actions, encouraging harm. Our conditioned way of making meaning of our world, of feeling safe from harm, is to choose between sides, positions, views and people.

I want to do it differently.

Throughout this war, I noticed my heart opening and closing to this one , then to that one. When i hear people saying the people of Israel are to blame, I feel scared and defensive. When i hear people saying the people of Gaza deserve what they get, I feel scared.  I want my heart to be open. I want to begin NOW to stand for a future where everyone is safe and protected.   I am seeding my heart with compassion instead of resorting to the blame game.

Here is what I am doing.

When I notice I am closing to the people of Gaza and their suffering, I light a candle, turn off all distractions, and  sit quietly with an image of someone from Gaza who was killed today.

On my facebook page, my friend Hani from Gaza posted a picture of 4 year old Shayma. I breathe and look at Shayma, and keep looking, until I see only a little girl, my little girl, a child, a victim of war.

When I notice I am closing to the people of Israel and their suffering, I light a candle, turn off all distractions, and  sit quietly with an image of someone from Israel who was killed today. Today I sit with the photo of Oron Shaul, a 21 year old soldier missing and maybe killed in Gaza. I breathe and look at Oron, and keep looking, until i see only a young man, a son, my son, a victim of war.

I imagine myself as the mother of all who are harmed in this war. I ask for forgiveness for any act of killing in my own thinking, and I pray for the people to rise up and say, Enough!