Monday, August 31, 2009

Big Heart is on the Move...

"Big Heart Walking"
art journal page - detail

When you are a Big Heart Walking Around, sometimes you feel like an antenna for the emotions and experiences of those around you.

I think that is one of the sweetest, yet hardest part of being a big heart... is the empathy you feel for others...

Main Entry: em·pa·thy
Pronunciation: \ˈem-pə-thē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empathēs emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion — more at
Date: 1850
1 : the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
2 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this

Patti Digh has posted some wonderful videos on her blog today with lessons that we can all use and remember. The first one I watched was about offering our neighbors empathy and how valuable it is for our own hearts as well.

I am going to love on my neighbor today, quite literally.

On September 9th, it will be one year since my beautiful neighbor, Katherine, died.

I feel the need to let her husband, Stephen, know how much I am thinking about him and how I am sharing his pain. We haven't talked much in the last few months, just waves across the fence again. But I can't seem to let this anniversary pass without acknowledging it. So I am writing him a note to let him know I am thinking of him and sending prayers his way.

I also want to let him know about the beautiful hydrangea that David and I planted in our backyard this spring in Katherine's honor. It bloomed beautifully this summer in spite of the horrible June and July we had. I like to think Katherine had something to do with that. I like to think that Stephen will feel the same...

This day could go by without me taking action to show my empathy. I could just do what I do most every day and keep my thoughts of sadness and compassion for my neighbor to myself. I could let fear prevent me from offering up some extra loving to someone I am positive needs it.

But you know what ?

Life is too short to worry about feeling awkward. Loving makes the heart feel whole.

Life is too precious to not connect however we can with those around us. We are all in it together after all.

So this Big Heart is off to do some walking this morning...right next door...

Maybe you could keep an eye out for someone in your world that needs some extra loving and empathy today ? How's that for a worthwhile job for this Monday ?


Sherry said...

I'm so glad that the big heart is on the move (try and hold her down, I dare you!)...with those shoes, she's not standing still!!

Empathy. One of the most beautiful words in any language.

You must recognize the anniversary of Katherine's death. Stephen will be more than touched that you do.

We seem to fear reminding others of their losses...and yet it is the one thing that everyone who has lost someone they love looks for. They want the loved one to be remembered and cherished. They want to hear those words of comfort. I know this for fact. And even if the reaction you see isn't what you hoped for or you expected, don't let that fool you. Emotions are hard for so many to express.

Never let that "fear" hold you back. I'm so pleased you have shared this opening of heart and loving neighbours ♥

Snap said...

AMEN, Sista! Walk that heart right over and tell Stephen what you feel. He may NEED to know someone else is thinking about him.

It's the simple things -- not necessarily the easiest -- that make a day bright.

DMG said...

I love your Big Heart, literally and artistically. Thank you for this beautiful reminder; I plan to folow your advice and do just what you recommended today. If only more people thought like you, Kim.


Jennifer said...

This is beautiful Kim! You are so right too...I have let fear, and pride, I think, get in the way of saying things or showing compassion/thoughtfulness, but I'm moving past it. I'm sure that one day (probably sooner than later) this post will give my the boost I need to move past that feeling and connect :)

Kate Robertson said...


I love the big heart artwork and the mission behind it too. I think your neighbor will appreciate your gesture very much. You have a good heart and are brave enough to show it. I admire that. I also like the phrase Life is too short to worry about feeling awkward. I like to add many other phrased to the line life is too short... not to dance, not to celebrate, not tell someone you love them and on and on and on. By the way I really appreciate you.


Jacky said...

What a lovely post Big do have such a generous heart. It will be nice for your neighbour to know that someone else shares his memories and loss.

Great post to get us all thinking and doing!!!

Jacky xox

beth said...

I wish you were my neighbor !!!

how lucky is katherine's hubby to have you next door for support !!

you are just the best !!

and life is too short to feel awkward.....WOW....that needs to be printed on t-shirts so we can all wear them and inform the world !!!

deb did it said...

This BIG heart walking page is amazing...I LOVE IT. You are so expressive, open and willing to share. I love that about you.....among one jillion other things!

Kathy McCreedy said...

Hi Kim,
LOVE the heart image... and it's ok to be a big heart walking around (love that, btw)... it is difficult sometimes, but I think it would be even harder to try to NOT be who you are... so let the love shine, girlfriend! Hope your neighbor was receptive to your gesture of love and concern, love you! K.