Another year over (almost). Despite resolutions that will likely fail, strife, violence, uncertainty, indecision, and year-end malaise, we’re leaving 2012 on a positive note.
He’s known as “The Compassion Guy” in Davis, California, David Breaux to many, and brother to me. Here are thoughts from someone who puts his ideals of empathy and kindness into daily practice, and inspires others to consider how they might do the same.
Cinemulatto wishes you all the best as we enter 2013.
What is Compassion Corner?
On June 3rd, 2009, I started asking people to share their written concept of the word compassion in a notebook. I stand at the corner of 3rd and C in Davis every day whenever the weather and my health provide the opportunity. It’s become know as “the corner” and now I’m working with a few other people in creating an Earthbench, a monument to compassion, that will help designate the space as an official Compassion Corner.
How did you end up on the corner?
After a year and a half of introspection, I recognized who I am and decided what I needed to do. I started exploring my own concept of compassion. I then went out to others to try and come up with a collective definition and found the act itself to be fulfilling in many ways. I then decided to make it a lifelong endeavor to help bring awareness to compassion.
How have you changed since starting the project?
I’m more aware of people, how they suffer, and how their suffering manifests in various mannerisms, mindsets, habits, and behaviors. I’m more aware of my place in the universe and how mindfulness contributes to the well-being of myself and others. I practice gratitude more often than before and say thank you to all that takes place in every moment. I now experience compassion constantly rather than in fleeting snippets.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
I am challenged by when and how to be compassionate to those who approach me at the corner, if needed. At the moment I am deciding whether I am actually hindering or helping individuals who come up and complain over a long period of months or years. I know that listening is a main part of compassion and I question whether listening without action, over time, remains compassion. I’m still contemplating this.
How does your race play into what you’re doing?
I don’t think of my race while doing what I do. I simply ask people to share their written concept of compassion. I believe what I do is for all people regardless of racial background, gender differences, age, or any other perceived difference between peoples. In the end, we all represent a portion of a common humanity and our interactions stem from the heart rather than the skin.
David H. Breaux