Musings

Three Weeks Without an Empathy Post

It’s been a while since I last shared something with you all. This has been a conscious effort on my part, to pursue some other tasks. Here I am getting back into it.

But before I go full-throttle into stories, how-to’s and in-depth articles on empathy and compassion, I wanted to share what I’ve been doing and how it’s relevant to my greater purpose here at Owlsight.

Here’s a quick run-down of my last three weeks.

  1. Completing my Level 2 Instructor certification with Krav Maga International
  2. Took on more teaching and private training with KMDI
  3. Started a Krav Maga and Leadership kids program at Moriah College
  4. Started playing baseball with my local team
  5. Got back to regular quidditch training

Granted, not everything there is relevant to Owlsight’s mission. Playing baseball and quidditch is something I do for fun and to challenge myself. The Krav Maga is most definitely relevant.

I’ve written about it before – sometimes when we’re confronted with a stressful situation, using empathy and compassionate communication may not be an option. Perhaps we witness a group of people kicking someone on the ground. Maybe the guy at the bar talking tough to you has just cocked his arm about to throw a punch. There are times when the protective use of force is necessary – to protect yourself or those you love.

That’s where Krav Maga is relevant. I try not to view these attackers as “bad” people. Thinking this way doesn’t help to keep me and my loved ones safe. In fact, it can actually be detrimental, as anger may cloud my judgement and ability to physically throw strikes. If there’s a compassionate way to hit someone, I’m sure as heck trying to find it.

Compassion, leadership and resilience are some of the key values I’m trying to instil as part of this new program at Moriah. It’s not just about teaching the kids techniques to defend themselves, but nurturing a culture of protection and standing up for others, as well as themselves.

This attitude flows naturally to students expressing themselves. They learn to be more comfortable in their own skin and identify when something doesn’t sit quite right with them. This might be something they observe (another kid being beaten on the ground), or it might be internal (feeling upset and needing a sense of connection). That’s not to say that what they identify is “wrong”, but rather there’s something that doesn’t align with their value system, and they feel empowered to address this, rather than shying away, letting someone else deal with it, or thinking they’re silly for feeling such a way. I’m really excited to be running this program over the next nine weeks.

Keep an eye out for some more content from me next week. I plan on talking about my relationship with my brother over the years with some lessons you’ll find useful from a couple of rough patches. I’ll also be debriefing from a course I’m attending over the weekend. But that’s a whole other topic!

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