A flash in my mind. One of the key to my happiness is compassion.

I have always been very hard on myself. I always thought I might have some qualities but they were always overshadowed by my ugliness. Whether it was physical or mental, at times, it was unbearable to live with myself.

We are all made of light and darkness but again, your vision, the importance you give to one or the other is a major player in what you will feel and develop.

In 2005, I had left New York for a new job in Amsterdam. I was living in a very nice two storey flat in the antiquaire’s quarter. I believed firmly that the lack of meaning I had felt would be erased by a change of scenario. But amazingly, the same symetry in people, situations appeared in my new life! That’s when I asked:  “Is there an other way to experience life?” and, shortly after, I met two women.

The first one was Teresa and was a masseuse. She was of Indian (American) descent and used bird feathers and drum music to gently rock your heart. She was very motherly and told me I was beautiful. She nourished my body and my heart.

The second one is Joëlle and is a therapist. She taught me a lot but the main door she opened was compassion.

I was talking with a friend this week who told me how even though she is a tuff cookie, she lately told her story to a group of strangers and the compassion she received changed her vision of life.

That’s what Joëlle did for me. I told her, and for the first time to someone, my story from A to Z and in one sentence of compassion, she opened a huge door in my heart. It felt as if someone was seeing me for the first time.

Once you have compassion for yourself, not self-pity or indulgence, but real compassion, you start to feel the happiness rising. You know you did the best you could with what you had. Now you take responsibility of your destiny and your own happiness. You can now give compassion to the people you cross path with because it has the power to free people from suffering, you’ve experienced it.

Well that’s what I experienced.

I almost forgot! Those two women, Teresa and Joëlle, popped into my life within the same week to teach me just as if I was a child learning the fundamentals of life again. My mother’s and father’s names are Thérèse and Joël. A coincidence.