Compassion for ourselves and our partners

Christmas in the Trenches

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I sat reading the New York Times this morning sipping a home made latte (yes I’m in Boulder, CO), in front of the warmth of the fire in the wood stove. My husband was comfortably  in his chair, our pup cozy in her little bed. Yet through the window of the Times I glimpse another piece of reality:  a turbulent, violent and enraged world.  Full of hate, danger, and fear. Full of a humanity who has forgotten their humanity. We have all had those moments: allowing rage to be the dominating force of an interaction, even with someone we love.  And we have all had the opposite- the grace filled awareness of the person we are angry at- as someone who is, in fact, like us- very fragile and human regardless of their point of view.

At the Christmas Caroling party a few days ago a good friend sang what has come to be a tradition in the group “Christmas in the Trenches.” The WWI Christmas Eve true story which is a poignant moment 100 years ago as written and sung by John McCutcheon. An evening men at war had rediscovered their shared humanity.

As reported in the song the next morning “The question haunted every heart that beat that wondrous night whose family have I fixed within my sight?”


It is said that all the soldiers from both sides that participated had to be split up into different battalions to dissipate the good will and allow for the continuation of war.

So what does this have to do with you and me and our relationships at home, close to our hearth and heart? If you are very still you will notice the anger that arises at home comes about for the very same reasons it does on the world stage. Our anger is often a result of parts of ourselves with unmet needs. The process of creating relationships that foster deep loving and lasting connection demands we learn to understand and work with our own anger in ways that develop self compassion and compassion for others. Then  perhaps the world will follow.


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Shana Parker

Couples Coach, Licensed Psychologist, a well loved wife, proud mother, and writer.