Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hi, I'm Nicole Canaro and this is compassionate Las Vegas.
Speaker 2 (00:29):
Welcome to compassion, Las Vegas, the podcast I'm your host will Rucker and I am so glad you're joining us for this special season of our program today. Joining me is an incredible human someone that I just enjoy. And before we started recording, got to see a glimpse into her life with her wonderful child and just how she navigates being a human. So, Nicole, I wanna welcome you to the podcast.
Speaker 1 (00:59):
Uh, well, I can't thank you enough for having me today. Um, it's great to be with you and really exciting to get to talk a little bit about what drives me, uh, and hopefully answers some good questions. And as you mentioned, I've got my little one year old case in the background. Uh, so he's playing and is, is sort of just part of my, my everyday life. And I'm excited to get to talk a little bit more about, you know, what it's been to kinda add mom to the mix of things that I do and how that's sort of hopefully informed, um, you know, my decision making and my, my serious jobs, uh, a little bit better overall.
Speaker 2 (01:37):
One of the things I always share with couples, uh, so, you know, for those that don't know, I'm also wedding efficient in addition to the podcast, but I share with couples that love is infinite. The more that you give, the more you have. So every time you add a new human to your life, your heart just gets even bigger. Would you agree with that?
Speaker 1 (01:56):
Oh, I would 100% agree with, with you on that. Um, it's hard to imagine. And honestly, you know, I, I know a lot of parents, my, my parents have said that to me too. Uh, you know, you, you have this child and your heart just grows 10 times, um, to fill it with just more love. And, uh, you know, then we, we had this wonderful, uh, baby who has just sort of, I think, completed, um, our lives. And it's true. I feel as though my heart has grown 10 times and I've filled it with a whole bunch of love for him. And, um, you know, even when you feel like you've got a good group around you and people in your life who you care about and, um, and wanna, you know, be with and spend time and take care of and interact with you, add one more person to the mix. And it just, it just grows. It's a, it's a strange, it's a strange thing, and it's not, um, you know, once you experience that, I think you really do see how true that is. Um, even though folks say it all the time, you know, once you've gone through it yourself, it's just so different.
Speaker 2 (02:59):
Yeah. And my I'm watering up, so my, my, I don't know what's happening it's a morning or something. Right. but, um, that really does touch me and seeing you in that element is beautiful. So something I want to ask is how do you define compassion or, or what does compassion mean to you?
Speaker 1 (03:15):
Yeah, I, I think that's a great question and a honestly a great one for all of us to reflect on. Um, and so I've been thinking a lot about this and, and for me, I think compassion is really trying to meet people where they are. Um, we all have different life experiences. And even though we find ourselves in the same place, you and I on this podcast and everyone who's in, or if I am at work and in talking to clients and other lawyers in my law firms, that's what I do for my, my full-time job. Or if I'm at the legislature, um, with other legislators or advocates or constituents, or, or, you know, different people who work in departments, um, who are coming to ask for a variety of things, um, or even just, you know, here in my everyday life with friends and family, we all have different life experiences that help shape how we see the world and help shape what our needs are in that moment, um, and help shape how it is that we interact and care about one another.
Speaker 1 (04:16):
And for me, um, you know, one of the things that I, I think I always try to do, because I, I feel as though it informs my decision, even though I might approach a situation a certain way, someone else might not, um, approach it that same way cuz they haven't had the same life experience as me. So something might be harder or easier for them to express or to do or to accomplish. And I think being compassionate really does require for us to look at people where they are and try to understand things from their point of view because we all experience the world a little differently. And I'll, I'll give you, um, like a really real example from me. Um, just recently and, and personally, you know, I, I have nieces and nephews who I adore and they're wonderful humans and um, and they're just, they're just such a bright light in my life and you know, that's, but I'm also their aunt, right?
Speaker 1 (05:13):
I'm not their, I'm not their mother and some of the day to day stuff that as moms we go through, uh, I didn't, I didn't have to experience with them just because that's not our relationship. Um, but you know, having a kid now, it's like, I, I feel a lot differently when I see a mom on an airplane with a baby who's, who's crying or a mom with a little kiddo in the store. Who's like trying to grab things off the shelf or throwing a temper tantrum or she's trying to change a diaper and there's no changing table in the restroom. And um, you know, whereas before maybe I, you know, may have said, oh, that's, that's a horrible situation. And I wish her the best of luck. Um, once you've had that life experience, you really get to see what life is like through that lens.
Speaker 1 (05:58):
Uh, cause I have been in all of those situations and so, um, you know, if you can understand where someone is coming from and, and their experiences a little more, I think, um, you know, that enables us to do things like, Hey mom, who's trying to change your baby. We without change table, why don't I like at least hold the diaper bag. So you don't have to, you know, bend down and try to change a baby on the sink or, or whatever the case might be or Hey mom, whose kiddo is, you know, grabbing things off the shelf. Maybe I could just stop and say, Hey, little guy, what's going on. You wanna play some peek ABO, um, you know, and, and those kinds of things, just so that as you interact with the world around you, you provide them that, that space to experience what they're going through or the space to, to get help where they didn't know they needed it.
Speaker 1 (06:45):
Um, that certainly has happened to me. The changing table situation is a very real one. Um, and as you know, I'm struggling there to kind of change a baby and there's not really a great place to do that. Another mom, like, let me just help you that moment of relief, where someone reached out and, and touched me in a way that I didn't even know I needed, I think is where we find compassion. It's the human element. That's how we interact with folks. And I think the more that we can try to seek to understand where folks are coming from in the particular experiences that they have gone through, um, the better we are able to be that sense of relief in a way, um, for one another. And, and, um, and overall, I, I think that is, and I know I said that the human element already, but that is really what makes us human right, is caring for one another, um, and finding those spaces. And I think to be compassionate, you really have to think about someone's life experiences and, and how that has shaped their worldview. Because even if you're in the same exact situation, you are going to see things differently or experience things differently than someone else is. And the more that we can seek to understand one another and that way I think the better we are in our decision making and the better we are in helping, um, helping each other out,
Speaker 2 (08:03):
Wow. So many great points in that. And what I really took away though, is the importance of experience and being able to relate to someone you may not have the same scenario, but you can relate to them on that emotional level, I've experienced the same emotion, but then also the, the added layer of, until you've been in that situation, you don't have the capacity even to really understand what it's like. And I love that mom example, the changing table. My I'll tell you, I, babies are not my thing personally. Like, you know, I love to give them back. That's amazing
Speaker 2 (08:46):
100s. So we've, we've kept his nieces and nephews and, you know, he'll just change their diapers and do all the things. And I'm just there like great, good for you, cuz I'm not touching it with a 10 foot pole , but it does give you a new Rere, a respect and appreciation for just challenges in life. And I also love the temper tantrum example. Um, my mom still has an injury to this day because when I was a toddler, I decided in the middle of the grocery store, I was gonna run and I just decided to run down the aisle and she of course had to run to try to catch me, but I'm like a toddler. So it's very funny looking and she's laughing, trying to keep up and runs and hits her knee. So it's like, you know, those little things that I'm sure everyone in the store looked there, like, why can't she control her kid? Why
Speaker 1 (09:36):
Can't she control her kid? Yeah. But you know, it's, um, it's, that is exactly, um, I think the point right, is that y'all experience things differently and you might see something from the outside a certain way, but the more that I think you kinda keep that in your mind, um, the better that you can engage in those experiences and like maybe, you know, you're not like, why has she control your kid? You're like, oh, look at that mom. Like she loves her little guy and he is like taken off and don't play, run so fast. And then, you know, if she, she falls like maybe, you know, you can help in that, in that situation. Um, but I think, you know, those are everyday examples. And, um, you know, I even think about when we're, when we're at the legislature and we're trying to talk about different bills.
Speaker 1 (10:25):
Um, you know, people will bring a bill that I've never, I've never experienced that that's never been an issue for me that haven't encountered that. And so, you know, if you can try to think about why it is, that's something that's important for them and why it's something that they're advocating for then, you know, you're not asking the kinds of questions like, well, why we have to do this, this seems really silly. You can ask the kinds of questions and they're like, okay, I see that problem. And I see how you've approached it. I think that's one solution. Maybe we can think about it in this way, or that's a great solution. And I guess I had never, because I had never availed myself of that and cuz I've never been in that situation. Um, and so I think it makes us better policy makers and better decision makers. And um, the more that you can kinda do that, even in those situations where it's not just in, in everyday instance, which I, I think we should be doing in our everyday lives too. Um, but when you're doing things at work or you know, at a function or if you're involved in, in activities or you're involved in your community, you really are going to create opportunities, um, where maybe they didn't exist because you're understanding someone else's, you know, perspective of things.
Speaker 2 (11:37):
Yeah. And you, you took me exactly where I wanted to go, which is when you're dealing with these major things that impact literally millions of people and understanding we are all different in our experiences are different. How do you navigate that space of trying to have the greatest benefit with the least harm?
Speaker 1 (11:59):
Yeah. Um, and I think that's, you know, that's, that's obviously what we all I think try to do when, when you're in the, um, in the public space and I'll use just the legislature as a, as an example, cause that's where I serve. And um, so I have, you know, some real life experience there. Um, but that is always, I think that's always the, the hard place to be. And we've been in a lot of situations where, you know, you have to make a decision and so how do you balance making the right decision or the necessary decision with not creating more harm or damage than, than is necessary and how you solve problems without creating more problems. Um, and so I'll kind of give, I'll give like one example that I think is more attuned to, um, how we can create opportunities by sort of being compassionate about someone's own experience and situation.
Speaker 1 (12:57):
Um, and then I'll give one, that's like a little bit more of where you have to make a tough decision. And how do you put those two things? How do you put that on balance, um, while understanding that everybody kinda has different needs at different times? Um, so one thing that I always point to when people are like, well, why did you wanna run for office? Why would you wanna be in the, in the public space? And do you really think you're making a change? Um, and I always say, you know, I, I grew up here in Vegas. Um, my parents were a bartender and a waitress and you know, I'm the first person in my family to graduate from high school. And so, um, you know, for a kid like me there, the opportunities that existed really did come from my community around me.
Speaker 1 (13:38):
Right. And so, um, one of the examples I always give is that, you know, I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be a lawyer that was a pretty big dream for a kid like me who didn't know. I, you know, we didn't know anybody who had been to college. We didn't, I didn't even know kind how to apply to college. Um, when that time came and I was a high school student, but I did receive, I was lucky enough to receive a millennial scholarship, which was just a scholarship that at the time, um, you know, was paying a substantial chunk of, of tuition for high school kids here in Las Vegas who were going to college here in Nevada. And so, um, that scholarship plan actually came because there were legislators. Um, a lot of them culinary workers, just like my parents, you know, who were working minimum wage jobs, but had kids and wanted those kids to be able to succeed and to get an education and, and to achieve something.
Speaker 1 (14:31):
Um, but didn't have them means or the resources to be able to provide that pathway to their kids. And so they went and testified and said, look, you should take some of this tobacco settlement money. You should set it aside, create a scholarship program for high school kids because that's how our kids are gonna be able to go to college. Right. We gotta help them fund their education in order for them to have that opportunity. And because there were a lot of legislators and not a lot of them, I think, and I don't, I don't wanna misspeak, but I know for sure, you know, Maggie Carlton, the assembly woman and, and former Senator, um, was certainly somebody who was a culinary worker, but most people who find themselves in the legislature like myself, um, while I've worked a lot of those jobs going through school, uh, you know, in my day job, I'm a lawyer.
Speaker 1 (15:14):
And so it took a lot of people to kind of see things from the perspective of those parents and from the perspective of those kids who were just seeking an opportunity to understand that, like, not everybody has the needs to send their kids to college, but they want the best for those kids. And they want them to be able to pursue an education if that's what, you know, their kid wants to do, because somebody was able to kind of see that from that perspective and said, yeah, we think this is a good idea. Um, when it came time for me to go to college, I had a nice scholarship to help to help me along the way. Um, which was, you know, a big piece of the puzzle of how do you get a kid who doesn't have the, the means to go to college into a college program to get an education so that they can go and do and be something you know, that they want to do and be.
Speaker 1 (16:06):
Um, and so I always use that as an example of like, why did I wanna get into politics cuz I do think it can make a difference. And especially when we do things like that, like see things from, from people's point of views and try to pre, you know, provide those opportunities, um, to succeed. One of the other ones that I, that I mentioned is just sort of, you know, when you are faced with a really tough decision, um, how do you kind of balance things and keep sort of the least amount of harm from happening while providing the greatest benefit and in the legislature that often presents itself in a situation where there's a necessary decision that has to be made. Um, but how do you navigate your way around that? And so, you know, we, in the last few years have been dealing with the COVID crisis and the pandemic, um, here in Nevada, that meant that we had to shut down the, the tourism corridor, which was a huge strike to our budget.
Speaker 1 (17:01):
Um, we have to have a balanced budget that's thoughts and the constitution. So as a legislature, we were called into special session and asked to make really tough decisions about where do you find money? Um, so that we have a balanced budget, but we're not cutting so many services from people that they find themselves without access to things like healthcare. Um, that's a really tough place to be because so much of our state budget is education in healthcare. Um, and it's very little everywhere outside of those two spaces. Um, but there's not a pathway to not cut some things. Um, and so it took a really long time and I have to say I had some very good colleagues who worked very diligently and, and all of the, all the folks we work with at the legislature and, and the governor's office to come together and really comb through like line and by line thing, by thing to say, okay, we had some positions in this department, they weren't filled, let's take that money and add it to where we had that budget hole.
Speaker 1 (18:04):
Okay. We were gonna fund this, um, you know, library or this arts program. And, and that's great and that's obviously necessary, but when we're talking about an arts program or kids who are on Medicaid, getting dental care or having access to a physician, if they get sick, you know, you have to, you have to make a decision like that. Um, there were some things in education that we were like, okay, this is a great program and it's doing a lot of good, but at the same time, we have families who will not be able to see a doctor and will be stuck with a bill if we don't, if we don't, you know, kind of make some decisions there, no one wants to be in that decision. And it was heart wrenching. Um, and it was awful. And, you know, for me, the, the, the hardest part was I had constituents who reaching out who either couldn't get unemployment or, you know, were worried about losing their home or were worried about their kids not being in school and trying to find solutions to all of that and, and put yourself in, in those, those constituents positions, I think helped to inform our decisions so that we were able to kind of do the least amount of harm while also solving for the issue that we had to solve for.
Speaker 1 (19:19):
Um, and then on a case by case basis, just going through each constituent and trying to say, okay, how has this affected you? How can I help? How can I find you the resources? How can I get you a solution to the challenges, um, that are presenting themselves in, in your life because of the pandemic and because of the job loss and because of, you know, all of the, all of the different domino effects that have come as a result of, of the pandemic, um, how do we solve for each of those? And, um, that can be a really difficult place to be because really what you wanna do is just go in and like save the world. And, and, um, and sometimes that's not the option. So how do you do the most benefit for folks while doing the least amount of harm and trying to solve the problems that are before you? Um, and I think that you have to, you have to approach situations like that with a lot of compassion. Um, and for me that means understanding where people are coming from and, and sort of meeting them there, um, because otherwise, you know, it, otherwise, I think it's difficult to solve that problem.
Speaker 2 (20:23):
My last question, you mentioned saving the world. If you had a magic wand that you could wave and save the world by doing one thing, what would that be?
Speaker 1 (20:35):
Oh, man, that's such a good question, but honestly my mind immediately goes to, um, that I wish we really could. And again, this is gonna come back to my answer and compassion, but, um, you know, we're not always all gonna agree on things. That's just, we're each individuals, right? And so we're each have our own human, um, ideas about our lives and how we wanna act and behave. Um, but I always find that the more that you can actually talk with folks about things, as opposed to just fighting or immediately, um, you know, immediately going to anger the better off that you are. And that doesn't mean that you're gonna agree the hand. Um, but it does mean that you can seek to understand one another. And I think that would make the world an overall more, more peaceful place. And I think it would help with a lot of, some of the issues that we all we all have to deal with.
Speaker 1 (21:27):
And if that's on a small scale with like your neighbor and, you know, fighting over where your trash cans should be on trash day, um, or, you know, negotiating, uh, foreign treaties between multiple countries, I think the more, um, that we can understand each other the better. And so if I had a magic wand, um, it would be that people approach a situation in the first instance by saying, okay, what can I learn from this other person, um, to help me inform where they're coming from? And that doesn't mean that we're all gonna see things the same way, but I feel like it, um, it seems as though we're always at least recently more inclined to start from a place of anger or you're different than me. So I don't like you. Um, and I don't think that ever sets us up for success. So if I had a magic wand to help, like save the world and make it a better place, it would be that people do start from a pace of compassion. Um, but also a place of just, you know, trying to understand one another, um, and not, you know, immediately like anger and, and fighting or seeing someone who is different and thinking, well, they're different. They must be the enemy. You know,
Speaker 2 (22:43):
That's a beautiful answer. Thank you so much for joining the podcast. I've absolutely enjoyed speaking with you and to our audience. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of compassionate Las Vegas, the podcast I'm will Rucker. And as I always remind you, you are not just to drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop and what you do matters. So live compassionate. I'll see you next time.