Stories for Ways to Play – Page 2

These are news posts that pertain to the different ways to play the Compassion Games.

Players of Earth Week & Compassion as the Path to Justice and the American Dream

As we’re getting ready for the inaugural Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week coopetition, from April 18 through April 26, we are excited to introduce some of the “players” that will be participating. This is an extremely diverse group including teams from Portugal, Peru, United Kingdom, Italy, and cities in the United States and Canada including Detroit, Michigan, Syracuse, New York and Seattle, Washington.

Interfaith Works is the team in Syracuse, New York that participated in the February World Interfaith Harmony Week coopetition. 87287165-ef33-4691-9cbf-404a0993a93fThey submitted many reports to the Compassion Report Map about their inspiring acts of service. Recently, we talked with Yangwa Benjamani, one of the organizers of the team, and unexpectedly he let us in on the incredibly moving story of his community. Yangwa is from the Congo and his team includes many Congolese immigrants who have made the journey to America.

He reports that in the Congolese community there are many who feel hopeless and are in a state of despair after coming to America.  They realize that their dream of life in America is more difficult than expected and unfortunately they often turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with the disappointment. Yangwa says playing the Compassion Games has brought hope and a way to connect with the American culture. It is a way to show his countrymen that there are people in America who are compassionate and caring.  He reminded us that many of the immigrants were farmers in the Congo who have a deep connection with the land and the water. He said “by being in nature and breathing with nature, they experience more goodness.”  We are thrilled to have interfaith works be one of the teams participating in this upcoming coopetition.

Compassion Games Head Coach Sande Hart has been working with Rev. Jim Lee, Senior Minister of Renaissance Unity Church in 0567091a-ede2-42a3-a662-6d5f4180d64fDetroit, Michigan. Reverend Lee is bringing the Compassion Games to his community as a way to transcend the inclination to violence that stems from injustice.  He knows the Compassion Games is the way to reprogramming that pattern and it can only happen when love wins. Metro-Detroit is focusing on the Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge to literally “love the hell” out of their home.  You can read the full news story “Love the Hell Out of Detroit” here!

We know there are so many remarkable stories out there of people overcoming hardship and bringing compassion into the world. We hope you will join the action for Earth Week to make known what you are doing in your community to help inspire others!

It’s not too late to sign up your team to participate in this upcoming Love this Place! Serve the Earth Week coopetition. You can learn more and register here!

Discover the many ways to play that can connect your community’s activities and events with other teams around the world to make this the most remarkable Earth Week in history!

Learn more and sign up for Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week here.



Check out the Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge to crowdsource your love of the Earth into compassionate action for all life! Where are places loved the most? Game on!


Love The Hell Out of Metro Detroit: From the Blame-Shame Game to the Compassion Games

In the early sixties, in the thick of the Civil Rights movement, at the Voters Rights office in Alabama, Andrew Young was about to step outside into the parking lot to meet members of the Ku Klux Klan.  Mr. Young, appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to head the voters rights effort, and has since gone on to become Mayor of Atlanta, US Congressman, and Ambassador to the United Nations, received a call thatkl-stargirl02i-fish0814the KKK were coming and that he might want to carry a gun. As he headed out the door to the ever so haunting image of men in white hoods, he went to pick up his gun, but his wife insisted he put it back in the desk drawer. She told him, ever so firmly, that he was to “Go Out There And Love The Hell Out of Them!”, and that’s just what he did. The KKK left peacefully that night. Andrew Young later wrote the Voters Rights Act that was passed in 1964.

While the Civil Rights Act has been passed and is now part of history, the cellular memory of fear, hatred and distrust is still as prevalent and unhealed in too many places in our great country today. “It’s as old as slavery” says Reverend Jim Lee, Sr. Minister of Renaissance Unity Church in Warren, Michigan in the Metro Detroit area. Every time a white policeman kills another black victim it keeps striking at the same nerve. Not that the act is not severe enough on it’s own volition, it’s just a matter of time before these nerves are going to erupt and lead to riots like those that have burnt cities to the ground in the past. Just one more strike at that nerve is enough to remove the thin veil covering the deep rage that we all know is there and bubbling to a boil, felt by people of all races, religion and culture.

Rev. Lee is responding to these mounting tensions in his community and feels strongly that the Compassion Games is the antidote to healing this burden that has plagued his community since the beginning of our country’s history, resurfacing again and again through time. He is determined to Love The Hell out of his community by “rewiring the cellular memory to a place of forgiveness so his city can thrive – so the beloved community can emerge.” Rev. Lee wants to be very clear, “Forgiveness is not about Little Onesforgetting the past. It doesn’t change what happened. What changes is the interpretation and perception with a new quality, a new tone can emerge to heal us today, so we can move on to the beloved community.” Rev. Lee says he wants to “Love our way thru the pain. Let’s make the pain the lesson, not the reason.”

The Love This Place! Story Mapping challenge is a perfect opportunity to help Metro-Detroit start seeing their community through the lens of the places that they Love. They have set a goal of 1,000 people identifying the places they love in the Metro-Detroit area and posting a photo and a description of why they Love This Place.  They might take a picture of the park bench, the 100 year old tree they pass each day, the corner market, or a historic building. When we start looking around our community for the things we love, we find so much more to love than we had ever realized. We become reprogrammed in that moment to be more loving toward ourselves. We will never look at that tree the same without recalling that love.

Rev. Lee knows we don’t have a single leader for this time of historic tension uprising like we have had in the past. He reminds us this only means it’s our time to step into our own power, into our own courage, into our own light and compassion, and he says, “if we don’t change we are just staying in the blame-shame
game. It’s time to move beyond that and it’s each of us alone that we have been waiting for, together.”

We may not have one single leader, but Reverend Lee is an exceptional model of what one person can do and he inspires us to rise to this challenge.  The Compassion Games are all about challenging ourselves and others to stretch our compassion muscles just a little bit further, deeper and higher through what natureCG16-0015-fish (1)gave us; the gift of life coupled with choice. The Games remind us to choose how we respond when our deepest instinct to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and all that we consider sacred is threatened. Gone are the days when we let fear rule us, when we demonize others, or we wait for someone else to change. Here are the days where we can Love away the fear, distrust and threat… Reverend Lee is is here to lead us to  “Love our way through the pain to healing.”


Are You a Biophiliac? Discover Nature’s Gifts of Awe, Longevity, and Compassion!

Collaboratively Written by Leadership Team Member Lesa R. Walker, MD, MPH
& Compassion Games Storyteller Joey Crotty

Are you a “Biophiliac“? If you are reading this and happen to be human, you probably are.

The Compassion Games Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week coopetition is approaching quickly (April 18-26) with the goal to ignite and amplify compassionate action around the world to protect and celebrate our home, the Earth. At the Compassion Games Heartquarters we often say that “Green Compassion” (a term coined by Marc Barasch of the Green World Campaign) is the ultimate act of compassion, for its benefits reach far beyond our individual selves to all living beings who share this planet with us and to generations to come. As an ancient proverb says,

Butterfly Caves - Guilin, China

Compassion is planting a seedling under whose shade you may never sit.”

Yet just because Green Compassion extends far beyond our individual selves doesn’t mean the profound personal benefits should be overlooked. Western science is beginning to show us just how significantly our own personal well-being is integrated with the natural world. Human beings – as Indigenous teachings imply –  appear to be innately predisposed to connect with nature as a necessity for good health and mental well-being. Further, human beings may possess an inherent “biopilia”, or, a “love of life” that has been engendered by evolution and is cultivated by being immersed in nature and living systems. Feelings of awe have been identified as a key factor in this human-nature relationship.

In a research study conducted at the University of California – Berkeley “researchers have linked positive emotions — especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art, and spirituality — with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder”  ( ). The study suggests that “… a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” says UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner, a co-author of the study.

Forest Stone Path, GermanyAnother research study, “Awe Expands Perception of Time”, conducted at Stanford University reveals a similar reality. Participants in the study who experienced awe, relative to other emotions, felt they had more time available to them in their lives and were less impatient. Participants were also more willing to volunteer their time to help others (indicating a stronger sense of compassion and empathy), more strongly preferred experiences over material things, and reported higher overall life satisfaction. (

With the Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week coopetition, we hope to help further awaken a love for the Earth and all her inhabitants (including human beings!) that can be translated into a person’s everyday sense of awe, compassion, and happiness. Let’s channel our biophilia into compassionate action and loving stewardship of our one and only home, Mother Earth!

Introducing the Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge for Earth Week

The Love This Place! Story Mapping Challenge is a fun, simple, and meaningful way to experience awe and express love for the places in nature that hold special significance for us. In this challenge, players identify their favorite places on Earth and capture them in a photo. These photos are then uploaded to an interactive and global crowdsourcing story map by ESRI where players can tell a story about their place and why it is important to them. These places are then geotagged and placed on the Love This Place! Story Map to be shared with participants around the world, lighting up our planet in a real and tangible way and celebrating our love for the Earth. Where are the places that are loved the most?! Can we identify 1,000 places that we love and share why we love them by Sunday, April 26th, the last day of the Serve the Earth Week coopetition? Game on!

Click here to submit the places you love to help ignite our innate biophilia around the world!

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 2.02.11 PM

In the Story Mapping Challenge, we honor and celebrate nature and our communities through photos and stories, inspiring in us a sense of awe and gratitude that can be translated into compassionate action for the Earth. In the words of renowned ecologist and ethologist Marc Bekoff, we practice “rewilding” ourselves and “becoming the seen” by understanding our intricate interdependence with all life. (Learn more about Marc’s work here: Through the Compassion Games and the global map, we spread our empathy, awe and well-being to others, generating the power of “3D” compassion (caring for the Earth, others, & ourselves). Ultimately, by playing together, we are striving together toward a positive culture shift that is helping the world become a kinder and safer place to live for all beings, one act of biophilia at a time!

Join us and unleash your inner biophiliac!

Learn more about Serve the Earth Week here!
Register yourself or your team for Serve the Earth Week here!
 Biophiliac and Proud Meme Small

Seattle Women and Girls League Dance for Justice

What a powerful time it is now on this planet. Now is a time where we can transform the conversations about the chronic problems of our planet into breathing more life into the change we desire to see. I am fired up about being a part of a new reality that is about more of me, us, and the collective.  I invite you to reveal a more organic way of being that awakens ideal change. How about a new way to be together in community that holds us in the ultimate safe zone for freedom, play, and intrigue in new colors of inspiration? Let’s raise our voices into a harmony that inspires our hearts, minds, and bodies up into liberated action.

I am inviting a new place for compassionate culture for women & girls to call home. Now is the time to let go of the old ways of doing everything alone. I am wanting to encourage a place where we can support letting go of the negative, marginalizing messages that inhibit empowerment of the feminine and replace them with tall and courageous believing. Removing the fear-based stagnant statements like, “being vulnerable is seen as weakness”, “being quiet about challenges is the right way”, acting as “superwoman” is defined by taking care of others’ needs while always smiling. Or, how about, “there is only enough for everyone to succeed at one time and sharing your ideas will deplete your chance for success”? Not one of these messages are grounded in truth.  I am wishing for a community-based on a new paradigm charged with the positive muscles of compassion.

I see many brilliant women and girls stuck wondering where to direct their great potential in the chaotic survival of daily needs. Who can you turn to about real life challenges? This stressful reality can be lonely, leading us down the road to oppression, resentment and backwards movement. Women must have healthy outlets of community to cultivate a new paradigm. Let’s say “goodbye” to simply talking about change and “hello!” to being the change we long for! How about we leave behind the meetings that are only about filling whiteboards with ideas and thoughts for the future? This style of influence is losing my attention. Are you looking for a more inspiring way to play in this world? I am ready to “break the chain” of old ways of impacting social justice change, and that is why I am excited about playing with Compassion Games.

I am wanting to cultivate a caring community that collaborates with leaders equally, energizes differences, celebrates authentic sharing, and supports the aim to serve. This movement is a sacred place where individuals are welcome to be more present in action that brings meaningful play to light. How about supporting a message that makes your heart, mind, body, and soul fly, while rippling out to all beings for a more compassionate universe?

Sommer Joy AlbertsenI am thrilled to introduce myself, Sommer Joy Albertsen, as one of the new progressive leaders of Compassion Games International. My intent is to contribute greatly to a social justice movement that takes fun seriously, expands compassion into new forms, builds the most loving and empowered community for women & girls, and creates a positive vibration of change in the process. This is what I am excited to share with you through inclusive dance, self love, transformative play, shining vulnerability, healing art creations, community music circles, and echoes of laughter.

I was invited to weave all these compassionate intentions into the Women & Girls League One Billion Rising Flashmob on Valentine’s Day. We turned the compassionate volume up loud for social change to be seen, surprising the 150+ diverse beings at the Women of Wisdom Conference. On that day we danced into the Eve Ensler message: “Now is the time to stop all violence towards women on this planet.” We are committed to bringing this vision into reality. The following quote is a sparkle from Eve Ensler’s talk at Bioneers 2014. She had said, “Mainly it allowed women & men to come back into their bodies, to reclaim public space, so they can begin to remember the world we know inside us, that we manifest outside us. It escalated ecstatic revolt.” Thank you, Eve, for being such a brilliant beacon for radical change in the flesh. She has become a catalyst for the kind of change I want to dance through life with. Eve Ensler quoted her personal inspiration, Emma Goldman, who said, “If I can’t dance, I will not come to your revolution.” Yes! It is time we bring to the front line our wild selves into making change with authentic joy and loving play.

I began the journey of leading this One Billion Rising Movement around the Pacific Northwest in 2013 and have not stopped dancing in the streets since. Through the recent years of love for social justice work, I found dance to be an ideal universal language, igniting positive messages of embodied consciousness. This form of consciousness delights the senses into being the change. This is an example of new profound actions in nourishing sustainable community and stepping into uncharted pathways of synergistic opportunities. I invite you to a trustworthy space for more root truth, holding each others hands with ecstatic courage, and infinite hugs of boundless being.

The compassionate spirit of this One Billion Rising Movement is a real example of the power of coming together with a common intent. Our league of diverse women danced, held space for voices to rise out of victims of violence, sang unconditional love messages of hope, and brought real prayer to the planet. Here is a link to this win-win report on Compassion Games International site, where you will find compassionate action raining all over the world. The Compassion Games has influenced me to shine leadership events for the Women & Girls League here in Seattle area in order to show how kind we really are. Are you ready for the challenge?

Would you like to join the Women & Girls league of Compassion? This is a call to action for YOU to rise with us in our cultivation of a new garden of flowers of compassion. This One Billion Rising flashmob is just the beginning of the survival of the kindest. We will be starting a weekly Women & Girls League compassion dance action every Sunday at 11-12:00 PM at Civetta Dance Space. This will be a seed of courageous women leaders of all ages to rise and share who you are, breaking the chain of suffering and bringing new meaning to social change service. It is time now in 2015 to join us into a sacred playful space to bring more compassion to self, others, and the earth.

For more information about Women & Girls Compassion Being League, please email Sommer Joy Albertsen at

Edit Team: Sherry Is Dancing, Joey Crotty, and Jon Ramer


Solving Wicked Problems with the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest

(Header Image: “New Pioneers” from Mark Hensen)

At a time when religiously motivated violence seems to be more horrific and terrifying than ever, what would it take to transition our world to one of interfaith harmony and peace? It may seem pollyanna to wonder and idealistic to even ask if such a thing is possible. In a world permeated with intolerance and acts of hatred in the name of religion, how could we come to be in peace and harmony with one another? What would that take? A 21st century messiah? Divine intervention? Or a radical and creative shift of consciousness that playfully engages the full participation of the human species?

Social scientists consider this kind of problem a “wicked problem.” A wicked problem is one in which everyone agrees there is an issue, yet different stakeholders cannot agree on a definition of the problem or a course for a solution. This is because stakeholding groups in a wicked problem have radically different worldviews and thus different ways of understanding the problem and approaching a solution. World interfaith disharmony is truly such a wicked problem that can have horrific outcomes.

So how can we get to a world of interfaith harmony? Wicked problems can be “solved” by authoritative brute force, eliminating opposing perspectives and leaving power in the hands of a few. They can be “solved” through competition, leaving various parties to duke it out with a clear winner and loser. Or, they can be solved through collaboration, where all parties are brought to the table simultaneously, a common humanity is revealed, and overlaps in worldviews and values are discovered.

This is the very purpose of the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. The Compassion Games awaken us to the power we each have as “players” to choose to play the “game” of life differently with each other and ourselves. As they say, “life games reflect life aims.”

We are living in a time of an emerging global world, where an essential interdependence and growing interconnectivities are Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 1.19.15 PMliterally changing the “rules of the game” of how our world operates. The rules of the game have gone from finite, win-lose zero sum games (which, like war, are really lose-lose games) to nonzero sum games where we either all lose or we all win. Economic interdependence, terrorism, cyber-security, contagious disease control, climate change, and violence in the name of religion are just a handful of the major “nonzero” challenges that we now face, and each of them span any human-made borders that once artificially confined us as if we were fundamentally different, or separate, from our neighbors around the world.

Can we arise to this global challenge and unprecedented moment to work together, and make collaboration and compassion the objective of the game?

Since we all have a stake in the outcome of how the game is played in our global world, each player in this new game is immeasurably valuable. A vital component and often overlooked dimension to this unfolding “global village” is the role of the individual in arising to meet the challenges of these new circumstances. It is easy for individuals to feel less significant in a coalescing sea of 7+ billion people (as if more people make each of our thoughts, concerns, and actions matter less). This feeling is amplified even more so with looming challenges that are so macro in scale and difficult to conceive. These feelings, although understandable, couldn’t be more far from the truth.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.12.47 PMThis is because in order to fundamentally solve the wicked problem of interfaith disharmony, we have to change the way we relate to each other, and this takes individual personal change and participation with others at a profound level. The collective cultural maturity required of us at this time calls for, in fact, the deepest kind of change: the change that comes from within. So in order for us to change collectively, it is each of us that needs to change personally. This is often more challenging, yet sometimes surprisingly easier and more profound than we can ever imagine. There is a power that each of us has in which we can choose to change the game we are playing, because we are playing one whether or not we are even aware of it. In this regard, we can define a game as engaging in any life activity directed toward bringing about a certain state of affairs.

Compassion is an infinite game in which the purpose of the game is to continue to play. Collaboration, too, is a game that defies physical laws, where one plus one can equal ten, and the more people that play, the more can win.

We know that some people think that playing games are frivolous and not an activity worthy of something as significant and important as interfaith harmony. The idea of competing to do good – competitive altruism – seems to go against the very idea of being thoughtful and kind toward others.

Yet the original latin root for the word competition is “to strive together,” not, as it is defined today, “to strive against.” Perhaps we need to redefine what we mean by the terms “games”, “play”, “player”, and “competition”. Reframing these ideas may be a key to unlocking the creativity and inspiration that it takes to rise together and reach new heights of radical creativity, cultural maturity, and just, lasting change. The Compassion Games compel and catalyze us to strive together as “players” to change the “games” we play on planet earth to the kinds that make life better for others, ourselves, and the earth.

You may be asking: “Really? What about all the conflict and contradictions in our ways of life?”

There are tremendous differences in our nationalities, cultures, and values, of course. For there to be peace amongst us we will have to coexist in a way that deeply respects our differences and honors our unique histories, cultures, backgrounds and nationalities.

For there to be harmony we will have to learn to interact and create value together. We will find common ground in our cultural differences and we will offer support and help while learning from each other. We will have a shared sense of fulfilling some greater purpose while recognizing that we are interdependent and need each other, now more than ever.

Fortunately for all of us, the case being made that “playing compassionate games with one another from all different backgrounds can radically and creatively change the world” doesn’t have to end here in words, as a spirited and hopeful ideal. Why? Because it just happened! With World Interfaith Harmony Week having just come to a close, the results are in… and what took place is simply astounding.

Who is Leading the Way?

It is interesting to note that King Abdullah II of Jordan, who has been seen recently in the US press as a strong leader taking on ISIS (the Islamic State), was greeted with cheers on returning home early from his trip to the US to conduct swift executions of two terrorist prisoners in retaliation for ISIS killing a Jordanian pilot. The cultural call in Jordan for vengeance was great and the King was in tune with his people. While some international human rights groups may have preferred that there have not been executions, the human rights groups also recognized that the executions were within Jordanian law and important to the people. It is these cultural differences we need to better appreciate and understand. Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 2.35.30 PM

For at the same time that King Abdullah II is a “strong man” he is also dedicated to interfaith peace and harmony. Compassion
Games International (CGI) is well aware of this since in partnership with King Abdullah’s office we have just completed a seven day “coopetition” – a collaboration in which we cooperate to compete (or strive) with each other and not against each other by challenging groups from all over the world to show us their compassion in the name of interfaith peace and harmony.

From February 1st through the 7th, the Compassion Games were organized in partnership with the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week. King Abdullah II offered a $50,000 prize to be shared by groups working to create interfaith peace and harmony in the world.

This year the partners included the Dalai Lama Fellows as well as the United Religions Initiative (URI). URI hosted an online webinar for the occasion, calling out to over 670 cooperation circles that reach over one million people, inviting them to play.  URI also sponsored two University of Rochester students to attend the United Nations and speak about the Compassion Games. First Nations Solar put out the Solar Challenge for faith and interfaith groups to “Sun-Up” their houses of worship and embark on solarizing campaigns to shift to clean and renewable energy as an act of “green compassion” for Mother Earth.

The players and teams that participated came from all over the world including Asia, Africa, North America, Europe, and the Middle East. In the United States, the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council challenged other interfaith councils around the world and posted the greatest number of reports in an impressive display of what is possible when we come together to play, collaborate, and challenge one another to be the very best of our human nature.

Compassion Report Map Reflections from World Interfaith Harmony Week

There were over 30 teams around the world that posted nearly 100 reports to the Compassion Report Map. You can view all the reports by visiting the map here.

Here are four stories, each strikingly different yet equally profound, that are examples of what individual players and teams did during the Interfaith Harmony Week coopetition:

Report #1: Students Meet Muslims for the First Time (View Report)

The University of Rochester Interfaith Chapel student group hosted a tour of the Interfaith Chapel during World Interfaith Harmony Week. For 14 out of 15 of the students, this was the first time they had ever visited a mosque or even spoke to a Muslim. They observed prayer, toured the center, and engaged in dialogue with the Interfaith Chapel youth group. These students had a chance to learn about Islam and to meet and interact with local Muslim youth, opening their eyes to the realities of life for Muslim citizens in this difficult time in our world’s history.

Report #2: Nourish the Soul at the Souper Bowl (View Report)

World Interfaith Harmony Week began on Sunday, February 1st, which happened to be the same day as the Super Bowl. In aCompassion Games Souper Bowl - 2015 creative twist to kick-off Harmony Week and heighten our capacity for interfaith good, the Center for Spiritual Living in Seattle challenged the country in a Souper Bowl as a way to fill the food banks and take care of our neighbors in a time of need. Not surprisingly, the Center for Spiritual Living really stepped up… collecting well over 4,500 cans of soup in one week and raising $1,300 for local causes.

Report #3: 15,000+ People Served by Multifaith Day of Service (View Report)

The Peninsula Multifaith Day of Service dispatched more than 525 volunteers, ages 5 through 85, to a dozen sites through their region to work on 20 different projects. Pacifica Institute, who submitted this report on behalf of the Day of Service, joined the efforts with 30 volunteers of their own who also helped prepare breakfast for the 525+ volunteers. Over 15,000 people were directly affected by the actions of this awe-inspiring interfaith task force.

Report #4: Profound Reflection on Interfaith Harmony at Unity Celebration (View Report)

A report from an individual of the Interfaith Works and Women Transcending Boundaries team inspires us deeply. The report states that a “kaleidoscope” of virtually every faith joined together in unity, song, dance, and prayer, all to express their commonality within diversity. In their midst were refugees from Bosnia and Sudan who had lost everything – their homes, their families – when religious conflict tore their country apart.

From the Compassion Report Map: “When the Sudanese reminded us that churches helped them build new lives, that their history is one with the history of InterFaith Works, I thought, ‘humanity has committed some of its worst crimes in the name of religion, but religion is also capable of giving and restoring life.’ Indeed I have never experienced more compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness in one space…

“[Holding hands] as we sang… I felt myself a member of a new human community, one pregnant with possibilities, possibilities which have always been present in the highest values of our various traditions. This community, bound together not by language, not by race or creed, but by a powerful sense of hope and joy, came away from the WIHW knowing that – when it honors and accepts differences, when it forgives past injustices, but more importantly when it gathers together to celebrate all these things – religion’s long history of strife is transformed into a source of healing for the nations. Indeed, WIHW stands as an event that I dare say the critics of religion cannot pass off ‘as something that just happened’…”

Many Ways to Play and Harmonize

Between CGI and WIHW there were over 800 events and activities that took place during the seven day challenge and there were many different ways to play. These included:

  • An Interfaith Edition of the Secret Agent of Compassion that sent out missions each day of the coopetition.
  • As part of this years harmony week the WIHW produced the first interfaith anthem “The Gift of Love”. The lyrics are by HRH Prince Ghazi and the music and vocals by world renowned recording artist Mr. Sami Yusuf.

Scoreboard Results from World Interfaith Harmony Week

During the coopetition we maintain a scoreboard so we can see the progress we are collectively making. The point of the game is not to “beat others” but to challenge ourselves to do and be our very best. Over 30 teams around the world submitted nearly 100 reports showing that well over 50,000 people were served through the Compassion Games in this seven day coopetition. This is just what got reported, and most players don’t report. No one will know for sure the impact of all this interfaith kindness and caring that was unleashed, and continues to be unleashed, on our precious world.

However, the experience of coordinating the Compassion Games World Interfaith Harmony Week has reassured us that the wicked problems of our time can be solved by transforming the game of life we play and reinventing what it means to live in peace and harmony together on our beautiful planet.

The Compassion Games are a way for anyone, anywhere, at anytime to amplify existing efforts or mobilize new ones. The Compassion Games infuse the spirit of play, collaboration, and kindness to bring people together of diverse backgrounds to address some of the worlds greatest challenges and most wicked problems.

We invite you to join with us by participating in the Compassion Games. The next coopetition – “Earth Service Week” – will take place from April 18th through April 26th, the same week that U.S. Mayors are challenging each other in the Give-A-Day of service, the brainchild of Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville. The Back-To-School Coopetition takes place in October to bring the profound benefits of compassion to students in educational settings and in their personal lives. The annual global Compassion Games take place from September 11th through the 21st, the International Day of Peace.

Will you play with us? Game on!

Solving Wicked Problems with the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest
A Collaborative Work of the Compassion Games Team
Lead Author: Jon Ramer | Founder & “First Follower”
Contributing Author, Editor: Joey Crotty | Communications and Campaign Organizer
Review by Sande Hart (Head Coach) and Sommer Albertson (Coordinator of the Women/Girls League)

Compassion Games Quote

An Interfaith Pep Talk to Overcome the Impossible

A Rallying Call for World Interfaith Harmony

It’s well-known that for untold eons, human beings have fought each other in the name of their God or gods. But there is more to this story… As historian and TED Prize Winner Karen Armstrong points out, wars are and have always been political and economic in nature, used to gain land, resources, and power. Why, then, do people tend to blame religion for wars? Armstrong writes that religious ideologies were often reshaped by political and economic needs, and that “religious fervor” – often a unifying cultural and communal force – has been manipulated and used as propaganda to influence citizens to fight for their people, nation, and of course, God or gods.

So religion has become, for many, the source of world trouble, the world’s scapegoat. In other words, spirit has been given a bad rap and many believe we’d be better off without it. As a result, religion and spirituality may be the very last place people expect a beacon of global peace to emerge. And it is for this very reason that it must be the place for a global beacon of peace to emerge.

010b-fishapril14Because at its best, spirituality is anything but economic or political. At the heart of the world’s wisdom traditions lie a message of acceptance, love, and service, the very countercurrent of war and violence. Spirit has been hijacked. It has become the underdog in the story of our time.

However, we too often underestimate the position of power an underdog is in.

Underdogs are scrappy. They are desperate, and willing to do anything to overcome the seemingly impossible. The apparent kl-stargirl02i-fish0814weakness of our position is the very source of our strength. It is this beautiful desperation that is going to compel us to do something unexpected. Something wonderfully crazy. Something brilliant.

Because it has already been ruled out that people of different faiths are capable of coming together to change the tides of the world’s violence and exclusivity to one of peace and unity, we have everything to lose and even more to gain. The world needs interfaith harmony. It longs for it but denies its possibility. That is why it must be done.

World Interfaith Harmony Week is coming up on February 1st and goes until February 7th.

The Purpose of World Interfaith Harmony Week is to…

1. Celebrate and make known the strong undercurrent of interfaith work already happening in the world, and to bring attention to this remarkable work so its positive momentum can continue to inspire and grow;

2. Amplify existing efforts and create new initiatives to further the reach of the interfaith movement, and to raise a broader awareness in the world’s communities that interfaith unity is possible. In addition, we want to ignite a sense of urgency for the need of this movement more now than ever;

3. Encourage faith communities around the world to reach out to their neighbors of different faiths in order to create new relationships of respect, understanding, and collaboration to expand the reach of the interfaith movement throughout the world.

 Do you long to see an unprecedented current of peace, understanding, and collaboration take hold of our world?

Play with us! Join World Interfaith Harmony Week to add your voice, energy, and heart to this movement that has never been more needed.


Learn more about how to get involved in the Interfaith Harmony Week Coopetition here!




Every once in awhile, we hear a story about overcoming hopelessly improbable odds. That next story is going to be us. We can’t play by the old rules of the game. We have to play by our own rules, we have to change them. We have to make the game utterly unrecognizable, unplayable to the ways of ignorance, otherness, and complacency.

Let’s make the game Compassion.
Love Wins!

Compassion Games International
& Our “Partners in Compassion”
17 Compassion Games Partners for Interfaith

3.7 Million March: An Urgent Call to Rally for Unity & Peace

Dear Friends and Allies of Compassion,

The world is stirring. Every now and then an event occurs that shocks us, and with it appears an opening for something new to Paris Ralliesemerge. Right now, we are at such a moment. The 3.7 million people who marched in the streets of France – who locked arms with our world’s
leaders – are what French officials are saying was the largest street demonstration in the country’s history. And they weren’t protesting the attacks they were rallying for unity.

“I’m fed up with all the hatred in the world. I can’t stand people hating each other. More than just free expression, I want people to live together and to accept each other, even if they are different,” said Edith Gaudin, a teacher in Paris.

More than ever we need to create and live in cultures of compassion that revolutionoftheheart7-fish0212take us outside our comfort zones, into our stretch zones, and allow us to experience empathy and compassion directly. In fact, this is what the Compassion Games were created for, and it just so happens that this year the Compassion Games is partnering with UN sponsored World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) (February 1st -7th).

One of the world leaders who marched on the streets in Paris is King Abdullah II from Jordan. In 2010, the King proposed a World Interfaith Harmony Week to the UN, a week “when all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement they are.” The UN unanimously approved, and now each year the first week of February is aimed to promote harmony and collaboration between people of all faiths (and none).

kl-stargirl01a-fish0814We are partnering with faith, interfaith and Indigenous leaders to light a spark of creativity and innovation, to inspire groups around the world to get engaged and to make the good we are capable of known. This includes a seven day Compassion Games “coopetition” starting February 1st, a 10-Year Solar Challenge called for by First Nations, and $50,000 in prize money sponsored by King Abdullah II.

Let’s not retreat from this moment. Let’s lean forward, open our hearts and hands and come together in unprecedented, unified solidarity and action!


1. Learn more about the World Interfaith Harmony
Week Coopetition here

2. Read more about the WIHW Prize Monies for participating groups here

3. Spread the word! Share this story to challenge family, friends, and your communities to play in World Interfaith Harmony Week. Experience the joy of building solidarity, cooperation, and bridges of peace and harmony!

At this unique moment in time we need to clarify and reaffirm religion’s role in our lives as a beacon of hope. Religion at its best is kl-stargirl02i-fish0814a hearth for the human spirit. In its myriad of expressions, religion can help us connect with something greater than ourselves, to encourage us to reach out and to get to know the “others” in our lives. It inspires us to serve all people for the greater good that exists within and among all of us, to find love and compassion in the seemingly most improbable places, in places where once there was only hate. Yet these are the places most desperate for peace.

Let us be that peace.

In Fierce Unity and Compassion,

Compassion Games International
World Interfaith Harmony Week
URI (United Religions Initiative)
The Guibord Center
Interfaith Youth Core
Dalai Lama Fellows
Compassionate Seattle
NICO (Northwest Interfaith Community Outreach)
Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Four Worlds International Institute
Compassionate California
I am Jerusalem
S.A.R.A.H. (Spiritual and Religious Alliance for Hope)
Scarboro Missions
First Nations Solar
Interfaith Council of Central Orange County

Interfaith League Brings Play and Wonder to World Interfaith Harmony Week

“In our broken world it is easy to become overwhelmed with grief and despair culminating in our inability to move forward. Each of us has been given a purpose in life, a reason for being. Each of us carries within a caring heart and a mind filled with ideas.

The Compassion Games beckon us to rise above our heartache and work in community to make a difference in the world…. to laugh and to play and to know within the deepest part of our souls that we are good and contributing to something larger than each of us. In it, we are called to be our best selves.”

The Reverend Dr. Gwynne Guibord 
President, The Guibord Center, Religion Inside Out

What happens when you combine the Interfaith world, comprised of grassroots interfaith organizations large and small, places of worship and interfaith leaders together with the Compassion Games? You get a lot of important work accomplished.

While we often think of interfaith work to mean breakthrough dialogues, educational programs, service to the community and all efforts that we can do better together than apart, the Compassion Games invites one more dynamic. It’s a dynamic that infuses trust and creativity, allowing curiosity to replace hesitancy and fear. It’s a place within ourselves where possibilities spring forth in our hearts in ways that can accomplish the seemingly impossible.

What we speak of is the essence of what it means to

When we play together, we come from a place of joy and wonderment. Play calls us to challenge one another to be the best versions of ourselves and of our faith, doing so in a way that is natural and nonthreatening, inviting, rewarding, and even fun.

After 15 years of interfaith community building – which includes dialogue and panel discussions, programs that honor our commonalities and celebrates our diversity, and especially an annual weekend of community service – I had never experienced more enthusiasm as when we introduced the Compassion Games to our already existing efforts.

We doubled our volunteerism overnight and 5 new faith based organizations joined us in play. People were getting wildly creative with their compassionate action, adding a multitude of smaller projects to get their point values up to push other groups to do the same. It imbued the spirit of competitive altruism, and it was working.  When the local mosque managed to raise more points than the other places of worship by about 2,000 points, they were rejoicing. In a tongue-in-cheek way they asked me, “What do we win?!” I answered, “You get to go to the synagogue next year and help the others beat you!” (This incredible attitude of helping others beat your own team was inspired by Louisville, Kentucky’s Mayor Greg Fischer who had the same answer when his city beat Seattle by a similar margin during the first year of the Compassion Games.)

The Compassion Games utilizes the best of human nature – the innate desire to learn, to play, to be loving and kind, to serve, and to connect with one another. We become inspired to push a little farther, move a little deeper, and reach a little higher as a natural result of working together in community for a common purpose and goal, and in the spirit of play.

Yet the dynamic of play accomplishes more than to provide an environment for the spontaneous arising of awe and wonder. When we are in the natural spirit of playfulness, we forget the false perceptions of separation from others that we so often hold in our thoughts. A great remembering takes place as well, as we remember who we truly are. We reawaken within our own hearts that we are One Human Family. We remember that we need one another to be the best versions of ourselves and the best examples of each of our unique faith and non-faith traditions.

Along the way, a lot of important work gets done. We call it “heavy lifting with a light heart.”

It’s time for us to do it together! 


Kites for Peace

November 18th -December 7th  

Fly a kite today for Peace!

Kites for Peace was inspired by the 13,000 kites that children of Gaza flew in 2011 to break a Guiness World Record of simultaneous kite flying. What started out as a creative response to the death of children in Gaza and Israel during the Israel-Hamas war last July 2014 has blossomed into an emerging global action creating spaces for children’s voices to be heard through simple child-inclusive compassion circles in schools and communities. Flying kites is a symbolic action of the innocent voices of children not only in Gaza but in all other communities affected by violence around the world.

The Philippines, facing the implementation of the recent signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is aiming to break the next world record by flying 25,000 kites together with children of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Department of Education, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the leaders of the MILF to unite in the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as part of the initial implementation of the peace agreement.

To date, Kites for Peace has so far flown 434 kites in the Philippines, United States, aScreen_Shot_2014-11-17_at_8.39.29_PMnd Zimbabwe. From November 18 – December 7, groups and communities will fly kites not only in the Philippines but in Argentina and Nepal, in support of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children in celebration of the anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. More countries have expressed interest in doing the same!

Kites for Peace is in partnership with Mandala Earth Story Project, Binhi ng Kapayapaan Inc. (Seeds of Peace), Anak Mindanao (Children of Mindanao), The Charter for Compassion, Compassion Games International, The Global Network of Religions for Children, and Unify. To know more and to join the project, visit

The Dalai Lama endorses Kites for Peace

Just last week, Kites for Peace founder Sarah Queblatin met with HH the Dalai Lama who enthusiastically supports her work. Sarah’s efforts also promote dialogue led by children- an initiative whose10624640_10152522381743129_1647983746822182420_n time has come. In a letter he states, “I feel if today’s children totally adopt dialogue as a means of resolving problem(s), whether at home or in school, they will grow up to be adults and leaders who will rely on such peaceful means to resolve conflicts at the national or international level. I have no doubt that this will lead to this world becoming a more peaceful one.”

The World Day of Prayer and Action for Children is celebrated on Universal Children’s Day (20 November) by bringing together secular and faith-based organizations to work to uphold the dignity and rights of all children. Universal Children’s Day, established by the United Nations in 1954, also commemorates the 1989 adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The World Day is a day of reflection and a call to action for the well-being of children around the world. Although its activities are highlighted in November, the World Day has grown into movement that has year round influence, weaving together the efforts of faith-based and non-governmental organizations with those of governments around the world.

Here is how to get involved!

Step 1. Fly A Kite

Step 2. Take a photo of yourself and/or others flying a kite or kites

Step 3. Report it on the Compassion Map

Learn more at PeaceKites.Org!


Compassionate Schools Play Compassion Games!

The past year of 2014 was a breakthrough year at Compassion Games International. Besides the extraordinary growth from 19 to 159 Teams in just one year, the development of the Leagues burst the gates right off any barriers of limitations that we could have dreamt of. And leading the way? None less than the new Education and Schools League.

Two exceptional educators stepped up to coordinate this league: Rahbin Shyne and Lia Mandelbaum. They each bring with them a vast array of skills and inspiring ideas to help schools bring the Compassion Games into their classrooms.

Long before we met Rahbin – a Compassionate activist and teacher at Reid High School in Long Beach, California – she had written a number of books on compassion, even one coincidentally entitled “Compassion Game, 10 Days of Compassion, Quick and Easy On-Line Actions to Better Our World.”  It was only a matter of time that our paths would meet! And we are eternally grateful for that.

As a seasoned educator, Rahbin brought to the Games tested and practical lesson plans and prepared the Teachers Compassion Games Guide.

photo-66It was Lia who we can credit for first showing us how possible, even critical the Compassion Games are on a school campus. Remarkably, Lia – who is also a writer for The Jewish Journal – first heard about the Games when she wrote a story about them being played in a women’s prison in California. Since she was an intern social worker at Roybal Learning Center in downtown Los Angeles at the time, she immediately identified the power of the Games and what they could bring to the culture of her campus.

She surprised herself with resounding results.

It was Lia’s Supervisor – Cherie Hudson at Roybal who embraced the concept of the games. Cherie said, “The Games are all about strengthening connections and making a positive impact on the world through acts of kindness. As a school social worker, I wholeheartedly believe in the value of human relationships and the interconnectedness of all people, so the Compassion Games felt like a perfect fit between the core values of my profession and the needs of our community for healing and safety”.

Announcements were made over the school intercom, during meetings, and in classrooms. Packets were created to explain the Games and then distributed to the teachers. Lia and Cherie wanted to be sure that not only the students played the Games but that the teachers, staff, and even the maintenance crew played too. Lia devised a clever way to engage parents as well, empowering them to “catch” their child being compassionate and sending in a “Titan Token” to be added to their team’s tally.  In this stroke of brilliance, Lia found a bridge from the campus to the home. Now, even siblings and even neighbors will benefit from the Compassion Games as compassion blooms out through their communities.

Lia also brought in speakers including the L.A. Galaxy Soccer star Omar Gonzalez. Gonzalez talked to the students about the courage it Omar_Gonzaleztakes to be compassionate, helping to motivate and inspire the young students there. Here is the link to the Time Warner Sports Spanish news segment with Omar visiting Roybal (The clip begins at 1 minute and 30 seconds!)

Omar Gonzalez visits Roybal:

As soon as the Education League was initiated we began to immediately hear from teachers, each requesting we set aside a period of play for them that was later in the year than the annual September 11th start of the Compassion Games. Considering they had just gotten back to school in September, we couldn’t help but understand the rationale behind the suggestion, and we said “Of course!” The Education and Schools League now starts its participation in the Compassion Games in October, kicking off the school year in a blaze of compassion in action.

Compassion Games Excitedly Received on Campuses in Los Angeles

Thanks to Cherie and Lia, the Compassion Games have since been embraced by the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health who have introduced us to each of the area organizers who place representatives in each school throughout the LA county. Subsequently, we been invited to present to all of the representatives themselves.  After presenting alongside Lia and Rahbin at a number of the meetings, Head Compassion Games Coach Sande Hart says, “I have introduced the Games to many groups over the past year, but never have I experienced a sense of enthusiasm as great as it’s been with educators. Heads were constantly nodding in excitement about the Games, and even tears were shed! It’s clear the Games bring a creative alternative solution infused with hope to the campus culture where it is so desperately needed today.”

Meanwhile, in Seattle, The Compassionate Schools Network was birthed

schools-networkThe emerging Compassionate School Movement is in large part led by Scarlett Lewis, founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. Compassion Games, Charter for Compassion, and Compassionate Seattle hosted a conference in August called “Building the Compassionate Schools Movement: From Sandy Hook to Seattle,” igniting conversation and joint action to bring compassion into schools, to teach emotional wellness and whole person development, teacher and administrator interconnectivity and engagement, and to use compassion to propel students’ success for learning and life.

We are both honored and proud to be a founding member of the Compassionate Schools Network. On September 15, 2014 this new social collaborative network was launched. The Compassionate Schools Network is a free online community and resource-sharing platform for students, parents, school staff, and community members.

Click here to learn more about the Compassionate Schools Movement and Network, including co-creative ideas for bringing Compassion into the classroom, and how your school can affirm the Charter for Compassion!

Click here for the full press release of the Compassionate Schools Network launch:

North Thurston County School District Brings the Light!

558112_453974094671300_819099736_nThis year also marks the initiation of Washington State’s North Thurston County Public School District’s participation in the Compassion Games, They stand in solidarity with the emergence of the “Compassionate Schools Movement”, and they aren’t alone. Over 50 schools have committed themselves to participating in the Compassion Games as a way to bring compassion and the Golden Rule to schools through the competitive spirit of giving and cooperation.

Currency of the Heart: Coins of Compassion Introduced to Schools in Spirit of the Games

In an inspiring feat of creativity for the Games, North Thurston County – led by Compassionate Schools advocate Superintendent Raj Manhas –  formed a currency for their district called the “Coins of Compassion.” Unlike any currency you’ve ever heard of, over 20,000 of these coins have been given to principals and other leaders within the district, which are then given to anyone who commits an act of kindness or compassion. Paying it forward is the ultimate measure of economic success in a compassionate society. By the end of the Compassion Games, it is not the goal to have the most of these coins, but rather to give and receive them as much as possible. It is, effectively, a game of acknowledging others and their goodness, and in return, also being seen for the good we each give to others. Coins of Compassion are a living economy of the heart and they’re now in the hands of kids who are learning to give and receive them to and from each other.

We know the Compassion Games are changing what it means to compete, and now it’s clear a new value system of currency has emerged; and who knows where it will go?

While all leagues come together to play in the Global Games Coopetition, Schools can also play from Oct 15th to the 25th, closing on National “Make A Difference Day.” In 2015, educators will be treated to a series of conference calls with speakers and both plenty of time and resources to ensure their success in the next Education League Games. Rahbin’s goal is to see 150 Teams (classrooms, schools, or school districts) participate in the Compassion Games in 2015.