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9/11 Day and Compassion Games: Catalyzing More Good Deeds Than Ever!

For many people the tragic events of 9/11 changed their lives. Being a proud New Yorker, that was the day that everything changed for me as well. My life as a social entrepreneur – including the birth of the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities and the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest – can be linked back to that fateful day.

It is therefore a great honor to be partnering with 9/11 Day. It is deeply moving to see the Compassion Games woven into the vision that on 9/11, not only was there an unbelievable tragedy, but there was also an unprecedented level of humanity, caring, and love that emerged and was shared around the world on that day. The goal of 9​/11 Day ​is to keep alive the spirit of unity and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, providing a positive, helpful way for people to annually kl-stargirl02i-fish0814remember and pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, and honor those that rose in service in response to the attacks.

David Paine and his partner Jay Winuk wanted to establish September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under federal law. “We wanted to create a permanent and positive way for the nation to annually honor all of the victims and heroes of 9/11, in a way that increasingly helps people in need, year after year.” said Winuk.

Over the next few years, David and Jay created MyGoodDeed and worked with communities to build participation in the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, which became known as “9/11 Day,” gradually gaining more and more support for it in the U.S. Congress.  

Then in 2009 with strong bi-partisan backing, MyGoodDeed, successfully secured passage of federal legislation by the United States Congress, with a subsequent Presidential Proclamation, that officially recognized and established September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under U.S. law.  

On August 18th, 2015, Compassion Games International and 9/11 Day announced a strategic partnership with the aim to EarthHugFishfurther amplify, ignite, and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. The Compassion Games is a 9/11 Day featured partner and 9/11 Day is a sponsor of the Compassion Games.  Read the joint press release here.

To help communicate about this relationship and synergies between us, we asked David Paine to answer four questions about our partnership.


Compassion Games International (CGI): Why is compassion important to your work?

David Paine (DP): In the weeks immediately following the 9/11 attacks, our nation experienced a remarkable period of unity and compassion. It was a real awakening. We stopped worrying about our differences and realized how much we all have in common as human beings. If we truly want to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the many who bravely rose in service in response, we ought to rekindle that spirit of unity and compassion in our country. That’s what 9/11 Day is all about, and why we are so supportive of the Compassion Games.

CGI: Why is playing and supporting the Compassion Games a good idea?

DP: People by nature are compassionate, but sometimes in the face of our busy society we can get out of practice and see our skills for compassion diminish. What is so great about the Compassion Games is that it provides tangible ways for people to develop and use those skills again, and helps them become more compassionate throughout the year.

CGI: How can people learn more about your work?

DP: We invite everyone interested in doing a good deed on 9/11 to visit our website at, watch our video and take the Good Deed Challenge. We also have a national list of volunteer opportunities for 9/11; free lesson plans for teachers, mentors and parents to help them share stories about 9/11 with younger children and teens; and toolkits for employers and organizations.

CGI: What is your hope and dream for this year’s annual Compassion Games?

DP: I’d love to see millions of people enter the Compassion Games this year, and see what happens to them personally as a result. I’d love to hear their stories!

CGI: Thank you, David and Jeff for all your remarkable efforts! You two are clearly pioneering “Champions of Compassion”.


The Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest begins on September 11th and continues through September 21st, the International Day of Peace, and is part of the 11 Days of Global Unity. Visit our website at

The Compassion Games is encouraging people from all over the globe to participate in the annual Compassion Games. Kick-off the Games by taking the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge, invite others to play, and share your experiences with the world on the Compassion Report Map. (Players can report anonymously if they prefer.)

In support of the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge, a short video was prepared for this years 9/11 Day, called “Hope was Born on 9/11.”

Can it be that hope was born on 9/11? Can we come together in unprecedented compassionate action to demonstrate that we as a people are capable of bringing love and kindness to a world in need? The answer lives in each of us; in our heads, hearts, and hands.

Game on!
Take the 9/11 Good Deed Challenge Here!

Take the 9:11 Challenge

You Are Invited to the (Free, Online) Global Compassion Summit!

Peaceful Summertime Greetings!

The Compassion Games is excited to be partnering with the Shift Network in the first online Global Compassion Summit, and we warmly welcome you to join us!

Do you sometimes wonder how you can deal with the suffering in your own life, let alone the suffering of the world? We know it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel as though there’s nothing you can do to get relief.

That’s why we’re looking forward to The Shift Network’s free online Global Compassion Summit, taking place July 7-9, 2015. This special event features leaders in the growing compassion field – including Karen Armstrong, Congressman Tim Ryan, Matthieu Ricard, Roshi Joan Halifax, Dr. James Doty, Kristin Neff, Dacher Keltner, and others – all respected experts who illustrate that through compassion, you can be with suffering – your own and others’ – with kindness, grace and a little playfulness.

You can sign up for free here!

The Global Compassion Summit (GCS) is part of the 4th annual Summer of Peace, a 3-month series that celebrates collective peace efforts and leaders creating a culture of peace. When you sign up for GCS, you’ll also have the option to register for all of The Summer of Peace offerings for free. Featured peace-builders for the Summer of Peace include Deepak Chopra, Jane Goodall, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

The Summer of Peace includes the September Annual Global Compassion Games coopetition, taking place from 9/11, a National Day of Service to 9/21, the International Day of Peace. The eleven days of service and compassion are known as the 11 Days of Global Unity, and in them we aim to inspire compassionate action toward ourselves, others, and the Earth in communities around the world.

Learn more about the 2015 Annual Global Compassion Games here!

With this inaugural online compassion event, you’ll discover profound insights, the latest neuroscience and practical skills from trusted researchers and inspiring educators.

To learn more and be a part of this incredible online event, click here.

During the summit, you’ll learn how to cultivate love and compassion for yourself, for your loved ones, for strangers and even perceived enemies.

You’ll learn to recognize our shared common humanity and move from judgment to compassion and connection – and experience greater love, acceptance and peace in your relationships.

The Summer of Peace is bringing together tens of thousands of global citizens who, like you, yearn for a more peaceful way of life for all. From personal to planetary issues, together, we will acknowledge, celebrate and accelerate the wave of peacebuilding that has been growing across the globe. You’ll find ways to participate in the compassion movement, and in doing so, help accelerate the shift to a more playful and peaceful planet!

Register for this life-affirming summit now – and get ready to transform suffering in your heart, your relationships and the world.

Register Here Button

Playfully compassionate,

The Compassion Games

P.S. – Here are just a few quotes from past Summer of Peace participants:

“The Summer of Peace contains priceless tools available to create a more peaceful world today. This year, I am honored to be bringing the Global Compassion Summit (2015) to The Summer of Peace. I believe that peace and compassion are pivotal soulmates on the path to planetary peace.

– Emily Hine, Director, The Global Compassion Summit

“I can’t think of any other educational forum that touches on so many issues, and with such depth of thinking, looking at how we build peace. Some of the smartest and most inspiring thinkers are lined up to share their wisdom. It’s an opportunity not to miss.”

– Matthew Albracht, The Peace Alliance

“The Summer of Peace was an enlightening and moving experience where I got to hear directly from visionaries who spoke with true wisdom. This is the most exciting event on behalf of peace in decades!”

– Krystal Rose

Reserve Your Spot Here!


Being Human Ain’t Easy: Unexpected Lessons from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa

We surely can’t complain about the mystery and thrill of being alive. Yet, regardless of one’s walk of life, it just isn’t easy being human.

downloadLike the tilted spinning of the Earth traveling through the Milky Way, having balance in one moment does not necessarily mean we will have it in the next. Life is messy. We are each challenged by the struggles of maintaining harmony in our relationships, by the incessant demand of finances and making a living, and of nurturing the physical and mental health of ourselves and those we love. We each desire meaning, belonging, and purpose in our lives.

These challenges in life, in their various forms and magnitudes, are a given. It is how we respond – not react – to life’s challenges that truly matter, transmuting them into all the more reason to love harder and be more compassionate toward others and toward ourselves, knowing we all suffer in one way or another.

Unfortunately, this is far easier to say and know than to do.Karmapa Image

Which is perhaps why thousands of people flocked like weary birds to Seattle Center on May 9th, to receive a drink of the cool, spring water that is the presence and teachings of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. He is, after all, a shining example of compassion and love in a tumultuous world.

What we got, however, was something far different than expected. Something, I believe, that was far better.

First of all, His Holiness had a cold, leaving him visibly and admittedly drained. To top this off, Seattle was the last stop on his journey of events over the course of two months, which was extremely exhausting in itself.

Buddha or not, I thought, the Karmapa is human. This lesson, which had only just begun, was the greatest gift he could have given us. Here was a moment for us to have deep compassion for him. Curiously and unexpectedly, it wasn’t the last.

After forty-five minutes of his teachings about compassion from the Kagyu Buddhist tradition, a young panel of change-makers sat on stage with the Karmapa and asked him, each in turn, some very difficult questions.

One such question was from Jennifer Hotes, a young woman activist from a nonprofit called Love City Love which creates open spaces for artists to create art in community for one another for the sake of joy. She asked him:

“How do we have fun without using it as a way to escape from the suffering in the world, as a way to remind ourselves of the positive things in life?” She paused, almost forgetting to ask him the next part of her question with a sheepish but twinkling smile on her face. “And also, what do you do to have fun?”

The moderator quickly finished translating her question with a smile himself, and the Karmapa’s eyebrows went up in surprise. He put his hand to his chin in deep thought. He was, as clear as day, stumped! The audience laughed with him. To our surprise, here is some of what he said:

“It’s important in life, to not take things so seriously all the time. It’s important to remember to enjoy life to celebrate the good things… I remember when I was a young boy, my family would celebrate Losar, the Lunar New Year of Tibet. I remember that I would get so excited the day before that my siblings and I couldn’t sleep… We still honor Losar, but now I must follow set itineraries, the day is full of ceremony and ritual that I must fulfill. Sometimes I wish I could just lay in bed and sleep through it… As for what I do for fun now, I don’t know. I’ll have to give this more thought.”

As the last words of this were translated, the Karmapa unexpectedly began to speak again, which was translated to us once more:

“I really enjoy music and the arts. When I have time, I like to paint and make music. The arts are very important. That is all I have to say on the matter.”

It was an astonishing revelation, I think, for all of us. Quite simply, the Karmapa didn’t experience much of what it was like to simply play, to have fun.

This appears to be a common issue for everyday people and change-makers alike. We often feel guilty regarding the moments of joy in our lives when we know there is so much suffering in the world. Yet, play is an essential human need that allows us to connect with one another, building authentic relationships that can lead to sustainable action rooted in compassion. When we don’t take time to honor what is good and beautiful in life, we burn out. We lose our sense of wholeness. We actually become less effective at making positive change happen.

It is actually this concern that lead to us being invited to the event with the Karmapa at Seattle Center, to represent the CompassionCompassion Games Updated Logo for Shift Network Games and teach attendees about it. The Compassion Games are a social tool designed to ignite, amplify, and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. By infusing the power of playfulness and compassion with the fun of friendly competition, the Games offer a unique way to strive together to serve each other, our own personal well-being, and the Earth.

Experiencing the challenges that nonprofits face with finding financial support to grow and scale, the struggle can sometimes lead us to doubt the importance of play and the idea that you can use play to build the capacity of communities to be more compassionate. As we are currently fundraising to expand the Games to respond to a growing demand, this weighed heavily on our team’s hearts that evening.

Yet, once we began to speak with people about the Games, most people went from curiosity or confusion to an understanding grin on their face. “Team Seattle needs your help!” we would say humorously with feigned exacerbation. “The Mayor of Louisville said they were the most compassionate city in the world and would be so until kindliving1-300x245proven otherwise! In fact, he said they were so compassionate they would come here and help us beat them!” At that point, most people usually laughed and wanted to learn more. Obviously, no one can lose the Compassion Games, though they seem to tap into an innate human desire to want to play together, to do the heavy lifting in the world with a lighter heart. By doing so, the Games can help raise the capacity of compassion in our lives and our communities in ways we otherwise wouldn’t feel inspired, or believe were possible, to do.

This may be why the Compassion Games worked so well in a women’s prison, where for the first time ever there were eleven days of no violence while the Games were played. Or why they are so excitingly received in educational settings, where children can “cooperate to compete” to make their schools safer and warmer places to learn, and to experience compassion first hand.

We were feeling quite relieved about the reception of the Compassion Games at the Karmapa’s event, but then it happened: one of the change-makers of the panel on-stage, a young lady named Rekeda Roundtree from Roots of Empathy, asked another challenging question:

“It seems that competition is at the root of many social ills that we as a society face today. Can you tell us how competition creates barriers between people, how it is a separation that prevents us from connecting compassionately together to collaborate and make change?”

kl-stargirl02i-fish0814As an organization that aimed to use friendly competition as a kind of “culture hack” to get people excited about making a difference (the latin root for competition – “competere” – means “to strive together”), this question made our hearts skip a beat. Our team looked at each other with playfully worried smiles, holding our breath as we anticipated what would come next. Depending on his answer, we would either proudly stay, or try to make a break for it before mobs of outraged compassion-seekers descended on us.

The moderator asked if it was okay to inverse the question. He asked, “So, can I ask the Karmapa if fishastroheartpplcompetition can be used in a way that is positive, as a way to make positive social change?” The young woman, once again, reiterated her original question regarding competition’s more negative side, how it enhances social ills rather than alleviates them.

Here is what the Karmapa said:

“Competition is very pervasive in the world today, connected to many of the activities that lead to problems. Even when people are not engaged in competition – competition with distinct victors or those who are defeated – people may bring the energy of competition to their everyday lives, like in an argument and the need to be right at the expense of others. But, I think competition can have a positive aspect to it as well. Competition can be used as a motivator to better oneself, not to beat others but to compete with oneself to become more compassionate. In this way competition can be used to make oneself stand out, but in a positive way.”

All at once, we let our breaths out in a sigh of relief and laughed; there wouldn’t be any compassion mobs coming for us today. As it turns out, even the Karmapa believed that friendly competition could be used as a social force for good.

Once, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said this when asked a similar question:

“Competition used to put others down: not good. Competition used to bring everybody up: that is very good.”

We were grateful that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa shared with us his down-to-earth human side. It allowed us, I believe, to see ourselves in him, not as an idol or state of perfection that we are not, but as a person like the rest of us. It made room for greater compassion toward ourselves in our own hardships, mishaps, and imperfections. Life is full of them, that’s for certain, but it’s easier to know that we are in them together, that even our suffering profoundly connects us all.

As for play and having fun: may we all enjoy the gifts that life has to offer us more often, not as an escape, but as a celebration to rejuvenate our spirits. And may the Compassion Games touch countless more lives by reminding us how to change the world by having fun, by reminding us of the child within us all.

We each desire to see the world become a more kind, safe, and loving place. It is much more rewarding when we do this together.


Story Written by Compassion Games Storyteller Joey Crotty
with support from Compassion Games Team Members Lesa Walker, Sande Hart, and Jon Ramer

Mayors as Leaders in the Compassion Movement

As citizens, we understand the power of public policy and the choices that a Mayor can make. We know that budgets are moral documents that reflect the values of our community and are then carried out by our elected officials.

We also know that now is a tough time to hold public office with so many fellow citizens distrusting the government and the political process.  Therefore, we think it is particularly meaningful to recognize outstanding leaders who are committed to integrating compassion as a part of their approach to building community and setting public policy.

murrayWe are happy to report that the Honorable Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle has issued a Proclamation in support of the Love This Place: Serve the Earth Week coopetition taking place from April 18 to 26.

Here is a mayor’s proclamation that recognizes the extraordinary challenges we face as a planet such as “climate change, global health issues, violence, food and water shortages, and economic struggles.”

It also states that “each of us have a right to a healthy, sustainable environment;” and “the global community must come together to create compassionate solutions to our global challenges.”

With Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle and the Honorable Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, we have two Mayors who are in tune with the urgent call of our time and who recognize the importance of compassionate responses to these challenges.

We also know that proclamations and speeches are not enough. These mayors are calling us to get engaged and give time in service to our communities to address these challenges and opportunities.

Mayor Greg Fischer from Louisville has organized Give A Day during the Mayor’s Week of Service that coincides with the “Love This Place! Serve the Earth Week” coopetition (April 18-26).

Mayor Fischer led the U.S. Conference of Mayors and passed a resolution calling for compassion as part of effective public policy.

In 2012, Mayor Fischer challenged Seattle and communities from all over the world to see who was the most compassionate city.

Seattle took up the challenge and this gave rise to the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest in which we harness the power of compassion and cooperation and add to it the spirit of friendly-competition. This approach to competition brings people together to play and live compassionately in their communities.

During the Compassion Games, teams participate in “coopetitions” that challenge us to amplify the love and compassion we feel as a way to make our communities safer, kinder, and better places to live.

Communities connect the groups, organizations, events, and activities that are already in place to co-create a “collective impact” through mass-collaboration.

Players participate in community service projects, random acts of kindness, act as “Secret Agents of Compassion,” and engage in other fun ways to bring about positive change in their communities. Cooperative play helps us develop the skills to build the capacity to act more compassionately towards each other, ourselves, and the earth.

The last step is a reflective one: Players report and share their acts of compassion and kindness with each other through an online crowdsourcing map. They record the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served.  Everybody who plays wins; no one can lose the Compassion Games!

In honor of our earth and Earth Day here is a beautiful video that is an ode to planet earth


We are very grateful to the mayor and his staff for mobilizing on behalf and in support of a love this place serve the earth week. Thank you Mayor Murray!


Mayor’s Give A Day of Service:

Compassion Proclamation


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! 


A Compassionate Response to Ebola

Ebola is certainly in the news and everyone is having to respond to this terrifying threat. The 2014 Compassion Games team known as “Fearless” are living up to their name. After hearing about a fundraising effort on The Shift Network’s Summer of Peace program, they decided to raise funds to support education and outreach in response to the recent Ebola breakout in West Africa.

The “Alliance for the Earth” initiative is a part of the Liberia Peacebuilding Project, an organization helping the people cope with the Ebola crisis.  The funds were donated to the Foundation for West Africa which supports Sierra Leone’s Independent Radio Network and Radio Moa 105.5 FM, a community-owned radio station in Kailhaun, Eastern Sierra Leone. Both radio stations are helping to keep the people informed and to educate them on how to prevent the spread of ebola.

The Compassion Games also inspired compassionate contemplation, so Fearless team members also put Andrew Kromah, Foday Sajuma from Sierra Leone, Harper M. Karmon and Christian Wolo Bethelson from Liberia; all who are working tirelessly to help their countries deal with the ebola situation on church and personal prayer lists.ebolareport

Here’s a great example of how the inspiration of the games can be brought to bear on pressing social challenges that we are facing.  Above is the report submitted to the Compassion Report Map.


2014 Leaderboard Results!

Ta Da!! We have updated the 2014 Leaderboard with the numbers for this years games. We’ve gone through every report that was submitted for every day of the Games. Although the whole spirit of the Compassion Games is playful and fun, we take your efforts to report on your acts of compassion seriously. Of course, whoever played in the games and did or didn’t report was a winner, and with that said let’s get into the numbers.

When accountants deliver “the numbers” they usually also prepare a “note” to help explain what the numbers mean. Consider this post that kind note. If you look at the leaderboard you’ll see that the teams are grouped by leagues and sorted alphabetically. Each of the columns are reviewed below:

Team names and #hashtags

We introduced hashtags this year as a way to apply a common name across all website and social media platforms.  In the process of reviewing the reports we made our best efforts to identify reports and associate them with the teams they belong to. Everyone didn’t use the same team name or #hashtag name to refer to a particular team. We did our best to cross reference and connect team wherever possible.

Number of reports

There were people who submitted reports with team names (or #hashtag) but didn’t put in any numbers. In these cases, at a minimum we put in “one volunteer and one person served” logic, being that the act of reporting was an act of service and the person reporting was served in the process. We made other revisions if it was obvious what the missing numbers should be.

Number of volunteers

This was straightforward. We just counted what people reported. We may not be accountants, but this was an easy one.

Number of hours

Some people reported an act of compassion that lasted 10 seconds, and others reported  actions that will last for infinity. We did allow for fractions up to a quarter of an hour. Did I mention we are not accountants? We did our best!

Money donated to local causes

This was straightforward. We just added up the amounts.

Number of people served

This is the most objective number of them all. This says a lot about the reporter. We left the numbers as they were reported. In some cases people’s compassionate act reached thousands and even millions of people. Who can disagree with that?  I sure hope it’s true. Other people were quite conservative in reporting on how many people were served. I remember last year someone said that their meditations were reaching all sentient beings for all-time! I believe that’s true, but that’s me!

Other Observations

We saw that there was an enormous amount of food raised and we didn’t have an easy way to count that. We need a column titled  “Priceless”!

There are also groups of players that self-organized to form a team and never officially signed up but played and reported as a team. This is very cool!

And then there were the amazing reports themselves. For example; check out the report on what was done in Sierra Leone where $200 was raised to get the word out and keep people informed about how to prevent the spread of Ebola. Or did you see the team that planted hundreds of pink flamingos in their neighbor’s yard to raise awareness and money for building homes in Guatemala? And of course, we hope you heard that the inmates in the California Institution for Women prison were playing for a second year, beating their personal best of 4600 points last year by exceeding their goal of 10,000 points this year! The stories go on and on.

The compassion report map is full of these kinds of experiences being shared with the world.  We’d love you to look through them and let us know about your favorites!

It is humbling and inspiring to see what we’re capable of when we come together to give of ourselves in creative ways seeking to play with compassion!

If you want to understand more about how we see the leaderboard and measuring compassion take a look at this article we wrote recently.

What’s Next?

Have your calendar handy?

October 15-25 – The Schools Games

February 1-7 – The Interfaith/Multicultural/Faith Based Games

Year-round Keep the Compassion Games alive in your life and in your community! Keep the reports coming and contribute to our Compassion Games International Facebook page. Keep the creativity flowing and broadcasted!

Compassion shared is compassion multiplied!

Here are your results! 



Wow! 2014 Games Are Behind Us, Now it’s Time to Celebrate and Share!

Wow, what an amazing closing day for this years breakthrough Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest!

As you know there were convenings happening all over the globe celebrating a world of connected communities. There were hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets in New York City for the People’s Climate March as well as thousands of gatherings in solidarity with the March, and around the world people were also celebrating the International Day of Peace and the last day of the Compassion Games. It was a day when the world gave voice to the concerns and dreams we share about our future. No one can comprehend the impact of yesterday and I don’t think we’ll ever have a day like yesterday again. Or will we?

This year’s Compassion Games were a breakthrough and we broke lots of new ground; we organized into leagues of teams that can now prepare and train all year round, we introduced new games like “Drive With Compassion” and “Compassion All-Stars“, and launched the “Sun Up Our Sanctuaries Compassion Games Solar Challenge” which will run to the end of next year’s games, as well as over a thousand people acting as Secret Agents of Compassion. We heard the first Compassion Games theme song thanks to Dina Rae Capitano, got to download the Compassion Today! app developed by Dr. Lesa Walker, and of course all the power of self-organizing and inspiring teams making contributions like the #CreativeDeed project. Clearly we are all Compassion Games champions!

While we are overjoyed with the dramatic increase in participation, what really inspires us is what people are doing and the stories they’re sharing. Thank you to those of you who took great care and time to share your experiences with us on the Report Map. We know you are all in it, not for the points, but to help heal, inspire, make your home, community, world save, kinder, more just places to live. We also know those points are important too!

We will do a thorough review and report on what the 2014 games has contributed to our Compassion Games movement. We know the games are a catalyst for collaboration and we look forward to strengthening and expanding what is emerging.

For now we wanted to clarify the timing and encourage everyone to submit whatever reports they choose to. We encourage people to keep reporting on the compassion map in the days and weeks and months to come. But, for reports to be counted and tallied on the leaderboard for this years games the reports must be submitted by midnight Wednesday PDT. We will review and tally them and our goal is to have the final numbers by 5 PM Friday.

We recently wrote a piece about the leaderboard and why we think it’s important. You can read that piece here. Remember no one can lose the compassion games and the more people play the more people win! That’s why this is so worth the time and effort to organize. Thank you so much for making the 2014 Compassion Games a great success!


Compassion for Mother Earth: Unprecedented Alliance Protects the Salish Sea

All life is interconnected: birthed from the same great beginning of impossible origins, you, everyone you know, and everything you’ve ever loved or experienced was forged in the living hearts of dying stars. Many of our ancient ancestors knew this to be the fundamental truth of all existence, the delicate balance and interdependent nature of all life, and lived their lives in this wisdom. Though we have gained much from our technological and scientific advances in modern times, this knowledge has now become the crying call of science as our most recent discoveries light the way back to the wisdom of our ancient past, pleading for all of humanity to awaken to our responsibility of taking care of this precious planet and all living creatures.

The ultimate Compassion Game is undoubtedly having compassion for the one home we have ever known, from which all life depends and originates: our Mother Earth.

This is why Compassionistas and Earth Warriors from the Pacific Northwest are forming an unprecedented coalition to protect the land and waters they hold sacred. They are called the Nawtsamaat Alliance.

The Nawt-sa-maat Alliance is an empowered coalition of Coast Salish Indigenous Peoples, environmental, interfaith, and youth activists, and impassioned community members who love the land and waters of the Salish Sea and call it home.

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest and ranging from Washington State to British Columbia, the Alliance was created to heighten awareness of the increased risks and threats to their beautiful region by a fossil fuel industry that continues to exploit and destroy it. The Alliance mobilizes international, cross-cultural, and co-creative joint action to block fossil fuel projects such as the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion in British Columbia, as well as oil trains, coal trains, oil tankers, ports and other pipelines. They are calling for unprecedented unified action to protect and restore the Salish Sea and the communities surrounding it.

An image of the Nawtsamaat Alliance’s Symbol of Unity,
The North Star surrounded by two Orca Whales

Last Sunday, September 7th, the Alliance hosted its first major event, the “Gathering to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea.” The gathering ceremonially launched their collective work in unity with its growing membership base – which includes Greenpeace, Forest Ethics, Sierra Club, the Interfaith Council of Greater Seattle, as well as the Tsleil-Waututh, Tulalip and Lummi First Nation peoples among many others – as they prepare for the 4 Days of Action from September 19th to the 22nd, culminating in the signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea at Tsleil-Waututh Nation in British Columbia

(Hear a wonderful radio news podcast of the Alliance and event by PRX here:

The 4 Days of Action will catalyze the Alliance’s effort to raise awareness on a multi-national scale about the increasingly devastating effects of the coal and oil industry’s presence in the Salish Sea region. At this moment, coal and oil companies are intending to transform the Pacific Northwest into a fossil fuel corridor in order to boost their profits and run oversea economies. A proposed extraction point for a new coal terminal at Lummi Nation’s Cherry Point would remove an unprecedented amount of coal from the land, and is a Sacred burial ground site for the Lummi people.

Another such project – the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion – would increase oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea from 4 to 35 oil tankers per month, (moving more earth than the size of Texas from the Alberta Tar Sands) carrying the proprietary bitumen of crude tar sands oil, each tanker three times larger than the size of Exxon Valdez, a famous tanker that spilled in Alaskan waters in 1989 and has still not fully recovered. They plan to carry this oil through the Hecate Strait, the fourth most dangerous water channel in the world. Just one oil spill would be enough to devastate the already diminishing and fragile ecosystem of the Salish Sea, and it is highly probable that such an event would occur.  The international effects would be catastrophic.

Major events or the 4 Days of Action include the Internationally Rally, “Climate Change Knows No Borders: Defense of the Salish Sea is Without Boundaries” happening on September 20th in solidarity with the NYC People’s Climate March, and the signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea from September 21st to the 22nd.

(Read an amaizng article by Seattle Weekly about the Nawtsamaat Alliance here:

 Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 2.16.57 PM

A powerful photo taken by Seattle Weekly at the Gathering.

The Nawtsamaat Alliance is hosting its first Learning Circle in Seattle on Tuesday, September 16th, at 6pm, called “The Sacred Hoop of Peace and Compassion.” Very special guests include Mona Polacca, youngest of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, and Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. of Four Worlds International Institute. Join them for a night of elder wisdom: enjoy story telling, ask the big questions, and learn more about the Alliance and Salish Sea Marine Sanctuary.

All members of the human family are warmly invited!

RSVP here:



Say Yes to Human Rights and the Compassion Games

Lush Cosmetics is an incredible supporter of Human Rights and asked us to write about it. LUSH is a Gold Sponsor of the Games!

What does it mean to be a free person? What are the human rights that guarantee these freedoms? The answer to this profound question and often taken for granted concept may be as simple as having the right to say, “no.” Think about it for just a moment. If you can no longer decline what people ask of you, then by definition you must obey them, and ultimately, you no longer have free choice. You are no longer free.

So the ability to say no is an essential human right. But there must be more to this equation; we don’t live our lives in light of what we can decline. If saying “no” can be such a powerful symbol of freedom, we can only begin to imagine what saying “yes” can truly do. “No” naturally stops and stifles, while “yes” can propel and accelerate action. In a world where we can invent ways to share and serve humanity with one another, what do we want to say yes to? Because what we say yes to really matters.

Caring, nurturing, and loving kindness: would you say yes to these? These are the qualities of a truly thriving human world. Compassion is social gravity, a phenomenon that creates a field of trust, loyalty, and the desire to act on behalf of those we love (including the earth and ourselves). “Our [ultimate] task,”  Albert Einstein once said, “must be to free ourselves from this prison [of perceived separation] by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Yet, where do we learn these skills? Who can teach them to us and how can we develop them?  The Compassion Games lets us bring these ideas into our lived experience.  To know something, truly, is to act in alignment with that sense of knowing, to use the skills of that knowing for doing good. In short, knowing is doing, and what better way to do than to play?

Playing challenges us to “Behave into new ways of thinking as distinct from thinking into new ways of behaving.” If people innately want to say yes to compassion, then we need to find ways as a society that can get people off the sidelines and out onto the field to actually act compassionately.

This is the very reason the Compassion Games were created at all: to be an excuse, or a sort of “culture hack” to get people thinking and speaking differently – and most importantly – giving people “permission” (although we’ve always had that power) to actually act and make a difference in the world, and to do it together. The Compassion Games invite us to engage in and act compassionately toward others, the earth and just as essentially toward ourselves. They shine an overdue light on the brilliance of human potential, for once focusing on the acts of goodness that take place everyday in the world where compassion has always existed but has often not been paid attention to. The Games help fan the fires of this good to help it grow and thrive.

One creative and thoughtful example of people in a community working together as compassion in action for the Games is called “Pride Building in a Struggling Community.” Four people are taking the time to inspire struggling individuals who use a particular stairway for drug use and as a place to hang out when skipping school.

They reported, “We are going to decorate the stairs that are typically used for drug use, transactions, and kids skipping school. We are going to paint the stairs, and hang inspirational signs from trees in order to do some pride building for the users of the stairs. We will also pick up trash around the stairs and neighborhood.” (See the project report in the photo below.)

cleanupThere is also a growing list of everyday actions that can be done by anybody, at anytime, to exercise our “compassion muscle.” You could:

  1. Mentor an at-risk youth
  2. Strike up a conversation with an elder
  3. Be kind while driving (it takes patience and understanding!)
  4. Make a blanket and donate it to a homeless shelter
  5. Give a thank you note to a person you appreciate
  6. Or even give yourself 15 minutes of silence to appreciate the beauty of nature

Find more everyday compassion ideas here: Try out a few of them for yourself, and report your experiences on the Compassion Map! Sharing and celebrating can be just as important as doing. Find the Compassion Map here:

At a point, we human beings have to ask ourselves: Are we tired of senseless violence and fear, and of our culture’s obsession with portraying it? Or the hatred that stems from ignorance and a lack of understanding, causing a disunified rift in the spirit of the one human family? Are we fed up with the way we disrespect the only home we’ve ever known, our Mother Earth? This work of restoring our world can be done, and it can be done with a hopeful heart. Why? Because you and I are not alone in this desire to change things. And so we will.

As a wise friend says, “If you want to change the world, you’ve got to throw a better party.”

Or… Play. Play a better game.

Game on.