Stories for Seattle Center

Whidbey GeoDome and the Compassion Games Scavenger Hunt

When I first walked into the Whidbey GeoDome, I thought, “What an odd rubber room.” The inflatable space requires passage through a heavy, velcro curtain and is dotted with ground-level seats. Making myself comfortable in the middle of the front row, I was soon surrounded by images projected on all sides of the dome and surround-sound narration and  audio. The effect—like an intimate planetarium—was spectacular.



The minds behind the GeoDome believe in the power of stories—big and little. Further, they use the dome to show how stories told in an immersive environment stir deep visceral and emotional reactions in the audience. The creators see the GeoDome as a “merger of art and science,” that teaches by making these two realms of human creativity and intellect—often separated in our society—collaborate with each other.  This approach enhances and deepens the learning process by making education a stimulating event, one that engages the viewer in a variety of ways.





The current story, the Earth Portal, whisks you away through the far reaches of space. In the process, viewers gain a dual understanding. First, we learn how fantastically insignificant we are in this magnificent universe—a humbling effect that gives perspective but also creates awe. Second, we also see how impressive it is that we exist at all, the unique beauty of our world. Together, these two understandings encourage a feeling of humility and connection with what we know—our Earth—and what we can barely comprehend—the universe.


The folks at the Whidbey GeoDome believe that the awe and humility inspired by the Earth Portal can also encourage a more compassionate engagement with the world. That’s why they’re partnering with the Compassion Games Scavenger Hunt. Today is our fifth Scavenger Hunt Quest: Visit the Whidbey GeoDome, currently housed at the Seattle Center. Even better, attend the 5pm show tonight, or the next two Thursdays at 5pm, say you’re with the Compassion Games Scavenger Hunt, and you can watch the show for free!


If you’d like to play the Scavenger Hunt using our other partner, the game platform SuperBetter, click on this link. Set up your SuperBetter account and Epic Win. Then click on “Allies” in the left hand bar and send an email to, asking us to be your Ally. The Compassion Games will send you regular Quests and Power-Ups to help you discover the hidden gold of compassion in our city and help us all get SuperBetter.


Also, please join us on the Facebook event page and tell us about your adventures. Let’s create the community online and in the real world.

Representatives of the Compassion Games Address the Seattle City Council and Council Members Help Spread the Word

On September 10, 2012, representatives of the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest briefed the Seattle city council on the goals and plans for the Compassion Games. The Council members committed to engage and help spread the word to their constituents. For example, council member Nick Licata posted about the Compassion Games and the briefing on his official blog.

Jon Ramer with Compassionate Seattle network is the Head Gamemaker (for all you Hunger Games fans) of the Compassion Games. He was joined at the council meeting by Louis Mendoza of the volunteer center of United Way of King County and Andrea Brenneke, a civil rights and employment lawyer and board member of Compassionate Seattle and the Compassionate Action Network International. Together, these three representatives displayed their passion and enthusiasm for creating greater compassion in the city of Seattle and, importantly, helping Seattleites discover where compassion already flourishes. You can see the briefing here; the Compassion Games portion begins just after minute 43:00.


The Games, of course, begin on September 21, 2012, the International Day of Peace, the United Way Day of Caring, and the Autumnal Equinox—as Ramer noted in his remarks—to October 21, 2012, the conclusion of Seattle’s “The Next 50” event and the end of their month focused on civic engagement. During the briefing, council member Licata stated, “I think that it’s very appropriate that this is starting here in Seattle given that I think we’re the #1 game-maker in the US if not the world.” Similarly, Brenneke signaled her and Seattle’s readiness to take up the city of Louisville’s challenge to best them in compassion through the inaugural Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest. As Ramer declares at the end of the briefing, “Let’s all get SuperBetter!”

9/11 11 Years Later

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11, a day that changed so much for so many people. I know that it changed everything for me. What about for you?

I’ll never forget that Friday evening after 9/11 Shabbat service where Rabbi Ted Falcon invited Imam Jamal Rahman to speak, to make sure that people saw a different face of Islam. It was 9/11 that brought Ted, Jamal and Pastor Don McKenzie together to form the Interfaith Amigos.

My work in Seattle on helping to create a culture of compassion, understanding, kindness and justice goes back to those days. The work over the seven years from 2001 to 2008 built the relationships and commitment that helped us to be of service when his Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Seattle. Along with the Interfaith Amigos and the help of many volunteers who later formed the Compassionate Action Network International and Compassionate Seattle, we organized the Interfaith prayer breakfast for the Seeds of Compassion.

In commemoration of 9/11, KUOW had the Interfaith Amigos on the air this morning. The Amigos talked about their experiences of the last eleven years and what they’ve learned about how to create spiritually meaningful lives that aren’t based on any one particular religious tradition, but instead honor all paths.

They answered questions about their journey getting to know each other and how they’ve been able to tell others about the beauty and benefit of getting to know people outside of one’s familiar world. They affirmed the need we all have to create meaningful community, whether we consider ourselves religious or not, and noted the one thing that they believe to be at the core of each true spiritual path. To hear what they believe this to be, you can listen to their podcast by following the link here.

On Friday, September 21, the International Day of Peace, there will be a peace vigil and concert at the Interfaith Community Church (ICC), the spiritual home of Jamal Rahman. This event is part of the opening ceremonies of the Compassion Games. We invite you to get involved in the Compassion Games and join with us for 30 days of compassionate action to co-create a Seattle that’s a kinder, more just and better place to live.

Leave a comment below and tell us if you’ll be attending the opening ceremony at ICC. Also, if you enjoyed this article and the podcast, please help us spread the word and share this post with your friends and family!

Our Stand for Compassion at Seattle Center

As part of Compassionate Seattle’s plan to create “collective impact” we put together a physical “stand for compassion” that was on display at Seattle Center. On seven occasions we set up our stand and engaged with fellow citizens about our community and our plans to create a culture of compassion in our region.  We learned how people think and feel about compassion and how they see or don’t see themselves connected to other people and the greater community.

I came to believe that we are not just in an economic recession but we’re in a social recession as well. There’s no question that people want to see more compassionate action, as there is a mood of resignation and hopelessness associated with the current conditions.

However, being at Seattle Center offered us a bright spot as we told the story of the John T Williams Totem Pole Memorial and the difference that compassionate action made in turning a tragedy into an opportunity for healing. Two weeks after the shooting members of the John T William’s family and tribe met with city officials in a “restorative circle” that led to a peaceful creative solution, inspiring all of us to have similar courage.  At the Stand for Compassion at Seattle Center we met Tony Joe who met Rick and John T. Williams when she first arrived in Seattle in 1975.  Listen to Tony Joe describe her relationship with the Williams Brothers.

We also met people like Michael who a few times a week pulls over to help motorists in need. Hear his description of what he does and how he feels he’s representing Seattle when he does it!

The experiences we had being at Seattle Center taught us about our need to reconnect with each other and overcome the social isolation and disconnection.  This led to imagining the Compassion Games as a way to get us out of our norms and connected with each other.  Thank you to all the people who came down and helped us build a stand for compassion: Anne Stadler, Erik Lawyer, Susan Partnow, John Hale, Silvana Hale, Elle McSharry, Jeff VanderClute Libby Burk, Michael Truog, and John and Heidi Malcolmson.  Thank you to Seattle Center and the Next Fifty for supporting us in doing this. On to the games!