Archive for compassion

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.

You are compassion

Submitted by Dee Williams

Many people are studying compassion in order to introduce it into schools and other places. Some say it should be taught. Others have won awards for their programs that teach about compassion. Cities are touted as being the most compassionate. I guess this might be similar to the idea that “a corporation is a person”. Are we really ready to get serious about compassion? Even just saying the word may evoke a spark of “something” for you or me. I know that when I say or see the word it is as if I know it “compassion” intuitively.

My first impression about compassion was during my childhood when my pet hamster died. It was a sad time for me. But my friends and I decided to give the hamster a funeral. It was as if everyone came together to share my grief and help me get through that period of pain. I don’t recall that anyone laughed at the idea. I just remember that ceremony was just what I needed at the time.

I believe it is in us to be compassionate. We have an innate ability for compassion. I think it is linked to the same sense that tells us right from wrong. It is a felt sense of awareness about what is needed in a particular situation such as when a family member or pet dies. We have the instinctive response to feel sad for the person who lost a loved one (empathy) and the desire to perform some action that will help the other person feel better.

Compassion is part of our nature. It might be buried deep under some other emotion such as anger or fear making it difficult to fully express your compassion. If compassion is built into our human nature what does it take to nurture this quality? Can our innate compassion be further developed at all stages of our life? I think this is possible. I have read about great results from the practices of yoga and meditation to help many people open their hearts and allow their nature of compassion to grow. Once your heart opens you may begin to feel somewhat vulnerable to the ebb and flow of life. But it is our ability to connect with our own internal struggle for self-compassion that is the gateway towards directing our compassion towards others.

Instead of giving ourselves over to the struggles (obstacles) of life and feelings of defeat or hopelessness our practice of yoga and meditation guide us gradually to see the struggles of life with clearer vision and bring forth from within the strength and wisdom to overcome our obstacles. In learning the art of yoga and meditation we find the intuitive wisdom that reveals compassion as one of the many qualities built into our human nature. We also find the needed nurturing for opening our hearts.

And one effort to open hearts worldwide there is the Charter for Compassion and Seattle’s Compassionate City Proclamation. Check it out.

Dee is a local author and local instructor

She writes a blog at

How a neighborhood rescued a dog

Once upon a time there was a dog named Raider…

This is the story of how Raider’s needs were met by the actions of  Circle Drive, a compassionate neighborhood in Lake Forest Park, as told in the emails that circulated via our Resource Line:

Please help find this missing dog!

Lost about 4:30 PM Saturday.  He’s a 3-year-old male chocolate lab who answers to the name “Raider” or “Ray-Ray.”

He has no collar or ID.

A week later: Armand:

Please put out to the neighborhood:

Raider (chocolate lab)’s been coming here for food once or twice a day. My objective has been to get him closer to the back gate, and then lure him in and close it behind him.  (I’ve rigged a cord to do this…)

In order to make this happen, I’m writing to request that if any other neighbors are putting out food for him, please stop.  He knows that there is food here, and I’m hoping if I’m the only one feeding, that I’ll be able to catch him.

Sunday afternoon I bundled up and sat outside by the garden room for 2 hours waiting for Raider to come…

He came up finally, and started eating, but when I pulled the cord to close the gate, he bolted, knocked over 2 big pots, broke a huge glass ball, and got out!

He did come back an hour later and ate…

I’m hoping against hope that I will be able to corner him, but at this point I have to admit he’s so skittish and clever that this may come to no good end.

However, I am going to keep trying…

Ten days later: Doug:

Raider is staying pretty close to the “circle”, is on the move nearly continuously, and has been in and out of our yard many times over the past several days.

The next day: Phillapa:

Hi, I am writing from London and just wanted to say how proud we are to be neighbors of all that are showing such kindness to this dog!

We just got here from Venice, where we had a wonderful week of vacation.  We saw many beautiful dogs in Venice, who seem very happy to ride in all kinds of boats and trot along the alleyways, with no parks or very little grass in sight.  We are also happy to report that the European airports we have been through this past couple of weeks are using lots of lovely Labs and German Shepherds as “sniffer” dogs to smell every passenger as they go through the airport.  So much less intrusive that a full pat-down, and such a wise use of these intelligent and talented animals!

Best to all — see you next week!

Three days later:  Armand:

The saga of Raider continues.

Animal Control was called on Thursday. They are assisting us with the capture.  Their assessment is that Raider is NOT a dangerous dog, just lost and stressed.

We had a home arranged for Raider, but this has now fallen apart.

I am working on another solution, but have also learned that Animal Control and Paws only have limited day time hours… so as you can see, trapping him would not mean an immediate delivery which is also problematic.

Again, I ask you all to allow me to work with Raider to continue to try to build trust with him.  He clearly wants a home, but is not sure why he can’t find his people.

I want this resolved as much as anyone, but the reality is that this is not as easy as it seems… and I’d like to avoid any trauma to the dog as well.  Were I to trap him on Saturday night, I wouldn’t be able to get him to PAWS until Monday… so you see the problem.  Raider is not necessarily interested in working with Paws or Animal Controls’ time frame.

Later that day:  Anne:

I am so grateful to Armand for his diligent persistence in helping Raider.
It does seem to me that the dog has been clear that he is not aggressive, rather he is searching for safety and a place/people that feels “right”.

Next day: Armand:

Subject: Raider! A victory!

Credit goes to Marisa and Scott, who were finally able to lure Raider into an enclosure!  Through the use of stealth and modern technology, they were able to win his trust and get him trapped!

Once trapped, he settled right down, has accepted petting, more food, and is being really sweet.

This saga is now finally resolved.

My thanks go to everyone who has worked to assist in the catching of this beautiful dog.

Next day: Doug:

Scott built the enclosure used to entrap Raider.

Marisa used her magic with animals (and horse training experience) to induce Raider’s trust.  She fed him snacks while walking around talking to him, but with little eye contact.  She was also communicating with Scott, who was on his cell phone, speaking / guiding through Marisa’s ear piece. They led him around the yard many times, and on several occasions, and finally into the enclosure.

There, Raider was fed and watered, gently persuaded to come closer and to allow touching, was given a collar and leash, and was taken for short walks in the enclosure – then back out into the yard – then into the house.

Armand came over with more food and treats.  He and Walt have invested a lot of caring in this process.  So has Bea, who also came over to see Raider up close.  The whole neighborhood has shown Raider compassion and caring in general.

We have just introduced Raider to our dog and our cat.  That went OK, but it will take time for them to become “friends.”

We are now having conversations on keeping Raider as a new family member vs taking him to PAWS.

Raider is very smart and very sweet.

At this writing, they’re living happily ever after:

Raider’s name is now Bear as befits a happy chocolate lab who has found his “people.” His former owners have visited and given their blessing. The family’s resident dog, Biscuit, loves her new housemate. The family cat keeps her distance.














Cascading kindness winds through a neighborhood

By Joel Levey

We were touched when a couple of our friends/students offered to come over and help us trim a tree with vines that was hanging dangerously over our neighbors’ power lines.  

They brought over their ladders and saws, we shared some chocolate and music with them and after a few hours had managed to trim the tree and remove the danger of our neighbors’ electricity being cut during an wind or ice storm.   I was very grateful and relieved!  While we were working on the project, I talked with a neighbor who I hadn’t seen for a while and who I had wondered about, with some concern if she was okay.

As it turned out, she had been seriously ill and was just regaining her strength and returning to work.  She commented that she’d love to trim one of her trees – which was much more to a scale that I could handle with the tools and ladder that I have, so I offered to help her to prune her tree, for which she was delighted and most grateful.

What a natural cascade of kindness and compassion flowing from one heart-life to another as needs arise that we have the power to help with.  May we all be blessed to receive and offer such kindness, helpfulness, and compassion to others and pay it forward.  

(Note – there’s a great video that captures the spirit of this this – posted at: )

“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” — Your Compassion Games Begin!

The Games Begin!
A kind and understanding word, a generous act, the surprise of an unexpected gift, or the warmth of a smile…you’ve shared these acts of compassion as either the giver or receiver, probably many times. And while you may be facing one or many hardships, you have a dream within you that keeps you sharing acts of kindness despite signs that would have caused others to stop long ago.

And that’s why the Compassion Games were created! The Compassion Games were created for you and everyone else to win by realizing your dream for great kindness, empathy, and compassion for yourself, others, and your world. If you let it, playing the Compassion Games can make you stronger and alter what you think can be.

So, how will you live your dream for a better world? Will you Do Good and surprise someone you know with a random act of compassion? Will you Volunteer for a United Way service project? Will you Tell A Story of compassion? Or will you Get SuperBetter and complete your quests for the Epic Win and help make a Golden Reality where no one goes hungry and no one gives up?

In the end, you know deep in your heart that no one wins if someone loses. And you know deep in your heart that everything’s gonna be alright because you’re gonna make it alright.

So this is your moment to really shine! Play the Compassion Games and Go For the Gold! Together we can make this world a better, safer, kinder, and more just place to be. Let the Compassion Games begin!

Lets All Get SuperBetter!

Compassion for others starts within. But where do we start? What can we do for ourselves that will strengthen us individually and collectively to build compassion in our lives?

One way we develop strengths is by playing games. Here is a remarkable game in which we all can grow while each of us gets SuperBetter. We’ll use this game to play the Compassion Games’ Scavenger Hunt. Give it a try!

We’ll use SuperBetter to search for the buried treasure that is the heart and soul of our community. We want to find the strengths that are within our community and within each of us to make the changes that we seek to create a culture of compassion.

Playing SuperBetter will help you build up all four kinds of strength: physical, mental, emotional, and social. These strengths can help you conquer any challenge. SuperBetter is a tool created by game designers and backed by science to help build personal resilience: the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficult challenges.  You can watch this video to learn more about SuperBetter.

The Adventure Begins from SuperBetter on Vimeo.

You can read this NY Times article about the game inventor, Jane McGonigal. You can watch Jane McGonigal deliver a TED Talk about the game.

Join the growing community of people playing SuperBetter as part of the Compassion Games. Let us know if you are interested in becoming “Allies” to help each of us achieve our Epic wins and co-create a culture of compassion!

Sign Up and Play Super Better

Sign Up and Play Super Better

Here is an overview of how SuperBetter works.  You can do this on a computer or a smartphone. Let us know if you need any help getting going.  Let’s develop our strength and resilience as we participate in the Compassion Games!