If you live in the St. Louis area, an in-person study group started working with this book and will continue for the next few months. Let me know if you’d like to join us and I’ll you hook you up!
If you’d like to share a post about what you learned about compassion (The First Step) or what you’re seeing in your world (The Second Step) or self-compassion (The Third Step), use the link list below. Or join the discussion in the comments or on Facebook.
It’s the last Sunday of the month. That’s the day that I take a piece of advice from the Reading Group Guide found on the Charter for Compassion’s website: to resolve to introduce one new practice into my life, an action that will be “a dynamic and positive force for change.” At the end of the twelve months, I’ll have twelve new compassionate habits.
But, first, a confession. I’ve failed at the goals that I set for the first two Steps. Let’s hope that I get better at this goal-setting business as I proceed through this program. I’m going to set new intentions for Step 1 and Step 2 today, plus make a plan to continue the self-compassion of Step 3.
The First Step was Learn about Compassion. I signed up for my first massive open online course, or MOOC, A series from Harvard that began March 1 with a four-week introduction about world religions and is followed by a course each about Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. It required more work than I anticipated, so I only lasted about three weeks. The topic turned out to be a bit far-removed from compassion to really fit in with my interest this year, too.
Fortunately, a new opportunity to learn about compassion surfaced recently from the Charter for Compassion (the organization set up by Karen Armstrong after she won the TED Prize). Three books have been selected for a Global Read in 2016. The organizers will send out discussion questions for each book ahead of time and a conference call will culminate the shared reading activity. The first book is The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness by Marc Ian Barasch. It’s available in some libraries, but none convenient to me, so I bought the e-book for $4.99 at Amazon.
The Second Step was Look at Your World. My goal to add the Ferguson Commission Report to my planning process proved to be a little too nebulous to be useful. Since I keep mentioning the Ferguson Commission Report to people, I’ve become the unofficial expert in my circles. The problem is, of course, that I’m not. If I want to be more conversant with it, in truth, I need to read it again. I really enjoyed the interactive Forward Through Ferguson website, but if this is going to stick in my brain, I need to read it in a more conventional, linear fashion.
I downloaded a copy of the pdf to my phone and put it on my TBR list. I also put a copy on my hard drive where I can search for items quickly when I’m looking for something.
The Third Step, the one I’ve been studying in April, is Compassion for Yourself. I used the tools at self-compassion.org to help me with this, including the assessment test. I scored higher on my second try than the first — yay! It helped to re-read the Compassion for Yourself chapter and to work through some of the exercises at self-compassion.org. The exercises led me to that insight that, for me, compassion is a good plan and that I need to work with my inner critic and my emotions to stand a chance of making a good plan.
Although I liked the exercises at self-compassion.org, they kept leading me back to my Castle in the Clouds (Book Review: A Blueprint for Your Castle in the Clouds by Barbara Sophia Tammes), particularly the Head Office where I sort and re-sort my feelings into folders until I fully understand them.
As my new habit for the Third Step, I want to visit the Head Office more often — most days in fact. That page of my book is already about to fall apart, so I’m working on a kind of visual cheat sheet that I can keep on my desk to remind me that I want to take five minutes to look at my feelings at least once most days.
What practices, habits, processes, or goals help you sustain a focus on self-compassion?