“Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others.” ~ Pema Chodron
Eight years ago this month, I was in Sydney, Australia, to commence my formal coach training. It was an intensive program with 17 others from across the globe. There were countless practicum and significant Personal Foundation work. Yet eight years later, the discovery that remains most meaningful from those days was work we did to identify and begin to reorient around our core values.
Having chosen five values, we were also tasked with selecting which was our key value. My mind agreed with all five, yet it was my heart that made clear my key value: compassionate action. Not just compassion which dictionary.com defines as “(A) feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” While compassion alone is noble, the need for me was/is to do something with my compassion and that found me adding the word action. Thus, an adjective evolved into a verb.
To act in compassion toward others, one must first be compassionate with yourself. With Latin roots meaning co-suffering, compassion can only be integrated if we are willing to understand the other completely; to look at the other with a different perspective. A perspective that whatever the other does, the person acts with a positive intention about her/himself.
In compassionate action, we bring awareness to the truth of the present moment while holding a vision of our heart’s deepest wish to be loving to all. And for me, this means all sentient beings. The more we accept this the more we are able to see opportunities to grow ourselves and help others.
At this time of year, one which many see as a giving season, consider what action(s) you can take to alleviate the suffering of another, to reduce their pain. The following video shares 40 possible ways. There are many more. Be creative. Act. And in doing so, align with what really matters.