May 2020 Newsletter for Boundless Compassion Facilitators
Boundless Compassion Programs
While the retreats, workshops and other programs planned for the summer by BCF have been either cancelled or rescheduled, the energy for sharing and encouraging others to grow in compassion continues with a lot of energy.
A number of you are using Zoom to lead study groups or continue gathering with your Circle of Compassion members. Some of these BCF are: Jeanene McIntyre and Karen Kelley (TX), Bobbi Bussan (IL), Jeannine Kossman (IA), Patti Forsberg (NE), Mary Catherine Burgess (Scotland), Kateri Schrems (MI). Mary Dean Pfahler is moving from CA to OH where she will facilitate her scheduled BC retreats online, one for the general public and three week-long ones this summer for her religious community. Stella DeVenuta (WI) is creating a labyrinth retreat with the theme of lovingkindness.
Wendy Mospan continues to creatively manage the BCF Facebook page. I am grateful for her gift of time and insight. Wendy recently produced a short video based on a quote about compassion by James Finley. You can view it here.
Posting Programs on Facebook
Wendy and I recently had a conversation about the Facebook page as a way to publicize BC programs. If you would like Wendy to post an event that you are facilitating, she can do so on either the BCF page or the BC general Facebook. Please send that information to her. (email@example.com) Wendy will only post what comes to her if it has the necessary information in the format needed for publicity. If you are unsure of what this is, go to my website and look at the Events section to see how they are posted there.
Beautiful BCF Blog
Read Erin Matteson’s blog on the pandemic and grief. Erin writes with depth and beauty.
A Creative Venture: Online Prayer and Writing Session
Some of you may be interested in what Bobbi Bussan has developed. She describes it here:
“I formed a Response Team and we practiced a prayer and writing 2 hour session that we are testing on a group of chaplains, parish nurses and the BC Circle. It involves creating sacred space, prayer/ritual and a question for a free write for 10 minutes. Then there is sharing and feedback…ending with prayer and blessing. The team is very experienced and creative. We will do 3 two hour sessions and if the group wants to continue, then we will. I also have an artist and poet who would love to participate and use their mediums rather than writing. I am hopeful that we will reach people impacted by this COVID experience.” If you are interested in this, you can contact Bobbi: firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Prayer for Your Use
Heather recently posted a new prayer of mine: “Hold My Hand” which could be used either individually or for groups. It is in the Prayers section and you are welcome to print and use this, giving credit to the source: Joyce Rupp, www.joycerupp.com.
Update on the Boundless Compassion Journal
The manuscript for the journal is almost ready to send to the publisher. It’s due June 1st. I have enjoyed working on this: a new prayer and poem for each Week, plus new quotes for each of the 42 Days. Also I am writing an introduction and a concluding piece for the journal. I’m confident that the editor and designer will create a lovely book. They tell me they are excited about this publication. It is due to be ready for sale in early January 2021 (Hope, hope)
Deepen and Expand Personal Growth in Compassion
Compassion seems more essential than ever, given the distress felt from the pandemic, the divisive political milieu, current economic distress, and other disturbing situations. Personally, I meet the challenge of compassion everyday when I go for my daily walk. The majority of persons who crowd the paths do not do social distancing, nor do they wear masks. Each day I have to deliberately tend to my irritation so it will not seep into my spirit or be foisted on the walkers.
While a number of programs are being detained and the near future remains uncertain as to when we will be able to meet in person, this time of self-isolation and Covid-19 restrictions offers an opportunity to delve more deeply into compassion. Please take advantage of updating and strengthening your awareness and understanding of this quality.
There are many free, valuable sources related to compassion that can be found on the Internet now (Sounds True, Spirituality and Practice, TED Talks on compassion, On Being, to name a few). I encourage you to do more reading. If you wonder “what” might be helpful, I recommend Christina Feldman’s Boundless Heart, Radical Compassion by Tara Brach and Narayan Helen Liebenson’s The Magnanimous Heart. Much food for thought in all of those.
Please send the titles of books on compassion that you are reading and I will share those suggestions in future newsletters. The same with websites, blogs, and other resources connected to compassion.
Here are a few quotes from the books I suggested:
Boundless Heart, Christina Feldman
The pathway of cultivating equanimity invites us to ask challenging questions: Can we love without being bound by love? Can we care deeply yet know we cannot totally protect those we care for from pain and sorrow? Can we love without leaning on the person we love to provide the evidence and affirmation that we are worthy and loveable? Can we love without the demands that the person we love make us happy and ensure our wellbeing? Can we accept that we do not hold in our hands the power to ensure the safety and happiness of those we love most deeply? …
We cannot change the heart of another; only each person has dominion over the thoughts, passions, and emotions he or she experiences and embodies. Finding the still whispers of balance within our own heart, we can learn not to give so much credibility or authority to the thoughts, words and acts of ill will we receive from another. …Knowing this we learn to rest in the equilibrium of our own heart, able to turn toward the world without fear. Like the grasses that bend before the force of the winds, we still feel but may discover the possibility of not feeling shattered.
Radical Compassion, Tara Brach
Each of us can learn to nurture our inner resources, to discover our fearless heart in the face of fear. Our resource anchors may be very different-bringing to mind a trusted friend or a spiritual figure, leaning against a tree, touching our own heart, holding a rock. Yet if we offer our full attention to the positive inner state they awaken we are directly nurturing a tender presence that can hold our life.
The Magnanimous Heart, Narayan Helen Liebenson
…it is always possible, under any condition, to care for the heart. Under the weight of difficult conditions, caring for our hearts is sometimes all we can do. To care for the heart is to care for what is most important to learn and understand and release in this life.
Magnanimous heart is a heart of balance and buoyancy. It allows us to approach each moment exactly as it is, in a fresh and alive way and free from agendas about how it should be. Magnanimous heart is a generous heart, a benevolent heart, a heart of inclusivity in which there is room for all that arises and we receive all that we encounter.
Thank you for the hope that fills my heart when I consider how much you care about compassion.
Discover Peace for Ourselves
If we practice with great intent and dedication, the practice becomes our life. Instead of practice being something we do, it is something we are. We become aware of a great secret treasure within our own hearts: an ease and peace that cannot be destroyed. Of course, this is not really a secret. It has been realized, understood, and taught by countless sages before. However, it is completely different to discover this truth for ourselves than to hear it from others. We meditate to discover that which is beyond conditions. We meditate to tame our minds and to train our hearts to discover, for ourselves, a peace that is truly unconditioned.
(The Magnanimous Heart, Narayan Helen Liebenson)
Programs Related to Boundless Compassion
Go to my website, Events 2020 and scroll down to the BCF section to view the Four Day Retreats, etc. being offered.
Be sure to send information on BC programs/projects you are leading or organizing so I can include them in future newsletters.