Inspiration: Essays & Musings

Essay: Small Things With Great Love

Essay: Small Things With Great Love

by Susan Ives There's a meme going around that says, “Of all the things I learned in elementary school, avoiding cooties was the last one I expected to use.” Are cooties still a thing? The kids from the old neighborhood – all of us in our 60s now – gave that a thumbs...

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Sustaining the long note

Sustaining the long note

From filmmaker Michael More: "This morning I have been pondering a nearly forgotten lesson I learned in high school music. Sometimes in band or choir, music requires players or singers to hold a note longer than they actually can hold a note. In those cases, we were...

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Busy, Busy, Busy

It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau Not causing harm requires staying awake. Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain...

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Blame it on the Cupcakes

Blame it on the Cupcakes

In Karen Armstrong's book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life she quotes Confucius, who said that the family is the first school of compassion. I've been thinking lately about how that applied to my family. Three things that  I learned when I was three — and my...

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Civil Discourse

Civil Discourse

One question that always, always, always arises when we are out and about talking about compassion concerns the anger in public discourse. How can we re-learn how to discuss important and controversial issues without resorting to shouting and name calling? Christopher...

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Love Your Neighbor: Funny & Profound 1952 Video

Love Your Neighbor: Funny & Profound 1952 Video

This clever, Academy Award-winning 1952 Canadian short had me laughing out loud. Then thinking. When the flower first appeared I thought the flower was a dandelion and the neighbors might start arguing over whether it should be pulled or remain — a battle we sometimes...

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Back to Basics: Sympathy, Empathy, Compassion

Back to Basics: Sympathy, Empathy, Compassion

I admit it -- I get a little sloppy when I'm talking about compassion, sometimes conflating it with empathy or even sympathy. They aren't exactly the same. Sympathy comes from Middle French sympathie, from Late Latin sympathia, from Ancient Greek συμπάθεια...

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