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Inspiration: Essays & Musings

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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The Ethic of Reciprocals

The Ethic of Reciprocals

Some have called the Golden Rule, the heart of the Charter for Compassion, the ethic of reciprocity. Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself. Reciprocity, according to the dictionary, means mutual, uniformly felt or done by each party towards the other or...

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The Language of Us and Them

The Language of Us and Them

Periodically, Slate has been running a piece about American events written using the tone and language US reporters typically employ when writing about events elsewhere. It's disconcerting, enlightening and in a very direct way, about compassion. The latest is about...

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Facts are Like Cows

Facts are Like Cows

We publish a series of classic fiction books that focus on particular peace & justice topics. Most are short stories, but End of the Line is an anthology of five short novels about the death penalty. As I re-read my introduction to the book -- about the impact that...

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Feral Cats and Compassion

Feral Cats and Compassion

Cathy Rosenthal writes a column about animals for the San Antonio Express-News. Today she answered a compassionate question about the care and feeding of feral cats. Compassion moves us to feed them. Knowledge informs us that there is a better solution: Dear Cathy: My...

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