In case you missed the news, compassion is growing here in Northwest Arkansas (NWA).
Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~ Albert Einstein
Nature is my sanctuary for being connected to something bigger without having anything to do. It’s where I go to nourish myself. I also believe that our highest purpose is to develop love and compassion. Websters dictionary defines compassion as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
The City of Fayetteville has become a focal point for cultivating compassion in NWA. It started with a small group of people, including Patti Williams, Christy & Ben Pollock, Nancy Harris and the FFEAC group, who wanted to bring more awareness to compassion as a way of living. They organized a group and then decided to enter Fayetteville in the Compassion Games. This passionate group proceeded to win the games for the number of compassionate acts recorded and place in the top 25% overall against much larger cities.
According to their website, Compassion Fayetteville has a “mission to advocate compassion in our community to enhance the quality of life for all.” Their vision is to cultivate compassion in ourselves, community and world by practicing these values: Connection, Awareness, Respect, Empathy, Service.
Recently, our Fayetteville City Mayor, Lioneld Jordan, proclaimed a 3 year commitment to support the local compassion initiative, the compassionate city designation, and declared February 2014 as a month of compassion.
Our city also celebrated Interfaith Harmony Day as another way to promote compassion and tolerance among people of diverse religious faiths. The program was a nice mix of performance, education and round table discussion.
Another interesting compassion project is Dignity Village Fayetteville, inspired by Dignity Village Portland. Michael is spearheading efforts to bring this vision to Fayetteville to serve the low income and homeless population. The aim is to help residents have a more productive and positive life with special emphasis on healthy meals, low stress work, food production, low cost green structures and access to social services. They have plans for about 60 small ‘cottages’ and a central building with kitchen, bathrooms, offices and community space.
What are you doing to cultivate compassion in your life?
If you are interested in helping to promote compassion in your community, the Compassionate Action Network International is a good resource. Please consider signing the Compassion Charter or explore their ideas for taking action.
Locally, here’s a list of events that you can join to help cultivate more compassion.
May your heart be warmed by compassion in action. Blessings, Brad