Monday, February 18, 2008

A Year of Living Compassionately

Let me tell you about a program I created a few years ago. I call it A Year of Living Compassionately. The story of how why I created it is long and can be read here. For now, suffice it to say that I became acutely aware that I was not the deeply compassionate, loving mom I wanted to be. What was coming out of me was disheartening and I wanted to make a change.

I discovered many things in my year of self-study. The first lesson is we all have a balance of positive and negative energy inside of us. You know which one is outweighing the other by what is coming out of you. If you are feeling negative, negativity is outweighing the positive. I also learned that I was frequently tipped to the negative and was unaware I was feeling and being negative. Because I was so accustomed to feeling it, it felt normal, and I just assumed it was positive. Finally, I learned that if I consciously feed myself with positive things, it helps me tip to the positive and I was unconsciously feeding myself a tremendous amount of negativity.

I also discovered that I could change my feelings to the positive by making the negative influences more conscious so I could make better choices for myself. I also learned more about what feels positive to me and filled my life with those influences.

The program is based on those precepts and the results have astounded even me. One participant, who’s area of challenge was her family of origin, took a vacation with her family merely 5 months into the program and said the time with her family could only be described as “lovely”. Another woman changed her marriage from one of great friction to one of love and deep companionship. Another stay-at-home mom went from sheer frustration to joyfulness in her position.

Interestingly, when I get the question “What is a Year of Living Compassionately?” I still don’t have a pat answer. You would think I would by now. There is so much to the program and it is so powerful, I have a hard time putting its power into words. I have one student who put it beautifully. “It is just about being happier”. Well put, is all I can say. It just seems like so much more. Then again, what else is there?

The program consists of a different topic each month. Each topic comes with a 4-5 page reading with my thoughts around the subject as well as ideas to deepen your learning during the month. My partner, Marya, and a I send out a weekly “Module Morsel” in which we share a portion of the module and a suggestion for your focus that week. You may also participate in a teleclass at the end of the month with us to discuss what you learned and talk with other participants.

Besides helping you find happiness, the program is also a wonderful community; an opportunity to have an online and teleclass discussion group with a group of people on the same path as you are.Link

What I love most about the program is its accessibility. Whether you are someone who is just beginning down the spirituality path or someone has been doing it for some time, there is something more you can learn. (I have been through the program four times now and just continue to deepen my learning.)

You can check out the program and download the free Pre-Assignment Module at the website: You can register for the free weeky inspirational eNewsletter. You can read the blog from the pilot year in which I wrote several posts for each topic, summarizing what people gleaned from their month. You can also participate in this year’s Compassion Club blog.

Here’s to your year of living compassionately.

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