Compassion Wins

As most readers of this blog will know, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion began in January 2015 in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders, the murder of school children in Pakistan and the Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria. Sometimes it feels as if the world is becoming increasingly less compassionate and more violent, that isn’t the case. Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard University says we should look to data, not headlines, and that with the exception of the Syrian conflict, data shows we are actually becoming more peaceful.  Other researchers say the picture isn’t quite so clear and that while overall, Pinker is right, some violent areas are becoming more violent.

One thing is clear though – the world still needs compassion. Our 1000 plus Voices need to keep speaking for compassion.

When I posted in a Facebook group asking if other bloggers would like to join me for a one-day event writing about compassion, I had no idea if anyone would say yes, and never dreamed we’d still be going a year and a half later.

Of course, people did say yes, and we are still here. Not only are we still here, but we have some incredibly exciting news.

That very first blog post I wrote, 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, has won a blogging award. This is from an email I received from BlogHer at the end of June:

We’re thrilled to inform you that your piece, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion,” was nominated in the Impact category and made it through a minimum of three rounds of judging with at least two judges each round, and has been selected as a 2016 Voices of the Year Honoree!

If BlogHer was thrilled to inform me, I was equally thrilled to be informed! Dancing up and down and bouncing to tell someone thrilled.

Except, I couldn’t. Not straight away at least. The email also said that not all submitters had been informed of the results and asked Honorees to say quiet until BlogHer made the official announcement.

For those of you who don’t know what BlogHer is – it’s “a new kind of media company, created in partnership by, for and with women, and men, who are leaders across blogs and social media and are passionately committed to quality content.” BlogHer has an audience of 100 million across blogs and social media.

Each year, BlogHer has a conference somewhere in the USA, with keynote speakers, workshops and of course with presentations of the 2016 Voices of the Year Honoree awards.

So folks, this is a big deal!

The conference is in Los Angeles this year, and I’m in the UK, so I won’t be able to go, but luckily one of our admins, Roshni, is going instead! I’m so pleased that she could take my place because Roshni has been with 1000 Voices from the start, and has been such a hard working member of the admin team. She looks after the Twitter account, as well as contributing to in the Facebook group and page. Roshni also just a lovely, lovely person so I am so glad she could go to the BlogHer 2016 conference to collect the award.

Truly, truly, truly, while I may have written the posts on Facebook and my blog inviting people to join, without Roshni and the other admins, 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion would never have got going and would be going still today.

I feel this honour is for 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, for all of us. Everyone, every member contributed. THANK YOU.

I’m also delighted to say that I am not the only “Voice” from our group to be a Voice of the Year Honoree. Hasty Dawn Words also won one of the awards in the Impact category for her #BeReal campaign. Darla Halyk won in the Written Work (long) category for her blog post: My Gambling Addiction Drove Me to Break the Law and Alexandra Rosas’s post Past, Present, Future: What It Feels Like to Look at Your Children won in the MOMents category (MOMents is sponsored by Merck for Mothers, hence the capitals.) The posts in this category are about the joy of bringing a new life into this world.

Congratulations to Hasty, Darla and Alexandra!

I was a BlogHer 2016 VOTY Honoree

 

This month our theme is Compassion and Courage, and I’d just like to say while it’s easy to think of courage as grand leaps and big gestures, every leap begins with a tiny action. A small child climbs up steps before she whooshes down a slide. You lift your heels and point your arms before you dive into water, you pick up a pen before you apply for your dream job. The courage comes to you with that first action and we all have courage in small ways as well as big.

Your fingers hit the keyboard before your words reach the page for your post for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion’s link-up on Compassion and Courage. You have courage. Now keep going, let the words keep flowing and join us with your post!

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a focus on Compassion and Courage.

Write a relevant post and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below.

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Follow this blog

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

The Wisdom of Gratitude – #1000Speak

12246830_760693657374296_8775570206419549353_nFor our link-up this month, in honor of the Thanksgiving tradition our theme is GRATITUDE.

Here’s what the Oxford Dictionaries online have to say about gratitude:

noun
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

 

And according to the Thesaurus, some synonyms are:

  • grace
  • gratefulness
  • honor
  • praise
  • thankfulness
  • responsiveness
  • appreciativeness
  • acknowledgement
  • recognition

I agree with all of those. The Thesaurus also includes a few terms as synonyms that I’m not so sure about.

  • indebtedness
  • obligation

And oddly enough, when a quick check of its listing of synonyms for obligation reveals gratitude isn’t among them!

So, like many emotions, it seems there can be differing opinions of what exactly it is. Today we share some quotes about gratitude from famous people in differing walks of life. I particularly like this one by John F. Kennedy.

JFK Gratitude

 

Just as he suggests, let’s not just utter words, but live by them!

Since 1000 Voices is all about compassion, I love this quote about gratitude from the Dalai Lama:

Now there are many, many people in the world, but relatively few with whom we interact, and even fewer who cause us problems. So when you come across such a chance for practicing patience and tolerance, you should treat it with gratitude. It is rare. Just as having unexpectedly found a treasure in your own house, you should be happy and grateful toward your enemy for providing you that precious opportunity. Because if you are ever to be successful in your practice of patience and tolerance, which are critical factors in counteracting negative emotions, it is due to your own efforts and also the opportunity provided by your enemy.

This one is from writer Alice Walker:

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche:

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.

I particularly love second part of what novelist G. K. Chesterton says here:

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

From author, poet and spiritual coach, Stephen Levine:

Gratitude is the state of mind of thankfulness. As it is cultivated, we experience an increase in our “sympathetic joy,” our happiness at another’s happiness. Just as in the cultivation of compassion, we may feel the pain of others, so we may begin to feel their joy as well. And it doesn’t stop there.

I agree with Levine – what he describes has been my experience. The more I cultivate thankfulness, the easier it is to enjoy other people’s gratitude too. It  seems hard to believe now, but looking back I can remember feeling annoyed at witnessing others’ gratitude. So there’s no doubt that gratitude is good for us, not just for the people we feel it towards!

A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books were often a source of wisdom for me when my children were little.

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

I’m going to end with a quote from a character in my teenage daughter’s favorite detective show, Castle. My daughter has this quote pinned to her wardrobe door and it’s a great remind that we don’t need to hunt for wisdom, it’s right there in everything we do.

Even on the worst days, there is the possibility for joy.

This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a particular focus on GRATITUDE, as well as the broader topic of compassion.

Write a post relevant to this month’s focus – GRATITUDE – and add it to the link-up right here by clicking the blue button below. We also welcome posts on any aspect of COMPASSION, and this month we particularly welcome posts on your vision for the world or feelings of compassion after on the attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere. 

Here’s how to get involved:

Join 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion on Facebook

Follow @1000Speak on Twitter

Use the #1000Speak hashtag across social media.

 

Bundle Of Kindness

kaboompics.com_Croissants and strawberry for breakfast

It was a day that I was dreading.

I woke up in the morning and since I was working at home for the day, made me wonder how on earth I would face the lean phase. The madness from a professional point of view was getting from bad to worse and honestly, I lacked courage to face the day. I was getting cribby.

I scheduled an interview with a diplomat early morning. Still remember, it started raining heavily the time I got down from the bus and reached there quite early. Luckily, I spotted a café and went there to while time away. I ordered coffee and when I got inside, I saw someone-the husband of a ‘friend’ whose interview I have done and a fab lady indeed-introduced myself to Mister of the Mrs. He happens to be a young politician and he congratulated me for the interview of his wife. We were meeting for the first time.

The coffee tray, along with a chocolate croissant landed on my table. Honestly, I was confused since I never ordered choco croissant and wondering whether it’s complimentary or a mistake was made. As the gentleman made his way out, he turned around and said that the croissant is on his part. I was surprised and elated at the same time at the kindness on his part. I mean, there was no need to and he went out of his way to make me happy.

This is kindness to me.

It’s only then that I remember him rushing to the counter and realized that he went to order a chocolate croissant for me. This is kindness. A small act or gesture can make your day beautiful at a time you facing the downside in life. Quite magically, the day turned out from bad to superb, ringing in positivity and I knew awesome things will happen in my life. The moral of the story: Kindness and gratitude go hand in hand for you can never know that someone is fighting a battle in life.

Never shy from doing a small act of kindness. I was touched.

Written by Vishal Bheeroo.

Vishal has stayed in Pune and Mumbai for a few years. Currently, he is in Mauritius where he has been a Special Correspondent, writing features and life style as well as news reporter but rooting to be back in Mumbai some day. He blogs regularly on http://www.vishalbheeroo.com, is a freelance writer for ezines in Dubai and India. A film buff, he believes in making a difference to the world and people.

Connect with Vishal on Facebook and Twitter.

Connect with Vishal on Facebook on Twitter and his blog.

Prompts For July #1000Speak Link-Up: Acceptance

This month, 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion is focusing on Acceptance.

If you haven’t yet come up with a post for the link-up yet, or aren’t sure what to write about, here are a few suggestions to help!

What does acceptance mean to you? You could write a post that simply tells us that, or you could choose a particular angle. Below are a few suggestions:

Accepting that people can have diverse viewpoints.

Accepting differences in others.

Accepting children for who they are as opposed to what we want them to be.

Accepting other family members as they are (this could parents, spouse, siblings or extended family members.) If things in any of these relationships haven’t worked out the way you’d once hoped, did you grieve and move on, or was it more challenging to reach acceptance.

Accepting ourselves – this could include:

Accepting who we are (our personalities)

or:

  • health,
  • weight,
  • position in life,
  • job,
  • education
  • or some other aspect.

How can you reach acceptance when you don’t feel it?

Share a time you went from resistance, anger or dislike into feeling acceptance – what got you there?

How does acceptance help us have compassion? And how does compassion help us have compassion?

It’s also fine to write about your struggles with acceptance. For instance you could write about:

  • What stops you from feeling self-acceptance?
  • What stops you from accepting others?
  • What do you fear would happen if you were more accepting?

 

 

What Does Your Knight in Shining Compassion Look Like?

Acts of compassion don’t always look the same. In fact, each one is unique as it entails a unique situation, a unique set of people, one in need of compassion and one not only recognizing that need but being willing to act on it. Compassion begins at home and comes from within…we just have to be willing to embrace it. Knights on white horses are all around us. Whether you are the knight or the horse enabling the knight to complete its mission, your role is as important as the mission.

The Littlest Knight With The Biggest Heart

He may not be tall, dark, and handsome. He may not come riding in on his white horse to save the day, and the sword he holds to protect his princess from all things evil may be a plastic one. Nonetheless, he is her knight in shining armor. She towers over him, but in her eyes he is bigger than the darkness she fears when she needs to retrieve something upstairs and can’t bear to face the second floor alone. He is bigger than the sounds of night when she asks him to accompany her to take the trash outside. She begs him to sleep with her every night, as if the sheer warmth of his tiny body pressed up against hers is enough to protect her even in her nightmares.

Her little knight takes his job seriously. He discusses movie options with her, and together they choose one they can both lose themselves in for a couple of hours, popcorn in hand, both occupying one half of the couch. The chosen flick must be one of adventure, but can not include anything too scary. His knightly duties are many, and he carries them proudly on his tiny little shoulders. He is the littlest knight with the biggest heart.

beach, holding hands, walk on the beach, sandy days, compassion, siblings, parenting, family

I recall one day when I walked up to the school, and he was standing next to his PreK teacher. It was the week of Halloween, and all the children had their faces painted at school that day. As I approached him about to share the appropriate level of excitement over his face art, I slowed my pace. I could only see black smudges across both cheeks. Amateur face painting or the 88 degree temperature? I didn’t have time to ask before his teacher offered an explanation that has stayed with me ever since.

You see, the little knight stood in line as excited as his little friends anxiously awaiting his turn for face painting. One by one, his peers walked off with smiling faces, and admired the masterpieces bestowed upon their sweet little cheeks in a handheld mirror the teacher held up to them. When it came to be Evan’s turn, he made sure to stand perfectly still, a difficult task for a four-year old knight accustomed to being in constant motion. Once the piece was complete, he walked off to the mirror and took in his reflection. He looked at his teacher, looked at the artist, and kindly asked for the face paint to be removed. They convinced him to keep it on for a bit, I imagine in hopes he would get used to it. Tears ensued as well as much face rubbing. Hence, the black smudges I came upon that afternoon. After much prompting, he explained to his teacher that while he really liked the artwork, there was no way he could go home with it on his face. You see, “my sister is afraid of spiders,” said the littlest knight with the biggest heart.

Link up your #1000speak post on Compassion here:

Meet the #1000Speak Admins: Geoff Le Pard

Next up in our Meet the #1000Speak Admins series is Geoff Le Pard. 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion is  worldwide and so is our admin team – meaning most of us have never met in person. Geoff is one of the two admins I have actually met. I’m pleased to say he’s just as nice in person as he is on the web!

 

05 BOX-005Geoff is a fifty something twenty year old living in South London with his wife, whichever of his children happen to need a roof that day and a variety of pets. Once a lawyer churning out words by the yard, he now spends his time, partly writing as carefully as he can for himself and whoever else might enjoy his fiction and partly helping at a local youth club in a run down part of his beautiful city.He found blogging last year and has fallen into it with a will at geofflepard.com, preferring to blog about whatever comes to mind than limit himself.You can probably guess that this photo would represent the “twenty year old” aspect of Geoff!

And since I have met Geoff, I can definitely tell you that the photo at the end of this post is a better representation of him nowadays!

 

As with the other admins, I asked Geoff two questions about 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.

Why did you join?

Serendipity.  Starting as a youngster watching mum nurture the most fabulous garden out of a piece of clay based wilderness in the New Forest I’ve leant about the need for empathy. Mum empathised with her plants, the need for the right soil type, the right amount of shade and  water and nutriments. It was but a small step to putting oneself in the shoes of others, to realise what they needed. It was a bigger step to start to realise how I might do something tangible to help them achieve those needs. That is where my career had taken me. When Yvonne told me of the plan – I had been following her since I found her on the internet talking sense about the Scottish referendum when no one else was – it was essential I joined in. I was meant to be part of this.

What does it mean for you? 

It was apparent from the start that there is a momentum shift here. If you aggregate the human voice you can break glass, lift roofs, make hearts shake with emotion. Put 1000 voices together and coalesce around an idea and you might well start that flap of another butterfly’s wing. I want to be part of that. Recently I have signed on line petitions; before that I took part in protests, marched for this or against that; I’ve been known to write letters to newspapers, lobbied my MP. This group is a natural progression; it is what you do today. The net has its detractors but Berners-Lee gave it to us all as a force for good. We mustn’t allow those who might corrupt it stop us from letting it fulfil its designer’s purpose. 1000speak is a part of that purpose.

Meet the #1000Speak Admins: Geoff Le Pard
Tweet this.

Geoff is a prolific writer, and I think Berners-Lee would agree he is using the internet as a force for good! Below is an extract from his latest post, which also happens to be his latest for  1000 Voices Speak For Compassion! Be sure to read the rest of it.

Five Photos Five Stories – day five #1000speak

Last year I saw something that, were I to really need it, would have convinced me that, come what may, we live in a compassionate world with the future of this land of ours in safe hands. Read more…

IMG_3554

 

Meet the #1000Speak Admins: Leah Vidal

We continue our Meet the Admin posts with Leah Vidal. Along with Jen Leeman, Leah set up this blog. Jen opened it up and Leah wrote the first post, 
Leah Vidal is the author of Red Circle Days and writer at Little Miss Wordy as well asnj blogger network headshots-32 a contributor of the recent anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True
Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In her writing Leah explores BIG lessons from life’s little moments…those that plant the thought provoking seed of self discovery.
Leah is a 2014 BlogHer Voice Of The Year, a Huffington Post contributor and
a regular contributor at What The Flicka? Her writing has been syndicated on BlogHer, featured on Erma Bombeck, Freshly Pressed and featured on Scary Mommy. She has been featured on PubSlush Women Of Wednesday and is currently working on her second book.
Leah paused her career in Public Relations to raise her two children and has never looked back, except on the days when it would be nice to have an office to escape to or at least a desk to hide under. Her family recently moved to PA, where she is a fitness focused (physical, spiritual and mental health), mom of two and wife of one, who spends her time avoiding the kitchen, and making words come to life.
I asked Leah a couple of questions.
Why did you join 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion?

When I started blogging, I was blown away by the fact that my words could make a difference in someone’s day. As they travelled across the world, they paused to briefly touch each reader along their journey. The message, story, and sometimes random thought that appeared on my screen as my fingers flew across the keyboard, eventually made its way onto someone else’s screen and touched their heart in some way. Lizzi and Yvonne’s initiative to flood the internet with compassion, sparked by Lizzi’s post, “It Takes A Village” touched me in that way. I knew I had no choice. This was something that moved me and I believed would move many more.

What does it mean to you?
I don’t really know how to write if it isn’t from my heart, each of my posts stirring emotion in others as well as myself. While every month hundreds of writers come together to blanket the internet with compassion I believe our posts are doing much more than that. I have witnessed the effect of this warm blanket not only covering the internet, but wrapping all those it touches in safety, love, understanding and most of all compassion for themselves and others. That is all heart and something many of us have longed to be a part of for some time. There is so much good in this world and #1000speak reminds me of this each and every month.
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Don’t Leah’s beautiful words fill you with hope? I love the image of a blanket of compassion wrapping around the internet and all who use it! You can read more of Leah’s lovely words in her post for last month’s theme of Connection.

The Red String Of Fate

“It is part of scientist Matthew Lieberman’s case that our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water.” Lieberman who is a Professor and SCN (Social Cognitive Neuroscience) Lab Director at UCLA Department of Psychology, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences conducts research on social cognitive neuroscience which focuses on how the human brain carries out social information processing. His research has led him to a connection between physical pain and social pain. Next time someone tells you their heart is broken or their feelings are hurt, stop and think about that for a minute… Read more