Speak Compassion

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

by @ 8:44 pm. Filed under Quote of the Day

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it…Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate….Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

VIDEO: Instruction Manual For Life

by @ 8:11 pm. Filed under Atheism, Nonviolence, Nonviolent Communication

I found this on the atheist media blog.  What I want to point out is about 6 minutes and 30 seconds into the film, the young boy finds “compassion” for his parents.  Through that new lens, he can see their feelings and needs and no longer saw them as bullies.  He could then see them as humans.   This is very much the consciousness behind Nonviolent Communication.  Seeing people for what they are feeling and needing rather than the labels we often put on each other.

The video also makes a strong statement about evangelical Christians or others who use a book as anything more than guidance in life.

enjoy the video:

h/t: Atheist Media Blog

Friday, January 9, 2009

Speak Compassion

by @ 11:22 pm. Filed under Site News

Yup, that is it!  The new name of this blog is now: Speak Compassion.

After learning NVC and drastically revisiting the way I see words and their meanings.  I no longer feel comfortable making the claim that I have the truth or that someone else is a liar.  So the name “replace the lies with truth” is history.   While many years of this blog have documented my spiritual growth, I hope this too is a move toward living a life more congruent with my values of nonviolence and peace.

I chose this title because it really does reflect where my life is going and I want this blog to go there with me.   I have spent many a night thinking about what to do with this site and have decided that so much of my journey is here, why not let people read it.  I also purchased the web address www.speakcompassion.com to go with this upgrade!

This new name also solidifies my goals to present information and news from the heart.  It pushes me to make sure my words come from a place of compassion and a wish for change that comes from the heart!

I would appreciate your responses to this change, so please leave me a note as to your thoughts, both good or bad…..

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bridging the Empathy Gap – Yes, We Can

by @ 4:17 pm. Filed under Nonviolent Communication

I am requesting support for a proposal to begin a movement to increase the empathic ability of those who serve in our government.Literally 4 minutes of your time with only 5 steps to bring an idea before the Obama team that could effect the kind of change we are all hoping to see!

President Elect Barack Obama said, “I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again.”

Change.org has created a forum that will submit the top ten voted for proposals to the Obama team for review. Ideas for Change in America is a citizen-driven effort to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama Administration and Congress can turn the broad call for “change” across the country into specific policies.

We have posted a proposal named “Bridging the Empathy Gap – Yes We Can” designed to make empathy central to government functioning, tying it to Obama’s repeated highlighting of empathy as a crucially needed quality. The proposal is appended at the end of this message for your review.

NOW the final voting round is open, and out of the last 90 ideas, the 10 with the most votes will be brought forward to the new US government on January 20th

If you are moved to have NVC brought to the attention of the administration, please take the steps below as soon as possible. Ideas that get a lot of votes quickly are posted as “ideas on the rise” and then have more of a chance of getting more votes.

1.      Click Here  (or go to http://www.change.org/ideas and search for this proposal or for “empathy” if the link doesn’t work)

2.      Click on Vote! .that will give you a window to create an account to vote.asking for name, email, and a password.

3.      Fill in window to create your account.

4.      Return to your email to complete registration by clicking on the link provided in the email from change.org

5.      Click on Vote again and you are complete! The “Vote” button will have changed from blue to red and the text will say “Voted”.” It will only let you vote once for each item.

Once you have an account you can invite friends and get them to vote as well. The site provides information on how to do that, or you can forward this email.

Our hope/goal/intention is to create an overwhelming response to our proposal so it can get the attention it needs to be brought to fruition. Thank you for giving your time in this way.

From: Change.org

Obama says, “Empathy strikes me as the most important quality that we need in America and around the world.” Mutual understanding and empathy result in effective resolution of conflicts, bridging of ideological divides, and wise use of our resources. Practical, accessible tools exist now to reduce violence and increase safety around the world.

By making empathy a cornerstone of government, we can:
*Develop policies to address common human needs (eg. justice, health, peace)
*Support confidence that citizens’ concerns matter
*Resolve international conflicts peacefully
*Shift from competition for resources to collaboration for common good
*Nurture young citizens equipped with peacemaking and alliance-building skills
*Increase safety in schools and communities
*Align actions with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for All

We propose an inter-departmental integration of empathy into government as the cornerstone of all government action and policy (through a division in a Department of Peace if one is created) which will positively affect every sector of society using strategies such as:

1. Implement specific methods for making empathy integral to all operations, particularly for decisions about use of economic, natural and human resources

2. Offer coaching, conflict resolution, and training in empathy skills to offices, agencies, and individuals within government

3. Utilize advanced empathic facilitation to support efficiency and productivity in all branches of government

4. Create public dialogues between people across political, religious, ideological, racial, class, or other differences for bridging divides in our nation

5. Propose curricula based on Nonviolent Communication (www.cnvc.org) to all schools for conflict resolution and violence prevention

6. Create an Empathy Corps of trained volunteers who respond to conflict domestically and internationally through empathic connection and shared understanding

“Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.”-President-Elect Obama

Nine Sentenced to Jail for Homosexuality

by @ 9:47 am. Filed under Americans For Truth, Ex-gays, Gay News

Nine men in Senegal, Africa were sentenced to jail for homosexual acts including an outspoken HIV/AIDS Activist.  The men will get 8 years in prison after being arrested in a raid on December 19, 2008.

This news really has me asking the same questions I have been asking anti-gay advocates like Peter LaBarbera, Stacy Harp or Matt Barber for years with no answer?  Is this the end game?  Throwing us in jail for ‘unatural acts’ and conspiracy?

I have wondered for years what the end game of anti-gay activists is, what are they working towards?  What does the world look like if American’s for Truth or Concerned Women for America got there wish about gay folks.   I have yet to ever get any real and definitive answer and I am guessing that is because this is what they are working towards.  I can bet that given the chance, many ultra-conservative and literalists of the bible would have gays and lesbians jailed for being gay or worse.

I for one feel completely saddened for these men as all the science is pointing toward genetic factors and that homosexuality is not changeable despite the unproven claims of religious groups.   I can only hope the international community steps in on this clearly human rights issue, frees these men and brings them to countries where they will be SAFE!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What are you feeding yourself?

by @ 9:35 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolence

After losing my belief in god, I must admit there is a bit of a void to fill.   I use to believe without much question a whole menu of things that I had been taught in my life.  Not all at the same time and not all completely.  As I began to question those beliefs I just lost my belief in god and Christianity.  I also lost my belief in cosmic forces or aligning planets controling the planet.   I miss the comfort and solace that can be found in those beliefs.   I miss the spirituality of it all and yet I am learning that I don’t need those beliefs to have spirituality.  It can be found in other ways and other strategies.

One of the ways I am regaining that sense of spirituality is to take a second look at what I am feeding myself on a day to day basis.  Not just food for my body, food for my soul would be the best way to explain it.  What is it that is going into my brain, my soul and my spirit?  Is it things to inspire me and enrich life or is it a bunch of negative energy and negative things?  One of the reasons I stopped blogging about every move I saw anti-gay rights people making is that it was draining me.  I was losing the spirituality and drive that I would call divine energy.   It is hard to keep pointing out the inaccuracy and cruelty of their words and actions and not feel drained by the inhumanity of it.   I had reached a point where I needed to learn to feed my soul, replenish my energy and faith in the world.

One of the ways I believe we can live and stay in that divine energy of being human is to rethink what is going in us both physically, emotionally and spiritually.   There is a wealth of research to show that stress and negativity is bad for our bodies and our minds.   Stress hormones like cortisol  or norepinephrine can lead to heart disease and stroke as well as drain us of the joy of living.  Feeding yourself negative movies, books and news can release those hormones in your body just like they are happening to you.  In essence, you are feeding yourself a diet of negativity that will slowly kill you.

At the core of it all for me these days lies the question, am I really living my life to the fullest I can live?  Will I just be a nice dead person?   A nice dead person is what clinical psychologist and peace activist Marshall Rosenberg calls those of us who have abandon the things that make us come alive in life so we can fit into the mold of society.   Nice dead people give up their needs of play, creativity, and self-expression to please others. Nice dead people deny they have human needs to satisfy the needs of others.   This fear of being a nice dead person has caused me to question what I am feeding my soul as well as my body.

Each day that I was in New Mexico at the Internal Intensive in Nonviolent Communication, a group of us would wake up each day and do “morning movement” which was a little like yoga and without all the “yoga” hocus pocus of chachras and other myths.  We just moved, stretched and focused on our breathing in ways that opened our minds for the day of learning ahead.  I truly felt inspired by this each day.   We then had a “remembering session” that was suppose to remind us of the consciousness behind Nonviolent Communication.   We would hear poems or songs that inspired us.  One morning we were inspired to hear an amazing story told by a story teller named, Elaine Blanchard. The story was that of one young girl named, Honey Comb who learned that the stories we make up about other people after we have judged them as [fill in blank] are not always true.  (You can hear the story here) The idea behind this remembering session was to start everyday by feeding that part of your soul that needs inspiration to keep on trucking.

So I beg you to ask yourself what inspires you and makes you come alive?  How much of that amazing energy do you allow yourself?  How much inspiration do you feed yourself on the day to day?  On the other hand, how much dragging at the soul stuff do you feed yourself?  How much news you can’t handle?  How much killing, murder, war, violence, robbery do you feed your soul as compared to the life enriching things like a good story,  a connecting conversation with a friend or dancing barefoot in the kitchen .    What are you celebrating today? Close your eyes and think about what your are celebrating, savor the feelings so you can go back to them later when you need some go juice for the soul.

Along with working towards giving up processed foods and foods laced with chemicals, I have also decided I want to take a closer look at the other things I feed myself.  I long ago stopped watching TV shows that contained unnecessary violence.  Now,  I would like to feed myself a steady diet of inspiration and things that feed my soul, the core of my being.  I would like every action I take to come from an energy of joy and compassion as opposed to obligation or guilt.   I want things that enrich life as opposed to drain life.   With that energy, I will much be able to look the negative forces in the world with strength and compassion to make real change.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What Would Jesus Do?

by @ 7:49 pm. Filed under Nonviolence

I was completely inspired after reading this article about Pastor Ed Dobson, who after reading about a secular Jew who decided to live for one year as close to the bible as possible, decided he too would live for one year biblically . The article states that he, “he did not shave, ate kosher, observed the Sabbath and read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John every week” and made every decision based on what he thought Jesus would do.  I was not at all surprised by his choices because they match and connect with my vision of the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I particularly felt inspired by his thoughts about forgiveness and loving one’s enemy as these are the basic principles of nonviolence. Gandhi and his movement of nonviolence was admittedly inspired by Christ’s Sermon on the Mount of Olives.   Dobson states, “My youngest son did two tours in Iraq, and on the last tour, a friend of his was killed in action and my wife and I went for the visitation and I was overwhelmed with grief and also with anger for the people who had made the roadside bomb, planted it and detonated it,” he said. “And then I finally realized I had to pray for them and bless them, which is very, very hard to do.”

He also voted for Obama stating that he was the one who best represented the teachings of Christ.   I agree with that.   I plan on learning more about this Pastor and what else he learned.  I think it is notable that if this pastor found this difficult to do for just a year, imagine living your life like Christ.  To treat each and every person you met as if they are Jesus Christ would be a tough task.  Jesus stated that “what you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”  That would mean each time you call someone a liar, a cheat, or fail to embrace them as your brother, it is if you are doing that to Christ.   It has been my experience that I see more casual believers meeting that challenge than I do the Pastors and preachers or those who run so called “ministries.”

I have to say that I have met few Christians in my life who really match up to my understanding of the teachings of Christ.   I have met many people who call themselves Christian whose treatment of others doesn’t match up with what I call, “loving your neighbor” or “turn and offer the other cheek.”   Those Christians I have met who have matched up to my understanding have inspired me greatly (and some woodworking Christians know who I am talking about, yes you Shuddy.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Welcome to 2009

by @ 12:29 pm. Filed under Joe's Rants, Nonviolent Communication

Here we are…2009.  We made it you and I.  There is much in my plans for this coming year.  I hope to make some life changes that impact the quality of my life and change my impact on the world around me.   I have been traveling this road for sometime and I am convinced it is time to make some further changes.   Some of the things I have been wanting to do include giving up processed foods,  traveling and doing more volunteer work in the community.   I have been doing all three of these things and now I want to increase the level.

I also want to add a new element of spirituality to my life.   I miss having this element as I use to enjoy more spirituality in my younger days.  Now, I am not talking about religion.  I see religion and spirituality as different things for me.   Spirituality is more about the reasons you get up each day, the energy that keeps you going.   For many people, that is religion and for others it is something else.   Could be yoga or meditation for some.  It could be getting in touch with nature.   Spirituality is about getting in touch with who you are and what you are made of and the energy that drives you.   That could be Jesus or Buddha or maybe it is the warm feeling you get when you give to others.   I want to tap into more of that energy in 2009.  I want to tap the energy that is me being in touch with passion.    Passion is the energy that makes bigger things happen.

I definitely want to change my eating habits.   To start with I eat well now.  I am not a big snack eater and I eat lots of salad and grilled foods.   I don’t really care for sweets and I make pretty good efforts to eat well.   Now, I want to move towards eating foods that are not only good for me, they are good for the planet.   I would like to give up processed foods and move toward a completely organic diet.   I would also like to make sure as much of my diet as I can is from local sources.    I want to eat foods that feed my soul, not just my body.   Chemical and pesticide free as well as violence free food is what I believe can do this.  I know it sounds hokey and I don’t care.

I also would like to remove the words “but” and “however” from my vocabulary. During my training in New Mexico, I learned just how negative these words can make any conversation or situation.   These are 2 words that can generate all sorts of  conflict.   By simply replacing these words with “and” everything sounds more positive.  For example, “John, we love all your ideas but we are going with someone else” could become “John, we love all your ideas and we are going to go with someone else.”  While those two statements seem similar, one is much more positive.   Try this for yourself and see what you think.  (if you notice me use this words in a post, please point it out)

This is just a start of where I want my life to go.   It will happen in small stages and happen just the same. I will keep you posted and update you as I go.

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"Be the change you wish to see in the world"
Mahatma Gandhi

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