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More Evidence That Mindfulness Meditation Is Good For The Brain

More Evidence That Mindfulness Meditation Is Good For The Brain | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Scientists have found that a mindfulness meditation practice is linked with actual physical changes in the brain -- changes that may even have protective effects against mental illness.

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school for lifeSelf Compassion 

It’s all too easy to be extremely tough on ourselves; we need – at points – to get better at self-compassion. Here is an exercise in how to lessen the voices of self-flagellation.

Via Edwin Rutsch
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The scientifically proven, step-by-step guide to having a breakthrough conversation across party lines

The scientifically proven, step-by-step guide to having a breakthrough conversation across party lines | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
There seems to be no way around it: In the aftermath of a contentious US presidential election, conversations between voters all along the political spectrum either devolve into shouting matches and insults, or irreconcilable platitudes. If they occur at all. But we’ve been here before, according to the late psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. 

As a communications coach and mediator for civil rights and student activists during the US civil rights era, Rosenberg developed a practical strategy for peaceful conflict resolution called non-violent communication. By focusing on language and process, the theory goes, injured parties can shift the tone of their communication and spur collaboration. 

Rosenberg’s method, now used by companies, conflict negotiators, and personal therapists, is rooted in the belief that all humans share the same universal needs, including the sense that they’re being heard, understood, valued, and respected. Conflicts arise when words are perceived as threats, which devolve into power struggles. The goal of Rosenberg’s four-step approach to meaningful conversations is to connect about everyone’s needs, not to “win.”

Dian Killian, a certified trainer in Rosenberg’s method and collaborative communications consultant, breaks down the four steps.  Click through to read the rest of the article.
Jim Manske's insight:
Thrilled that NVC gets some press on Quartz! 
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Why We Need Empathy in the Age of Trump

Why We Need Empathy in the Age of Trump | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Sociologist Arlie Hochschild explains why we need to understand people on the other side of the political divide—and how empathy can be a force for positive change.
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What do you do when the bottom falls out? Rick Hanson

November 9, 2016  
The Practice: Take heart. 

 Why It takes heart to live in even ordinary times. By "taking heart," I mean several related things: 

Sensing your heart and chest finding encouragement in what is good both around you and inside you 

Resting in your own warmth, compassion, and kindness; resting in the caring for you from others; love flowing in and love flowing out 

Being courageous, whole-hearted and strong-hearted - going forward wisely even when anxious, knowing your own truth and as you can speaking it 

When you take heart, you're more able to deal with challenges like aging, illness, trauma, or conflicts with others. You're also more able to take advantage of opportunities with confidence and grit. Additionally, it takes heart to live in, live with, and live beyond times that are really hard. 

Your personal hard time might be bad news about your health, the death of a parent, or betrayal by others. Or it could be related to changes in your country and world, and your concerns about their effects on others and yourself; I've written about the importance of finding and facing facts at the level of society. 

There are so many examples of honorable people facing great difficulty with dignity, principle, and courage. They did it. We can, too.

How 

Start by riding out the storm. When big things happen at any scale - in your child's schoolyard or in a refugee camp on the other side of the world - it is completely natural and normal to be shocked and disturbed by them. As best you can, stay with the raw experience, the body sensations, the deep feelings, the stirred up fears and anger and perhaps paralysis. 

Whatever it is, it is your experience; some may be upset about a big event while others may be glad about it; I am definitely not trying to talk you out of your experience. Be mindful of whatever is passing through the big open space of awareness, observing it without being flooded by it. Painful and counter-intuitive as it may be, this is the foundation of releasing really hard experiences and replacing them gradually and authentically with thoughts and feelings that are helpful, wholesome, wise, and even happy. 

Do things that help you come back to center and find your footing. Personally, I prioritize exercise, sleep, and meditation; I try to feel the truth of being basically alright right now, in this moment, moment after moment (alongside and deeper than pain or sorrow); I do the dishes and make the bed. Walk the dog, call a friend, eat something, look at trees and sky, get a cup of tea and stare into space. Take good care of your body. Guard and guide your attention. It's one thing to find facts and form the best plans you can. It's another thing to get distracted or upset by news or other people that do not add any useful value. 

Take heart in the good that is real. Outside you, there is the kindness in others, the beauty of a single leaf, the stars that still shine no matter what hides them. Right now as you read, all over the world children are laughing in delight, families are sitting down to a meal, babies are being born, and loving arms are holding people who are dying. Inside you, there is your compassion, sincere efforts, sweet memories, capabilities - and much more. 

Take heart with others, sharing worries, support, and friendship. Do the things you can. The more that events are turbulent, alarming, and beyond your influence, the more important it is to grow stability, safety, and agency inside you and around you. Have courage. At all human scales, strong forces have always tried to confuse and frighten others. Whatever outward action is necessary, you can preserve an inner freedom, never cowed or bowed in your core. 

 Last, I've found it really helps to have perspective. Without minimizing one bit of whatever is awful, it is also true that humans like you and I have been walking this earth for nearly 200,000 years. I see the trees, the land, the ocean - all of it here before me and lasting long after me. Empires rise and fall. Sometimes the center does not hold - in a body, marriage, or nation - and still. And still people love each other, go out of their way for a stranger, and marvel at a rainbow. Nothing, nothing at all can change this. We keep putting one foot in front of the other one, lifting each other up along the way.
Jim Manske's insight:
This our chance to practice resilience and healing.  First, self-care!  Then, we need to listen to one another, and from that deep listening take steps that acknowledge everyone's needs, and begin compassionately addressing them with whole-heartedness.  What can you do, right now, to take care of yourself?  Is reading social media and the news supporting your well-being, right now?  If so,  yay!  If not, make a new choice!
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A Violence Prevention Strategy

A Violence Prevention Strategy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The tensions between the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodia National Rescue Party in the run up to the 2017 and 2018 elections are reason to consider all available violence prevention strategies, including those besides law and order. 


 “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed,” states the preamble of the constitution of Unesco. How can you and I build such defenses of peace? 


One way is to learn the language of humanization. The psychologist Zimbardo observed that the process of dehumanization is central to the transformation of ordinary people into indifferent, even cruel perpetrators of violence. 


 Dehumanization is the reduction of the full humanity of a person or a people to one or few single traits, which makes them appear less human and hence unworthy of equal treatment. While all the causes of violence remain to be conclusively defined, most scientists agree that dehumanization is a precursor.


Humans do not persecute humans whom they believe to be similar to themselves. According to Genocide Watch, dehumanization is the third stage of the genocide process, following the stages of classification and symbolization and preceding organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and denial. 


 Our language matters in that it may become a vehicle of dehumanization, legitimizing and promoting violent actions; a phenomenon called “cultural violence” in peacebuilding. The violent conflict strategies of politicians, militaries and militias typically contain dehumanizing language, because it lowers our resistance to hurting another human being. Khmer Rouge guards replaced the names of Tuol Sleng prisoners with numbers. The Hutu government referred to Tutsis as traitors in the run-up to the genocide in Rwanda. The US military continues to describe its enemies as targets.


 Much of the language we use in our day-to-day life too is dehumanizing and therefore puts us at risk of becoming violent. Consider the following interpersonal, community and political examples. Our children are arguing over a toy. When we respond with “bad kids,” we pave the way for disconnection and acts of violence justified as punishment. 


 Now imagine Vietnamese come to settle in our village. In conversations with other community members, we might say “all Vietnamese are criminals,” thus making their eventual expulsion more likely. 


Finally, suppose our political leaders are in disagreement, so by extension so are we. Calling Prime Minister Hun Sen a “dictator” or opposition leader Sam Rainsy a “traitor” in political debate will harden the enemy images that fuel violent protests and repression. 


 So should we just call everybody “sweetheart”? No. Positive labels are the other side of the same coin. They can be likewise dehumanizing. 


The actual alternative is to focus on our similarities instead of our differences. The language of humanization, from the perspective of nonviolent communication as developed by Marshall Rosenberg, draws our attention to the needs that we as human beings have in common, such as food, shelter, safety, autonomy, acceptance and peace. Conflict arises when our strategies for meeting these needs clash. However, because I have the same needs as you, I can understand what drives you even if I abhor what you are saying or doing. Guessing (I cannot know for sure) what you are feeling and needing will ease my eagerness to get even with you. 


 For example, we are more likely to create understanding and resolve the conflict between our children, if we guess “are you feeling frustrated, because both of you would love to play with this toy?” We reduce our inclination to scapegoat the Vietnamese newcomers and increase our willingness to contribute to their well-being, as soon as we guess “are you feeling nervous and at the same time hopeful, because you would like to be accepted and access the resources you need to survive?” 


 We start breaking down the relational barrier between our political parties, when we guess: “Hun Sen, are you alarmed, because you want to protect the nation’s stability and economic growth, as well as your own safety by securing influence and financial resources?” And: “Sam Rainsy, are you concerned, because political participation and equality are fundamentally important to you, while you want to be able to express your views without jeopardizing your life by living in exile?”


 The language of humanization increases our resistance to hurting other humans, because we come to see that they are just like us, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, wealth, power or position. 


Humanization has long been integral to the non-violent conflict strategies implemented by peace builders. International mediators advised the Colombian government on the psychological aspects of the peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. 


 The Centre for Nonviolent Communication is teaching empathy to children in American and European schools. The Transcultural Psychosocial Organization facilitates restorative dialogues between victims and perpetrators of Khmer Rouge violence here in Cambodia. 


But surely we need to protect ourselves from – how shall we put it – “crazy guys”? Trying to understand someone’s violent actions does not mean condoning them. Should there be no option for dialogue and our lives be in danger, we may resort to the protective instead of the punitive use of force. That is what Gandhi did when he led the non-cooperation movement against the British oppression of the people of India without dehumanizing his opponents. 


We may not be able to influence the language used by our politicians and military, but we can influence the way we express ourselves. In the face of conflict, we can decide to humanize the people around us and in so doing, reverse the genocide process and prevent violence.


 We can free up the internal resources necessary to pursue collaborative and constructive ways of meeting everyone’s needs. To teach the language of humanization to ourselves, our children, our communities and our leaders is to build defenses of peace in our minds. Jeannine Suurmond specializes in mediation, restorative justice and nonviolent communication and lives in Phnom Penh.

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'I Wanted To Show Them How it Felt': The Women Using VR as Empathy Activism | Broadly

One minute you're holding a mini elephant in your hand; the next, you're floating about in deep space or hang gliding across the Alps. No longer the provenance of a technological elite, virtual reality (VR) has truly arrived. It promises to become the next mass medium in a way that pundits say mirrors the arrival of film at the start of the 20th century. But what if VR dared to do more, like increase empathy and change people's minds—even people in positions of power? A school of female VR filmmakers are honing in on this possibility, combining the impact of the medium with that most traditional of human endeavors: storytelling.

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Sign the petition: TEACH NONVIOLENCE IN OUR SCHOOLS

We believe that teaching nonviolent communication at every grade level in our schools will prevent the violent killing that is increasingly prevalent in our schools and society. We ask that our governmental leaders make this education mandatory in our nation's schools, beginning at the earliest grades and continuing through graduation from high school.
Jim Manske's insight:
As we deepen into a political season marked by the deepest polarization (at least according to the media) that I have ever experienced, I am grateful for the reminder that thousands of people support nonviolence and educating our children in Nonviolent Communication.  Our friends, Genesis and Sulara, started this petition, and in light of recent events on the political scene, it seems important to re-energize our collective efforts to let those we elect know we value NVC and appreciate how it can create a better world for all of us-no matter what your political preferences may be!  Would you be willing to read and sign the petition?  What could you do to help this "go viral"?
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26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Poverty is down, literacy is up, and life expectancy is rising.
Jim Manske's insight:
Don't be daunted by the negative tendencies of some folks who choose to constantly parade "facts" about how terrible things are.  Of course, things are terrible for some of us!  And, overall, as a species we are making some progress.  Don't buy in to fear!  Buy in to "Who needs what right now?" and "How can we help?".  Let's keep the momentum going in our lives and continue to work together to make life more wonderful for everyone of us.
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Flip the Script

Flip the Script | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Psychology has a golden rule: If I am warm, you are usually warm. If I am hostile, you are too. But what happens if you flip the script and meet hostility with warmth? It's called "noncomplementary behavior" — a mouthful, but a powerful concept, and very hard to execute. Alix and Hanna examine three attempts to pull it off: during a robbery, a terrorism crisis and a dating dry spell.

To play the podcast:  http://goo.gl/km5A4y
Jim Manske's insight:
One of my favorite 21st century enhancements is the podcast. There are a few I enjoy. This one, moved me and inspired me, especially the first two sections. For me, this is another indication that the consciousness we point to when we use the "word" NVC is universal and unlimited in its application. As Marshall Rosenberg once said, "I'd rather have NVC than a gun." Listen to the first 10 minutes or so of this podcast to gain your own insight into what Marshall may have meant.
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Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships?

Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The most important parenting you’ll ever do happens before your child turns one — and may affect her for the rest of her life. One mother’s journey through the science of attachment.
Jim Manske's insight:
I have been fortunate to receive some education in attachment theory from Sarah Peyton, CNVC trainer in Portand.  Her work integrating NVC with Interpersonal Neurobiology has supported me in more clarity and self-compassion, as well as compassion for all.
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Finland is really good at stopping bullying. Here's how they're doing it. teaching bystanders to empathize and intervene.

Finland is really good at stopping bullying. Here's how they're doing it. teaching bystanders to empathize and intervene. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Bullying is awful, but a Finnish program is teaching bystanders to empathize and intervene.

 

"In the game, students can practice how to be nice to someone and what kind of nice things you can say to someone who would like to be included in the group or is new in the school," said Alanen.

 

By asking the kids what they would do in certain situations and giving feedback and advice about it, the program can help teach the students to be more empathetic and supportive of bullying victims. And the data shows that the program works too.

 

Juvonen's analysis found that KiVa reduced the odds of a given student being bullied by about one-third to one-half.

By James Gaines


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Dr. Theresa Kauffman's curator insight, July 7, 10:20 AM
Another great example from Finland. At Kauffman Leadership Academy, students will be supportive of each other through caring relationships.
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Having grit means less when you don’t also have privilege?

Having grit means less when you don’t also have privilege? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Consider this statement: “I am diligent. I never give up.” If you think, “Hmm, not so much,” you might be lacking in grit, a new buzzword making rounds on the internet and in parenting circles. The statement comes from the Grit Scale, a quiz in University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth’s new best-selling book...May

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Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life

Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The recent shooting in Orlando demonstrated utter contempt for human life, and our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and the city of Orlando. But thoughts must be backed up with actions to protect people from such violence,” said Jamira Burley, senior campaigner for Amnesty International USA. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government is obligated to protect people from gun violence. “While much is still unknown about this horrific crime, a full investigation must be guided by facts, rather than speculation or bigotry of any kind. The U.S. government must uphold its obligations under international law and address gun violence as the human rights crisis that it is. It is critical to reform the current patchwork of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone’s safety and security.No one’s life should be threatened just by walking down the street, going to school or dancing at a nightclub.

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How To Build Empathy And Gratitude At School

How To Build Empathy And Gratitude At School | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

How, how do you exercise empathy in the classroom? Try these tips:

 

Role play– Choose a problem that the whole class has to solve. After dividing the class into two groups, assign each group a role (for example, the problem might be earning money for a class trip, and students may be assigned the role of the school principal or the bus driver). After 10 minutes of discussion in each group, have groups switch roles to build empathy for the other side.

Modeling – When facing a student who is upset about something, ask open-ended questions like “Right now you might be feeling X–is that right?” Or, offer a drop-down menu (“Are you really angry, fearful, or just tired?”) By modeling an empathetic attitude, you can help students own their feelings while showing them what empathy looks like. And above all–try not to fix. Just listen.

Understanding – As shown in the above video, understanding lies at the core of all empathy. To understand another,  you acknowledge what they’re feeling (“I get it–and I’d probably react the same way you’re reacting now”).

Mindfulness – Consider ngaging in 5-minute meditations, guided by you or a mindfulness practitioner. If you choose to do these every day, students will learn how to accept their feelings, including the negative ones, without reinforcing undesirable behaviors.

No-Bullying – Let class members come up with ideas for a non-bullying classroom and school. What does this safe space look like? Let students role-play (see above) to better understand what’s behind bullying behavior. Then, incorporate their insights into a non-bullying policy.

 

 


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Water Protectors' Forgiveness Walk - November 6, 2016 - Mandan, ND

The Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have struggled for months to peacefully stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Our friends and CNVC colleagues Catherine Cadden and Jesse Wiens and our son Jiva have recently been at Standing Rock in solidarity with the Native American people gathered to protected the Earth and Water.  Jesse made this short film about a forgiveness walk involving the tribes and the police. 

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The Election: Of Hate, Grief, and a New Story | Charles Eisenstein

The Election: Of Hate, Grief, and a New Story | Charles Eisenstein | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Click through for a long and worthwhile read from author Charles Eisentein.


Here is one of the parts I found supportive:


"We are entering a space between stories. After various retrograde versions of a new story rise and fall and we enter a period of true unknowing, an authentic next story will emerge. What would it take for it to embody love, compassion, and interbeing? I see its lineaments in those marginal structures and practices that we call holistic, alternative, regenerative, and restorative. All of them source from empathy, the result of the compassionate inquiry: What is it like to be you?"

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A Nation, Divided, with Liberty and Justice for the Few

A Nation, Divided, with Liberty and Justice for the Few | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Please follow the link if you are interested in Miki Kashtan's reflections on current events related to the recent election in the USA.

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Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded

Dalai Lama: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

There has never been a better time to be alive, and yet in the richest countries, In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Violence plagues some corners of the world, and too many still live under the grip of tyrannical regimes. 


And although all the world’s major faiths teach love, compassion and tolerance, unthinkable violence is being perpetrated in the name of religion. And yet, fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. In many countries, recognition of women’s and minority rights is now the norm. There is still much work to do, of course, but there is hope and there is progress. 


 How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. In the United States, Britain and across the European Continent, people are convulsed with political frustration and anxiety about the future. Refugees and migrants clamor for the chance to live in these safe, prosperous countries, but those who already live in those promised lands report great uneasiness about their own futures that seems to border on hopelessness. 


 Why? 


 A small hint comes from interesting research about how people thrive. In one shocking experiment, researchers found that senior citizens who didn’t feel useful to others were nearly three times as likely to die prematurely as those who did feel useful. This speaks to a broader human truth: We all need to be needed. 


 Being “needed” does not entail selfish pride or unhealthy attachment to the worldly esteem of others. Rather, it consists of a natural human hunger to serve our fellow men and women. As the 13th-century Buddhist sages taught, “If one lights a fire for others, it will also brighten one’s own way.” 


 Virtually all the world’s major religions teach that diligent work in the service of others is our highest nature and thus lies at the center of a happy life. Scientific surveys and studies confirm shared tenets of our faiths. Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives. In Germany, people who seek to serve society are five times likelier to say they are very happy than those who do not view service as important. Selflessness and joy are intertwined. The more we are one with the rest of humanity, the better we feel. 


This helps explain why pain and indignation are sweeping through prosperous countries. The problem is not a lack of material riches. It is the growing number of people who feel they are no longer useful, no longer needed, no longer one with their societies. 


 In America today, compared with 50 years ago, three times as many working-age men are completely outside the work force. This pattern is occurring throughout the developed world — and the consequences are not merely economic. Feeling superfluous is a blow to the human spirit. It leads to social isolation and emotional pain, and creates the conditions for negative emotions to take root. What can we do to help? The first answer is not systematic. It is personal. Everyone has something valuable to share. We should start each day by consciously asking ourselves, 


“What can I do today to appreciate the gifts that others offer me?” We need to make sure that global brotherhood and oneness with others are not just abstract ideas that we profess, but personal commitments that we mindfully put into practice. 


Each of us has the responsibility to make this a habit. But those in positions of responsibility have a special opportunity to expand inclusion and build societies that truly need everyone. 


Leaders need to recognize that a compassionate society must create a wealth of opportunities for meaningful work, so that everyone who is capable of contributing can do so. A compassionate society must provide children with education and training that enriches their lives, both with greater ethical understanding and with practical skills that can lead to economic security and inner peace. A compassionate society must protect the vulnerable while ensuring that these policies do not trap people in misery and dependence. 


Building such a society is no easy task. No ideology or political party holds all the answers. Misguided thinking from all sides contributes to social exclusion, so overcoming it will take innovative solutions from all sides. Indeed, what unites the two of us in friendship and collaboration is not shared politics or the same religion. It is something simpler: a shared belief in compassion, in human dignity, in the intrinsic usefulness of every person to contribute positively for a better and more meaningful world. The problems we face cut across conventional categories; so must our dialogue, and our friendships. 


Many are confused and frightened to see anger and frustration sweeping like wildfire across societies that enjoy historic safety and prosperity. But their refusal to be content with physical and material security actually reveals something beautiful: a universal human hunger to be needed. Let us work together to build a society that feeds this hunger. is a growing sense of unease and helplessness because people no longer feel useful.


The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet and a Nobel laureate for peace. Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing opinion writer.

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When suspensions weren’t working, this high school opted for a new approach

When suspensions weren’t working, this high school opted for a new approach | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
D.C.’s Ballou High School chose a “restorative justice” model to address discipline issues, and it cut suspensions by more than half.
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Jews, Muslims and Christians to build a joint house of worship in Jerusalem

Jews, Muslims and Christians to build a joint house of worship in Jerusalem | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
In an attempt to turn away from polarization and politics, a group of Jews, Muslims, and Christians will be setting up a joint house of worship in Jerusalem. The prayer hall will be open to the public between September 5th to the 11th.
Jim Manske's insight:
I feel inspired by the courage of these folks who are walking the talk of unity and brotherhood/sisterhood!
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Peter C. Newton-Evans's curator insight, August 5, 10:54 AM
The essence of all religion is one - a relationship of love with the supreme Creator, who has sent messengers from age to age to guide and inspire humankind towards an ever-advancing civilization.
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Empathy: Have You Got It? 

Empathy: Have You Got It?  | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Empathy: Have You Got It?

If you believe effective communication is an important leadership skill, you surely can’t ignore empathy. That’s because empathy is a precursor to being an effective communicator. How? Empathy is about understanding or being aware of other people’s feelings even when you don’t agree or relate to them. This awareness helps to understand other people’s perception. And when you are in know of other’s perception, you can choose to ‘act’ rather than ‘react’ to situations. 
 
So when a high performing employee starts slacking off, a non-empathetic leader will probably react by doubting the employee’s ability. But an empathetic leader will give the benefit of doubt and ask, “Is everything ok? Is something bothering you?”

 


Via Edwin Rutsch
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We Are All Criminals

We Are All Criminals | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

One in four people in the United States has a criminal record. It’s a record for something other than a minor traffic violation used by the vast majority of employers, legislators, landlords and licensing boards to craft policy and determine the character of an individual. 


In our electronic and data age, it typically does not disappear, regardless of how long it’s been or how far one’s come. It’s a record that prevents not only professional licensure and a gainful career path, but can also get in the way of obtaining entry-level positions, foster care licenses, entry into college, and safe housing. 


But We Are All Criminals is not about those records. This project looks at the other 75%: those of us who have had the luxury of living without an official reminder of a past mistake. Participants in We Are All Criminals tell stories of crimes they got away with. Some details have been changed to help protect the participants’ identities and to abbreviate the stories; the majority of the people interviewed relayed numerous offenses, but in most cases, only one of the stories has been cataloged. 


The participants are doctors and lawyers, social workers and students, retailers and retirees who consider how very different their lives could have been had they been caught. The photographs, while protecting participants’ identities, convey personality: each is taken in the participant’s home, office, crime scene, or neighborhood. The stories are of youth, boredom, intoxication, and porta potties. They are humorous, humiliating, and humbling in turn.


They are privately held memories without public stigma; they are criminal histories without criminal records. We Are All Criminals seeks to challenge society’s perception of what it means to be a criminal and how much weight a record should be given, when truly – we are all criminals. 


But it is also a commentary on the disparate impact of our nation’s policies, policing, and prosecution: many of the participants benefited from belonging to a class and race that is not overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Permanent and public criminal records perpetuate inequities, precluding millions of people from countless opportunities to move on and move up. 


We Are All Criminals questions the wisdom and fairness in those policies. But this goes beyond background checks. It goes beyond how we make choices of who we interview, hire, or to whom we rent. This is about how we view others by how we view ourselves.

Jim Manske's insight:
Fascinating to me.  To see the normally unseen...to name the normally unnamed.  

A childhood Bible story reminds me that we all fall short of perfection.  I remember Jesus saying something like, "Whomever of you is without sin may cast the first stone."

I am innocent, because I have never been convicted.  On a deeper level, I am innocent because I am forgiven.  Even deeper?  I am innocent because I am human.

And you are innocent as well!  We are innocent.  Even if we have been caught, convicted, sentenced, incarcerated, probated and released, we are innocent.

We are all much more alike than we are different.  And we have all got away with something "illegal".  We are all criminals.  We are all innocent.  We are all human.

How does this awareness change our attitude toward "them"? (those who have been caught and punished for something we, too, may have done?)

For me, it deepens my commitment to continue to work toward a restorative system of justice.  A restorative system addresses harm and loss through connection and restoration.  That's the world I want to live in.  In that world, I am more willing to own my "crimes" and restore connection with those who suffer as a result of my actions.  In that world, I live and practice self-responsibility, and I am very careful about every law I write or accept.  As Robert Anton Wilson said, "every law creates a new group of criminals."


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Project to get Peer Mediation in every school launched | Scoop News

Project to get Peer Mediation in every school launched | Scoop News | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
At midday on 7 July at www.givealittle.co.nz/project/peacefoundation , the Peace Foundation launches its most important project in 41 years with the goal to fund the expansion of its flagship Peer Mediation Programmes for primary, secondary an
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The “new” Global Campaign for Peace Education: pursuing intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace

The “new” Global Campaign for Peace Education: pursuing intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The Peace Education Initiative at The University of Toledo
Jim Manske's insight:
One of the old gospel songs proclaims, "I ain't gonna study war no more!"  The making life more wonderful alternative? Teaching Peace!  Peace Studies is blooming around the world both formally (as in the work of the Global Campaign for Peace Education) and informally through the work of hundreds of Nonviolent Communication trainers, Mindfulness coaches and hundreds of other modalities for Speaking and Being Peace.  What can you do today to contribute to more Peace, more Well-Being, and more Happiness?
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Is Nonviolence Effective?

Is Nonviolence Effective? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The evidence for the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance is mounting. In the past 100 years, nonviolent campaigns were nearly twice as likely to achieve full or partial success as were violent campaigns and the advantage for nonviolent campaigns held even when controlling for the authoritarianism of the regime.
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