One of the most frequent questions people ask me at the corner is What’s YOUR definition of compassion? I figure since people know that I ask others about compassion, a curiosity arises as to what my definition is.
When I was coming of age the nuclear threat hung over our everyday reality. The grownups were in charge of the world; I couldn’t understand why the grownups weren’t doing something! In my anguished child’s mind, I vowed that when I was a grownup, I would do something! If out of anger comes energy, then out of frustration can come movement.
Last week, an acquaintance stopped by the corner accompanied by her friend who I've only known through Facebook posts for a couple months. It was the first time meeting him in person. We greeted one another cordially and I mentioned seeing some of his art posted on his page. He showed some art pieces to me while my friend explained to him about what I do at the corner asking about compassion and the Compassion Corner Earthbench there. He asked if he could film an interview with me and I declined.
For compassion to be real, we need to know what it is, commit to it, and then do it. The Charter for Compassion is the culmination of global input, thought, and wisdom, resulting in a common message and definition for compassion. When we affirm the Charter, we align ourselves with the “Thought” and “Word.”
Andrew Himes is executive director of Charter for Compassion International
One of the most interesting questions I’ve ever heard is now at the very heart of my daily life. At least a dozen times a day, I am prompted—by an email, or a phone call, or a conversation with a friend at my favorite Seattle neighborhood coffee shop—to imagine an even better answer to “What is a Compassionate City?”