Mourners listen to a memorial service over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Photo: AP Photo/David Goldman
Pity, sympathy, empathy, compassion. Each is received at various times by one in distress. They are the responses engendered by our misfortunes from those we encounter. And each feels different when received. Each has a different effect on those who are suffering in the midst of psychic or physical crisis.
My entire life has been committed to learning and understanding the giving and receiving of compassion. My first memory of an event involving this spiritual path goes way back to the sixth grade when our class visited a student art show presented by a school situated in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I grew up.
If you let a community tell its own stories, what do you hear?
During Seattle's Compassion Games, independent filmmakers brought us stories of a neighborhood coming together around a community garden, a community formed around an all-night diner, and a community of dancers that became family for a Seattle newcomer.