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A Discussion/Study Guide


“Dating back to the biblical source of the brothers Cain and Abel, we have a responsibility to one another.  Without wearing that mantle, what are we?...


When there are unexpected, rapid and sharp life turns, we must honor that it’s the universe pointing out a time to review and reassess where we’ve been and where we’re going….


Engagement is not just doing and learning, but also sharing and encouraging the next person to be as involved in the world as you are.  In this way you extend yourself into the world…


And as if that isn’t enough, what is our responsibility to self along the way.  For without love of self, and looking for the joy in the day, what do we have to share with our companions on the journey.

- Preface, A Commitment to Compassion



A year ago, this book was published to support caregivers and all who feel a call to service.  We can get lost in our own perception.  To broaden our view, we must really listen in order to serve with dignity.


And now, when it's natural for virtually everyone to feel fear of the great unknown and anger for all that is lost, we can “shut down” in the wake of so many emotions.   We can’t visit those in need in hospitals or nursing homes.  One of our most basic compassionate actions:  THE HUG, is not just suspect but forbidden.  How do we remain available to self and others? How do we practice compassion in this new world?


The following Discussion Guide is organized around the chapters of A Commitment to Compassion:


Compassion in Action

  • When I am afraid and/or angry how do I harness compassion and empathy for others and myself? 

  • What are three concrete ways to take care of self? 

  • What are three concrete ways to take care of those closest to me?

  • What are three ways to take care of others outside of my immediate circle?

Choosing a Life of Service

  • Why do I choose service? 

  • Was there an incident or a person that inspired?  How often do I remember how that inspiration evolved?

  • Have I experienced compassion fatigue, and if so, what are some techniques I’ve used to cope or promote self-care?



  • How do I define dignity?  How is it manifest in my life?  How do I bestow that on others?

  • In the present situation, have I witnessed a moment when dignity was not bestowed on me or a fellow?

  • How did that make me feel?

  • What if anything did I do about that?


Power of Touch

  • Do I remember a time when Touch made a difference?

  • During a Pandemic, where social distancing is a way of showing compassion, what are other ways to “touch” someone?


Acceptance of Self

  • It is normal that all of us are striving to improve ourselves in an imperfect world.   How can I be more accepting and forgiving of myself?  Does accepting and forgiving myself impact how I can offer that to others?

  • How do I discover the best in myself and use it as a way to share with others?


Repairing the World

  • What does this mean to me?

  • What is a first step for me to begin to take action?

  • Some problems are out of our hands.  How do I deal with things that cannot be repaired right now or at all?

Majesty of the Unknown

  • Is the unknown a miracle or a happy coincidence?

  • In a time of crisis, how do I cope with what can seem like a loss of majesty?

  • How do I dialogue with others who see it differently than I do?


Seeking Joy

  • How can we find joy when things are so tough?

  • Am I a glass half full or a glass half empty person?

  • Can self-compassion strengthen a more positive state of mind?


Finding Balance

  • What does this mean for me?

  • When there is always another person who needs help, how do I take a “time out” for myself?


Standing on Their Shoulders

  • To whom can I look to for some direction in challenging times?

  • How does it feel not to have all the answers?


Listening Versus Hearing

  • If there a difference between listening and hearing?  How do I define them? 

  • What is an example of each in your own experience?


Sharing Stories

  • What gives stories their power?

  • Does it matter if they are literal truth or a metaphor?  Can you think of examples?

  • What boundaries are there in sharing personal stories in a professional setting?


Above All, Do No Harm

  • How do you handle the sharing of difficult news.  Is honesty always the best medicine?

  • What is the value of saying “I don’t know?”

  • Name a time you asked for help and what were the results?


We All Have a Spark

  • Where do I find my inspiration?

  • How can I call on it in times of need?

  • How can I share that spark with others?

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