Circles of Compassion

Compassion gives us the ability to understand someone else's situation and the desire to take action to improve their lives. Since, every person on Earth is dependent on others for help and support, practicing compassion means that we recognize and honor this interdependency, and it also means that we can always take action to support actions that improve not only our lives and beyond our home, but into the community and the whole wide world.

Goal

Connect and relate with compassionate concern starting with self and beyond one’s immediate environment.

Resources

  • pens/ pencils/crayons for coloring and writing
  • Sheet of paper to cut into strips
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • (optional) piece of yarn or string to tie rings into necklace or decoration
  • Activity Instruction Sheet (optional) click to download 

Instructions

Let’s get our materials ready. Cut a strip from your paper, starting at the bottom of the long side of your paper. The strip should be approx 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide by 11 inches (28 cm) long. Repeat two more times so you have 3 strips of paper ready for the activity.
Now, let’s breathe together for 10-20 seconds. You can be sitting or standing in a comfortable position.  Loosen your shoulders. Inhale and exhale slowly through your nose. Avoid using your mouth and keep your eyes close if possible.
  1. With your eyes closed, scan what’s going on with you. Are you feeling tired or energetic? Is it hard to stay quiet, or maybe you feel the need to scratch now? While keeping the rhythm in your breathing, visualize your chest area, you can even put your hand over your heart.  What are your senses telling you? Your feelings? What thoughts are visiting you? What do you need right now?
    Open your eyes. Pick up a strip of paper and write or draw about your feelings and needs now. Question: If you could, what would you ask a very dear friend or a loving family member to give you support or help you with right now? When you are finished writing, tape the strip into a ring– connect the two ends of the stip into a circle and secure with tape. 
  2. Next, let’s go back to breathing deeply for 10 more seconds. Put your hand over your heart and connect with your breath again. Now, we will focus on someone that is not you, but someone special that you care about. This person can be a family member, a friend, a teacher or a neighbor. Imagine seeing that person in front of you, laughing or playing with you.  What does it feel like to be with this special person? Open your eyes and pick up a new strip of paper.  Question: What’s one thing you can do to help or support this person?  When you are finished writing, thread the new strip through the first ring of paper. Connect the ends of the second strip into a ring shape and secure with tape. 
  3. Finally, we go back to our breathing again. Now, you can keep your hand on your heart or place both hands over your chest. Think about the world, all its inhabitants from all places, places where you have traveled and places where you would love to visit. Think about the animals, the plants and all living creatures. Think about the water in the streams, and the mountain reaching for the sky. Think about the air and the clouds and the forests blowing in the wind. Open your eyes and take a third strip of paper and write. Question: What’s one thing you can do to support the Earth stay alive and vibrant?  After, you’re finished, you can thread the new strip through the second ring of paper. Connect the ends of the third strip into a ring shape and secure with tape. You should now have three rings making a chain.

Discussion

  •  How did you feel giving yourself some compassion? How would it feel to do that on a daily basis?
  • How did you feel supporting or giving compassion to someone you love? What do you think was for that person to receive it? 
  •  How did you feel giving compassion to the Earth? How often can you practice something that supports the planet?

Extensions

This activity does not need adaptation to work online / virtually.
Participants can also draw 3 large circles in a paper, or this can be a game that is played with chalk and to draw the circles on the ground. They can make drawings and write feelings, thoughts and actions inside every circle.
Additionally, as they use paper strips they can put those 3 into a thread and hang them in a visible place to remind them of their intentions.

Activity Source

Fiorella Velarde
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About this activity…

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5-15 minutes

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