Posted in Blogging Break, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Garden, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Lovingkindness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering, Wonder

A not at all wordless Wednesday

Now blooming.

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.

~Lily Tomlin

Relaxation means releasing all concern and tension and letting the natural order of life flow through one’s being.

~Donald Curtis

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Posted in Books, Garden, Gifts, Life, Lovingkindness, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, TLC Book Tour

Book Review: The Compassionate Achiever + a giveaway

One compassionate achiever is all it takes to start spreading the ripples of success through a community.  It begins with you and how you interact with people on a daily basis.  All of your personal interactions are like small stones of compassion dropped into a pond, creating ripples that reach far beyond you.

Approach each day with a compassionate mindset and take actions to reinforce your commitment…

~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever:  How Helping Others Fuels Success”

As regular visitors to my blog know, I occasionally do book reviews for TLC Book Tours.  The publisher sends me a free copy and in exchange, I read and review of the book.  When I was asked to review The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success, I jumped at the chance.  My theme or word for this year is Lovingkindness, and compassion (of course!) fits right in with that theme.

In The Compassionate Achiever, Dr. Kukk posits that it is through compassion that success is most likely to be achieved, and he writes that compassion can be taught.  He lays out a four-step program for cultivating compassion:  Listening, Understanding, Connecting, and Acting (or LUCA).  He teaches several listening skills that include reviewing what was said by questioning, and how to ask the right questions to help you better understand the other person’s point of view.  In the section on understanding, Kukk defines emotions and feelings, and writes about the gap between the emotions (the physical reaction) and feelings (the mental reaction) where you can take the time to stop and think:

By taking a moment to simply think about what you’re feeling, your behavior becomes an act of reflection, not of instinct.  During that moment of silence you are filling the gap with reflection and self-awareness.

Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D.

As a nature lover and tree-hugger, one of my favorite pieces of advice from the book is what to do to help yourself when you’ve been practicing/experiencing empathy (taking on the feelings of others, which can be tiring and stressful and lead to burn-out) rather than compassion (feeling kindness toward others, which can lead to happiness and optimism).  Dr. Kukk suggests you “try taking a WIRL (walk, imagine, read, and listen).”  He even has a trail on his property called “the Pondering Path” which he walks.  I may borrow that idea when it comes to naming our trails here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.

I like the premise of this book and think that it would be a fantastic book for everyone to read, especially given the current state of political affairs in the United States where those at the top appear to be rattling their sabers, practicing little or no compassion towards anyone other than themselves.  I would highly recommend this book for those in schools, businesses, the government, and in what is referred to as “the resistance.”  We could use a lot more compassion towards each other in this world.

The publisher accidentally mailed two copies of the book to me which means… A GIVEAWAY!!  Yay!  I’m so happy to be able to pass on this book to others.  I am going to donate the copy I read to the local library in hopes that some of our local organizations will find it and use it.  (It is for that reason I refrained from my usual practice of margin notes and highlighting.)  If you are interested in a copy of this book, let me know in the comments.  I’ll have a drawing for the book on or about May 9.  It will be a low-tech drawing of putting names in a hat and letting M blindly pick one.

I will leave you with one more quote followed by the publisher’s release with more information about the book and the author.  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope to be back again this weekend for a coffee chat.  In the meantime… Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A rosebud for you.  The roses will be opening soon.

A country led by compassionate achievers would collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate its way to political, economic, and civic success.  Every country, just like every person and organization, has its weaknesses and strengths, but by walking with compassion, a country can avoid repeating historic mistakes while simultaneously strengthening its current society.

… From the human right to clean water to the rights of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, legal policies are still perpetuating injustice.  Compassionate achievers are the people striving to make clean water a basic human right (even though people die in seven days without water, it is not considered a human right in most developed countries, including the United States), and they are the citizens and organizations standing up to governments that have legalized LGBT discrimination.  Compassionate achievers eternally embrace justice even when the law deserts or forsakes it.

~ Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., excerpted from “The Compassionate Achiever:  How Helping Others Fuels Success

About The Compassionate Achiever

• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (March 7, 2017)

A powerful, practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home, and in the community.

For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers.

New research in biology, neuroscience, and economics have found that compassion—recognizing a problem or caring about another’s pain and making a commitment to help—not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own. Based on the most recent studies from a wide range of fields, The Compassionate Achiever reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion including more constructive relationships, improved intelligence, and increased resiliency. To help us achieve these benefits, Christopher L. Kukk, the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, shares his unique 4-step program for cultivating compassion.

Kukk makes clear that practicing compassion isn’t about being a martyr or a paragon of virtue; it’s about rejecting rage and indifference and choosing instead to be a thoughtful, caring problem-solver. He identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and outlines how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples.

With the The Compassionate Achiever everyone wins—we can each achieve success in our own lives and create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.

About Christopher L. Kukk

Christopher L. Kukk, Ph.D., is a professor of political science and social science at Western Connecticut State University; founding director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation; and faculty advisor for the University and City of Compassion initiatives. He is also cofounder and CEO of InnovOwl LLC, a research and consulting start-up for solving micro and macro problems through innovative education. He was an international security fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a counterintelligence agent for the United States Army, and a research associate for Cambridge Energy Research Associates. He lives in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Find out more about Dr. Kukk at his website, and connect with him on Twitter.

Posted in Air, Assateague Island, Beach, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Hiking, Life, Lovingkindness, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter, Wonder, Woods

A Monday meander

Entering the darkness of the woods.
Entering the darkness on a sunny day.

Lost

Stand still.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows Where you are.
You must let it find you.

~ David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

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Posted in A bit of history, Art, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Lovingkindness, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, WeekendCoffeeShare, Winter

If we were having coffee: It’s been a long week

Goddess of Mercy
Goddess of Mercy

“Gain strength. Suck up energy. Make a point of appreciating the fragrance of the flowers and the beauty of the sunset. It is like armor. When you take a moment to practice my message you can then be armed with an ability to be detached. One is meant to forgive, to forgive and be compassionate.”~Kuan Yin”

~ Hope Bradford, Oracle of Compassion: The Living Word of Kuan Yin

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Posted in Air, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Life, Lovingkindness, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, WeekendCoffeeShare, Winter, Wonder, Woods

If we were having coffee: Winter wonderland edition

january-2017k-023a
In the woods this morning.

Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.

~David R. Hawkins

Kind words can be short and easy to be speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

~Mother Theresa

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Posted in Air, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Lovingkindness, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter

A Monday meander on a Tuesday

Sunrise this morning.
Sunrise on Christmas morning.

Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us.

Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action. It makes beauty out of all we touch. In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of a whole.

~ Jack Kornfield, The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

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Posted in Air, Autumn, Critters, Dreams, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Life, Lovingkindness, Maryland, Metta, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder, Woods

Clouds, sun, and a word or two

Sky colors.
Sky colors.

Let me peer out at the world
through your lens. (Maybe I’ll shudder,
or gasp, or tilt my head in a question.)
Let me see how your blue
is my turquoise and my orange
is your gold. Suddenly binary
stars, we have startling
gravity. Let’s compare
scintillation – let’s share
starlight.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets under 25

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