~with Stevie Wonder, Michael Beckwith, the Green Sheikh, Chief Phil Lane Jr., Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Standing Rock
(Photo Credit: Andrew Alexander Johansson for YES Magazine)
It turns out that the hard work of fixing the world, uniting the divisions among people and solving painful social problems doesn’t have to be work at all. It can be fun, inspiring, invigorating and playful and everybody is welcome to get in on the game!
Just when you think the world can’t get any darker... poisonous politics, terrorism, militarization of public streets, conflicts, war zones and inhumanity that makes people refugees and then makes them “other” coupled with climate changes that threaten life itself... along comes something and with a flash of insight sparked by the fire of inspiration, the torch of compassion is ignited and hands from every corner of the world reach for this torch that resembles, in the moment, something too often elusive-- called hope. Then along come others to shine a light on how human compassion plays out in the world.
“Play” being the operative word.
Welcome to a new kind of game, a revised kind of competition, a different kind of play-- where kindness is rewarded and everyone wins. Welcome to the Compassion Games.
In a culture that celebrates besting your challenger, where winning is everything, gaining power-over is applauded , vanquishing your opponent is key or incapacitating the “other,” elevates players and wins the prize--this new way of gaming rattles the mind. Good. It’s supposed to.
Remember back to your youth when they told you “no, you can’t” and when you asked why, were told: “because we’ve always done this way.” That way we’ve always done it hasn’t worked for most of us in a world that has become ever-more interconnected and interdependent. Raw consumerism and “He who dies with the most toys wins,”creates resentment, not respect and the resulting separation and isolation doesn’t support human endeavor or planetary survival in the long term. Rather than the sweet-sickening pity, patriarchy, colonialism or “helpfulness” that compassion has been rumored to be, the new compassion is fierce, powerful, in its collective interdependence and tolerates no one left behind in a world where it really does take a village to build a sustainable future. In fact, in the looming shadow of climate change, it’s going to take the whole world acting as village to even have one.
A future, that is. And speaking of the future, the Giving Games this year will focus on the future, on youth, on Climate Change and on building a healthy and sustainable world for the generation that will inherit this planet. As a means to that end, are the Compassion Games, a culture-hack whose time has come? Are they the place where both singular and collective inspiration, callings, and life missions could find expression? Where the talent of the individual intersects with the needs of the world? Where the world meets the soul’s longings? Instead of hiding from suffering or resigning oneself to a dismal fate or more of the “same old-same old,” are the games ours for the sake of being and doing something greater in and for the world?
The last round of games that kicked off on September 11-- the Unity Games were pretty impressive. And the stories are even more inspiring than the numbers:
- One of the church groups sent meals to Syrian refugees
- One man created a free handyman service for people who can’t afford repairs
- in South Africa, a team held a march to save the elephants, rhinos and lions
- In Mumbai, India children crafted, wrote and shared imaginary stories
- In Australia a group of youth spent the night outside with a few meager belongings and no shelter—in solidarity with the homeless
- Author Eboo Patel designed a deck of “Acting Kindly” cards
- In Ireland a table quiz raised funds for women who are trafficked within the sex trade
- An ice cream parlor in Austin invented a new flavor: “Reese’s Peace” while the city itself launched a “Neighborhood Compassion Watch” instead of Crime Watch to report acts of kindness
- The United Arab Emirates packed boxes of toiletries for workers living in camps throughout the country
- In Rio De Janeiro people initiated a “Dignity March” for people of diverse beliefs and lifestyles
- In Zimbabwe, they brought a divided community together for reconciliation and to move forward together
- In the Western U.S. the Earth Guardians youth cooperated with tribal elders in healing the intergenerational divide with ceremony and prayer for the protection of Mother Earth
- One of the leaders of the games in the Arab world is the “Green Sheik” who has organized 34 teams in 18 countries and who teaches and works on environmental protection with youth.
The next round of games that begin this November promise to be even more inspiring. The highlight of the games will feature Standing Rock and the miracle of solidarity taking place there. The hereditary chiefs and tribal elders believe they are seeing the Prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor unfolding as the fulcrum appears where history and the world hang in the balance.
The Compassion Relay begins with a number of “Calls to Play” in the 2016 Giving Games. The first Call to Play and lighting of the Compassion Torch takes place at the Convention of Parties 22 (COP22) of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change taking place in Marrakech, Morocco starting on November 6. Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Hinhan Wicasa and Deloria Tiospayes, Dakota and Chickasaw Nations along with Dr. Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi also known as the “Green Sheikh” and other Dream Team members will light the torch. The Green Sheikh and the Centre for Global Education launched the Blue Youth initiative that has engaged over 25,000 youth, from every continent on earth, in the world’s largest consultation of youth around water and climate change action.
Chief Phil will then carry the compassion torch to the National Conference of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and then to the closing Ceremony of the 7th Peace and Dignity Journey taking place in Panama City, Panama on November 14-17.
In its passing from Morocco to Panama, the torch brings together Argentine and Alaskan youth who have begun a long relay run to meet in the center of the Americas to symbolize the reunion of the Eagle and the Condor—an ancient prophesy of cooperation between North and South that signals the beginning of a new era.
From there, Chief Phil will carry the torch to the Agape International Spiritual Center where musical icon Stevie Wonder and Reverend Dr. Michael Beckwith will receive it on November 20 before they pass the torch on to Standing Rock North Dakota and issue a Call to Play with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on November 22. The Shift Network’s “Catalyst” issue to be published Thanksgiving weekend will focus on Indigenous Peoples and will include a Call to Play in the Giving Games.
After the calls to play are completed, the Giving Games Kickoff takes place at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City on November 29th with Games founder Jon Ramer and Sommer Joy Albertsen broadcasting live from “command central” for the 12 Dream Team members that are organizing to participate during the Games.
The Games will conclude with a Global Wopila (Native American Oceti Sakowin GiveAway Ceremony) that recognizes the many good things we have accomplished as members of the human family and honors December 10 as the United Nations Human Rights Day. The Wopila will be co-hosted with Chief Arvol Looking Horse Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
In this time of transition and uncertainty, one can feel powerless and overwhelmed stricken by the unimaginable grief of the possibility of a dying planet, or one can numb and inhabit indifference or denial. The Compassion Games bring another option that everybody can participate in-- a way to make a mark on a world to elevate and expose the invisible underpinnings of compassion that human beings are not only drawn to, but according to new science—hard -wired for. The Compassion Games can become part of building critical mass in a revised human consciousness that incorporates stewardship of our planet. A single act or event can become the impetus for a movement toward a new way of being.
In the Compassion Games, we can have fun, make a difference and work together in changing the narrative in the world from separation and making “other” to one of friendly and cooperative competition (“co-opetition,”) toward inclusion, unity and compassion and to serve the Earth the future. Perhaps you can hear Earth herself calling inside the voices of this critical “call to play.”
Meet Compassion Games Founder Jon Ramer
A Juilliard trained New York musician and second career businessman, Jon is an unlikely candidate for community organizing but that’s exactly what he’s done with a worldwide community of more than 30 countries and counting.
Jon’s spiritual quest took a big leap after the events of Nine-Eleven and a visit with the Dalai Lama in his adopted community of Seattle. He left the business world for a non-profit position with the Compassion Action Network and recognized the potential in Karen Armstrong’s annual TED Prize award and seed money for drafting a “Charter for Compassion” that has morphed from a collectively designed document to a worldwide movement. Jon organized Compassionate Seattle and the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities, and soon other cities responded with Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville throwing down a challenge that his city “is the most compassionate city in the world and will be so until proven otherwise.” That was hundreds of cities ago.
Mayor Fischer and Jon collaborated in developing a way to implement and measure collective impact that included benchmarks for shared agendas and continuous communication with quantifiable measurements that include: numbers of volunteers, hours of service, tallies of people served, and money donated to causes. A compassionate city is defined as “an uncomfortable city” when its people are still suffering somewhere in the community. The Compassion Games invite “co-optitions” instead of competition for resources—a model where groups of people play together in service and spirit to cooperatively solve the problems in their community.
The Compassion Games are based on the United Nations 17 Principles for a Sustainable World.
Jon seems to be one of those people who thinks in holograms and considers success, for example, to be more than monetary value at the end of a balance sheet or a tally of whom has more or greater—factoring into “success”—the inherent worth of social and relational capital gained in any endeavor, particularly in service or serving others to the benefit of all.
The games and activities are tallied on a real-time report map so that players and observers can see the progress of their own efforts and others that illustrate the geography of the games and their scope. Jon also collects individual inspiring stories that accompany those reports. The stories highlight the highest expressions of creativity and human nature in the “boots on the ground” who are actively creating the world to be a more compassionate place. These acts of compassion are the reason Jon Ramer calls compassion a “superpower;” and refers to himself as a “realistic optimist” claiming that the Compassion Games give people an excuse to do what they truly want to do anyway.
More about Jon Ramer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Ramer
Compassion Games Website: http://compassiongames.org/
Compassion Games Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/compassiongames/
”One Wordsmith” Barbara Kaufmann “writes to simply change the world.” Author, writer, artist and filmmaker, who’s an ordained minister, nurse, healer, and spiritual advisor—trained conventionally in medicine and business with a degree in Management, trained unconventionally in seminary, alternative healing, Spiritual Emergency and Shamanism—she dreams out loud of “a more humane narrative on the planet.”
Lifelong activist, leader and international citizen diplomat, Lawrence University Int’l Dean called Barbara’s work “Art in service to humanity” as an Officer with Sister Cities and their cooperative partnership with Russia in the decommissioning weapons of mass destruction.
Writer, Huffington Post Blogger, she’s the founder and steward of originally Voices Education Project’s “Words and Violence” Program about bullying in all its incarnations, now in its 4th edition, now featured in The Charter for Compassion Int’l Compassionate Education Programs.
Barbara’s love and respect for the power of “story” can be found on her website: www.onewordsmith.com