tu-horsesGift of Compassion (GoC) is a program of Commonweal. We offer a way to calm the spirit, open channels of awareness, and inspire generosity for self and others by using art as a portal to meditation. Our approach uses collaboration to create experiences that invite people to look inward for clarity so one can move with calmness under all circumstances.

GoC emerged as a project after a time of rest and reflection at Commonweal in 2015. We shared extended experiences with 15 individuals who had spent their lives in politics, media, youth leadership, civic engagement, community/movement building, and philanthropy.  The creative hospitality was both an inspiration and an exercise in gathering wisdom for the future. The insight was that there are myriad ways for humanity to be supported. The portals for knowing one’s role come from a place that is not known. Once one discovers their role in life, wondrous things can happen.

Since 2016, GoC has created workshops, fundraisers, and fellowships for underserved and under-resourced groups such as transition aged youth, social justice advocates and organizers, prisoners coming home to community, people looking for a path to heal, and anyone interested in realizing their own human potential. The common thread is an experience of harmony, clarity, and lightness. And the method is to enter into a moment of quiet, stillness, and silence.

We know that everyone will face a time of challenge in life.  GoC invites one to encounter life's vital energy and to recognize struggles as a means to develop greater empathy and compassion for self and others.  To experience harmony, less fear and anxiety about life’s unexpected twists and turns, and to possess a spirit that is open, generous and joyful is possible.

Since the project started, we have learned that holding space is a valuable contribution to supporting others in their journey. Sharing with an open heart is key. Designing creative means to develop the practice of seeing meditation as an art and “living fully” as an artform. As tragedy crosses our paths, healing and growth depends on moving quickly to center oneself after encountering conditions that destabilize. The ability to let go, both physically and emotionally, can be developed.