This page has resources for developing a vision of your life changed by acts of compassion and how that generates the power for systemic change.

Frank Ostaseski on helping or fixing vs. being of service....

“I like the old word service better than caregiving. Service speaks to the depth of the heart’s intention, an embodiment of unselfish values, and the action that springs from wisdom. Service is always mutually beneficial. Caregiving too often turns into helping and fixing.

My ol' friend Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., says this better than anyone I know when she writes, 'Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.'

Fixing and helping are draining. Over time, we may burn out. But service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will renew us. In helping, we may find a sense of satisfaction, but in serving we find a sense of gratitude.

Try it sometime. Sit with another person without a solution to their problem, without playing a role. No analyzing, no fixing, no meddling, no mending. Listen generously, as if the other person has all of the resources that they need inside of them. Just respect and receive what is being offered. It’s not even important that you understand. Imagine your listening presence is enough, exactly what is needed. Often a receptive silence heals more often than all the well-meaning words.

When I am sitting at a person’s deathbed, I feel my own fear. I’m in touch with my grief. In the service of healing, I draw on my helplessness as well as my strength, my wounds as well as my passion. This is how we discover an authentic meeting place with other people: through the vulnerable and courageous exploration of our own experience.”


by Bob Doppelt of The Resource Innovation Group, about cultivating the capacity of individuals and groups to 

  • constructively respond rather than automatically react to traumas and toxic stresses with fear-based fight, flight or freeze actions when they are not needed, and
  • use adversities of all types as transformational catalysts to learn, grow, and
  • increase personal, social, and ecological wellbeing (post-traumatic growth).

Trauma-informed Community

Unraveling the Armor of Privilege by Vanissar Tarakali

"Those of us who sincerely wish to change forms of oppression that do not directly target us often hit inner walls of denial (disbelief that racism, or sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, ableism, etc. are severe, pervasive social problems), or feelings of guilt, shame, isolation or powerlessness. These states are part of what I call the armor of privilege....Oppression is traumatizing to everyone involved. Being on the “up” side of privilege thwarts our natural human impulses to empathize and connect with others."

Traumatized by Oppression 

Equality, a True Soul Food by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times

"There’s growing evidence that the toll of our stunning inequality is not just economic but also is a melancholy of the soul. The upshot appears to be high rates of violent crime, high narcotics use, high teenage birthrates and even high rates of heart disease."

Principles for Helpers by Bob Lupton, Focused Community Strategies. Good intentions and kindhearted spirits, while commendable, are insufficient guarantees of positive outcomes.

Spreading Kindness Campaign

Elation: The Amazing Effects of Kindness  "...when you consider performing an act of kindness, think about its potential three-way positive effect."

Self-compassion is not self-indulgence, it is a source of personal resilience in the presence of suffering. Extending kindness and acceptance toward ourselves empowers us to do the same for others.
The Work of Love This workbook is an opportunity for self-transformation and freedom from the grip of the culture of separation and conflict that has been programmed into us from birth. The challenging questions are designed to stimulate a lengthy self-examination of unconscious beliefs that block our natural ability to connect and belong with others.

Reading Resources on Homelessness

Building a movement:

First Follower: Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy -- "Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers - not the leader." 

Lifecycle of Emergence: When separate, local efforts connect with each other as networks then strengthen as communities of practice, suddenly and surprisingly a new system emerges at a greater level of scale.

The Spiral of Empowerment

David Hazen,
Jan 12, 2016, 9:47 AM
David Hazen,
Mar 20, 2019, 9:55 AM
David Hazen,
Sep 12, 2016, 8:28 AM
David Hazen,
Dec 20, 2016, 9:28 PM