NEWSLETTER Summer | 2021
The ongoing pandemic is, despite hopes vested in vaccines, still affecting the world and continuing to have an impact on all types of activities and communities, providing learning opportunities that no one is asking for while mirroring the deep inequities in the world. There is a lot for all of us to learn. The need for key systems like education to make profound changes is becoming evident to an increasing number of people. Believing these changes can benefit from being guided by compassionate systems approaches, we are excited to see our community is growing and the key hubs we have been focused on continue to build their own critical mass.
We are dedicated to nurturing this growth sustainably. In the coming months, we will continue our commitment to lower cost, enable more inclusive access, and reduce the carbon footprints of our activities, by integrating blended learning formats that allow participation virtually in our workshop activities. One of the most striking discoveries for us this past year plus has been seeing how effective virtual workshops can be in creating spaces for connection and deep learning. Going forward, our upcoming Compassionate Systems Introduction Workshop in September will be virtual, and the Holding Space and Guiding Contemplative Practice Training in early November (a learning opportunity available to all certified master practitioners) is being designed as a blended model (combining face-to-face and virtual). Although we all long for physical presence in our communities, the benefit of giving people from all over the globe more equal access combined with what we have learned of how people, guided by ideas, purpose, and genuine engagement, can build fruitful relationships in online spaces signals a new and important opportunity. Our aim is to continue to explore how to do this, regardless of where a physical convening is taking place and what kind of changing travel restrictions need to be considered. In the end, this learning could prove the most important consequence of the whole COVID pandemic.
The master practitioners in the class of 2020-2021 have all been certified – congratulations! – and a great new group of practitioners from across the globe have embarked on their master certification learning journey. The total number of master practitioners, certified and in training, is reaching over a hundred people, with so many more practitioners involved in the different sites and hubs. We will continue to pursue efforts and opportunities for the whole community of students, teachers and administrators to interact, share and inspire. The Compassionate Council of Youth is one way we’d like to forward this ambition.
During the review process culminating the first year of our master practitioner certification process, one of our reviewers and key advisors to the Center said that we would “be missing a strategic opportunity if we fail to start capturing some of the extraordinary work of these people.” Over this past year, and especially the past several months, we have been able to start a process of doing just that. In our May newsletter we told a story of bringing contemplative check-in’s to primary school classrooms in Denmark. In this letter, we continue sharing the Stories from the Field. This time we’ll invite you to read about the efforts of the HELP center at University of British Columbia in tracking and using data to make a difference in the lives of children and families across the province. In a story from one of our master practitioners in California you’ll learn how compassionate systems tools are helping parents of students in special education programs support one another’s emotional well-being while dealing with the extraordinary challenges of school lockdowns.
More stories will be featured in future newsletters as we publish them on our website. Let us know your thoughts. We are sure you will share our feeling that this is a key facet of the research dimension of our collective work.
Mette and Peter