Week 3 ~ Cultivating compassion


What if compassion for your own and others suffering has the power to change everything?


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GUIDED Meditation

* this visualization meditation is required to prepare you for the next steps in our process... please listen in a quiet space, with your sketchbook nearby

Discovering Your Symbology

* Required in order to be prepared for week 4 painting


Symbols have been used to tell stories throughout human history. At this point in our collective evolution however, we do not share one set of symbols with universal meaning. Some symbols may have wider appeal, like stars, hearts, birds, faces and moons. While other symbols have become more personal, as we touch in to the deepest parts of our own hearts and discover the unique stories, energies, purpose and meaning within each of us. 

As we develop relationships with and understand the symbols we are drawn to, we begin to learn our hearts' unique visual language with us. Soon shapes begin to take on new meaning and importance when they show up time and time again in your life, like markers on your spiritual path urging you forward

The purpose of this activity is to begin to cultivate your own symbol system... in particular, to begin to reveal the symbols wanting to support and participate in your creative inner journey. In your journal or sketchbook, begin doodling shapes that come to mind. Notice what shapes want to be repeated, played with and developed, allowing yourself to be responsive to your inner impulse without censorship. Don't know how to draw something? Google image it.

Fill 1-2 pages with symbols and simple doodles. Notice themes, like nature, cosmic, things that are red... 

Contemplate what these symbols or themes mean to you. What stories do they tell you? What do they tell you about yourself? Your process? Your future?

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Suggested Reading

From Protection & Boundaries, by Pixie Lighthorse...

  • No Trespassing - 31

  • Examining Expectations - 33

  • Trying on new ways - 37

  • Making Waves - 43

  • Compassion for anxiety - 55

  • Fanning the flames - 57

  • Explain Your Strategy - 71

Writing Practice

Thinking of someone with who I have conflict, when I hear between the lines of what they are saying or doing, in what ways does their behaviour reflect their own inner suffering? In what mays might they be suffering? What suffering is often triggered in you, in response?


Additional Resources

Joan Halifax's TEDtalk: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy

The Dalai Lama: The Benefits of Compassion, excerpt from The Compassionate Life

Thupten Jinpa: A Fearless Heart: How the courage to be compassionate can transform our lives

One of my all time favourites.... Tashi and The Monk

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Painting Overview

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* Begin by choose 3 colours light/medium/dark (colour palette is still not important)

* Using a hog hair brush on the larger size that fits the spaces you will be working in, and with a small amount of  paint in a scratchy, circular motion bring light paint into light areas of the face first. (light areas a those which are furthest forward). Bring darks to furthest back areas. Fill in medium spaces, blending into darks and lights.

* Repeat dark/med/light until desired shading and shape structure are achieved (at this point complete at least two layers.... more if desired)

* Strengthen and open the lines the face, opening each sense mindfully as you do this process, using a synthetic liner brush and 1, usually darker, paint colour. Use the same process if you are painting a different image, to bring back some of the lines that may have been softened during the dry-brush process, bringing awareness to the 'waking up' of your image.

* Continue strengthening and bringing back lines throughout your painting, giving new definition and life to your image.

  • header photo credit: Zippy Lomax

  • b&p photo credit: Pixie Lighthorse