September 8, 2014 Compassionate Austin Meet-up

Summary of the September 8, 2014 Compassionate Austin Meet-up and Updates about the November and December, 2014  Meet-ups


Monday, September 8, 2014 Meet-up, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Pat’s home.

Announcements sent out prior to the September meeting (provided by Lesa):

Be thinking about the name you’d like for this group.  Here are some possibilities:  “Compassion Action Austin,”  “Compassion Austin,” Compassionate Austin.”  Bring your ideas to the meeting.  Also, think about any events/projects happening in Austin or beyond that you’d like to share with the group.

Some important news!  We have a new vibrant and energetic leader of “Compassionate Austin”-  Jessie Metcalf!  She has come forward to volunteer to take on the leadership role and has lots of passion and great ideas for moving us forward.  Welcome Jessie!!  Her email is  She will be at the September 8th meeting.  So far, we have 16 people who have RSVP’d that they are attending the meeting.

We now have a “Compassionate Austin” Facebook page and a wonderful logo.  The Facebook page has just been launched. Please visit the page and “Like” it and share it with friends, family, etc.  Contribute your thoughts, actions, events, etc. to help make Austin a city of “3D” compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth).

Here is a high-level assessment of the responses received to the 6 questions posed to the group after the 1st meet-up in July, 2014 (thank you so much for your responses!).  The assessment is provided by Jessie:

– Most people want to stay on the email list (exceptions have been noted).

– Most are comfortable sharing their email addresses with each other (exceptions have been noted).

– Most agree with all possible outcomes for the group. There was specific advice that we should organize ourselves further prior to seeking non-profit or council action. A handful of people have very specific “compassion” causes.

– Most agree that starting with monthly meetings to get assembled is best, then maybe progress to quarterly.

– Most want to be a “participant.”

– Most are flexible regarding when to meet, with a slight preference for evenings.

Reminders (provided by Lesa):  The global Compassion Games are from 9/11 to 9/21.  Any individual or group can join in the Games. Go to the website to sign up:  Perhaps the simplest way to participate is to commit to do at least one act of compassion (caring for others, self, or the Earth) each day of the Games and report on the global Compassion Map:  Let’s put Austin on the map!  If you have any questions, just let me know.  Also, there is “Peace Day Austin,” honoring 9/21, the International Day of Peace.  Check out this website for more info on how to get involved:

Here’s a link to an article written by Lesa Walker, MD, MPH with simple strategies for teachers, mentors, and parents to engage children and youth (and adults) in the daily practice of “3D” compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth):  Although it’s written for teachers/mentors/parents, the strategies can be used by anyone to practice and strengthen compassion.  The article is a good resource for ways to participate in the Compassion Games as well.  


1) Welcome to All and Introduction of Jessie Metcalf-  Lesa/Pat (10 min)

2) Brief Introductions- Group  (10 min)

3) Report on the Charter for Compassion’s “Cities Matrix” conference call- Pat/Lesa (5 min).  Here is a link to the Charter’s July, 2014 newsletter providing the background about the conference call which occurred August 15th:

4) Compassionate Austin Discussion/ Wish List Exercise – Jessie/Group (40 min)

5) Updates about events/happenings related to compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth) in Austin and beyond- Group (10 min)

6) Next Steps Discussion- Group (15 min).


Summary Notes/ Update Info (provided by Jessie Metcalf):

  • Next meetups
  • What is Compassionate Austin?
  • Long Term Visioning – How can Compassionate Austin make an impact?
  • Near Term Activities – What can we do right now?
  • Conversations about Compassion
  • How to invite others to our Conversations about Compassion
  • Compassionate Austin resources

Next Meetups –  As we discussed during our last meeting, September 8, 2014, at Pat’s house, we can now broaden the network of compassionistas by taking our conversations around the city using the Austin Public Library’s network of branches. This is a busy time of year but I was able to reserve our next two meetings for 2014. When the Austin Public Libraries open up their 2015 scheduling, I will reserve our spots accordingly and will try for the 3rd Monday of each month, rotating around the city. These meetings will be open to the public, listed on the library calendars, so feel free to spread the word. If they shut us down because we exceed the capacity of these rooms, well, that will be a good problem to have and we’ll look for a new approach.

Our next 2 meet-ups are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday November 10, 2014 6:00 to 8:45 PM @ Cepeda Austin Public Library (651 N Pleasant Valley Rd, Austin, TX 78702)
  • Monday December 15, 2014 6:00 to 8:45 PM  @ Yarborough Austin Public Library (2200 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756)

What is Compassionate Austin? When I tell my friends about Compassionate Austin, I tell them that this City is filled with people passionate about and already out there doing compassionate stuff and that we are just trying to find each other. We are looking for each other for a variety of reasons. Some of us want to broaden our awareness of what others are doing already, some want to join forces, some want to forge new relationships with people who share our passion, and some are just curious and ready to be inspired. I love this variety. And I know as we take our meetings to the libraries around town we will make new friends, new connections, and opportunities will blossom.

Long Term Visioning – How can Compassionate Austin make an impact?  During our last meeting at Pat’s house, I asked each of you to envision what success might look like a year from now. And the responses you shared were beautiful and inspiring. I see each your examples below as our proverbial “stakes in the ground”, goals to inspire us forward, knowing that with any new effort, we offer flexibility to modify and refine our day-to-day course.

  • signed Compassionate City proclamation from the City of Austin
  • interfaith rallying around signing the Charter for Compassion
  • evangelizing activities and materials that reward, educate, and inspire compassion
  • response team connecting non-profits with risk awareness areas
  • SXSW-like event or conference focused on Compassion
  • Non-profit status
  • Financial support/backing by Big Tech
  • Austin branded as Compassionate Heart of Texas

Near Term Activities – What can we do right now?  Your survey responses indicate that you want to keep meeting, talking, sharing, and growing and that you see yourself as a participant and/or observer lending support where you can. Like you, I’m juggling a variety of responsibilities, and although they may pull me away from my Compassionate Austin work sometimes, I am still interested in driving this effort forward and coordinating our meetups which I call Conversations about Compassion.

Conversations about Compassion. I envision these meetups to be opportunities to attract others to the conversation. I think we can do this by inviting people who want to either observe/absorb as well as those who want to speak and present about the compassionate work they or their organizations are doing. I think the format of the meetings can remain fairly informal for now. I’ll open and close the meetings, organize agenda topics ahead of time, but also guard the opportunity to keep this conversational.  As we get to know each other and fine tune our areas of interest, we can add back the structure familiar to successful organizations on a clear mission.

How to invite others to our Conversations about Compassion – Feel free to copy, modify, or forward the invitation below to others.

Join us for Conversations about Compassion
​Like us on Facebook or email to be added to the mailing list to stay informed. What: Join us for Conversations about Compassion where we will share ideas and opportunities that inspire, educate, and drive compassionate behavior.


Who: We are Compassionate Austin, a growing grassroots group of Austinites united to celebrate compassionate intention and practice.



–          Mon-Nov-10-2014, 6-8:45 PM @ Cepeda Austin Public Library (651 N Pleasant Valley Rd, Austin, TX 78702).

–         Mon-Dec-15-2014, 6-8:45 PM  @ Yarborough Austin Public Library (2200 Hancock Dr, Austin, TX 78756)

–         2015 dates will be added soon.


–      Compassionate Austin Facebook page. Lesa has done an amazing job posting regularly which has grown our community to 160 “likes”. Check it out:  Compassionate Austin!  Please visit the page and “Like” it and share it with friends, family, etc.  Contribute your thoughts, actions, events, etc. to help make Austin a city of “3D” compassion (caring for others, self, and the Earth).

–      Karen Armstrong’s TED Talk about Charter for Compassion (this is what hooked me years ago)

–      Sign the Charter for Compassion at

I’m so excited about Compassionate Austin!  We have such a wonderful community!  For those of you attending the November 10th meeting, I look forward to seeing you there! If we miss you there, hopefully we’ll see you December 15th. Please send your suggested agenda topics ahead of time. I’ll send an updated agenda prior to our next meeting.