Thursday, December 3, 2020

Apply Empathy in Hard Family Discussions

Questions that foster empathy

Understanding family communication patterns can help you empathize with the challenges and opportunities that political discussions pose for you and your family relationships. In times of stress, as when a family member is ill, families can decide on how to finance hospice care next month. If you are lucky, they can offer a space to talk about job insecurities and show pride in accomplishments, too. But family is also the place where we learn to evaluate our values—ones that inform our political beliefs. What if political topics do keep coming up, in a Zoom meeting or backyard gathering? Instead of going straight to the issues, you might ask yourself the following empathy-inducing questions on behalf of the family project. 

First, employ an empathic perspective on yourself.

  • If you express opposing views, what type of reaction can you tolerate? If there’s family strife, how much division is OK? 
  • Is your goal to build intimacy with your family? If so, will broaching differences help?  
  • By expressing your political beliefs, do you want to practice individuating from your family and being your own person? Or do you want to practice self-control, and not take the bait to fight over political differences? 

Next, try to cultivate empathy for your family member.

  • Is COVID-19 creating stronger feelings of isolation among your family members? Do they need relationships high in conversation orientation over many topics now more than ever? 
  • Are they emotionally stable enough to handle this kind of conflict? 
  • Would talking over political differences actually help them feel engaged and closer to you, or more apart?

Finally, employ an empathic perspective on the total family.

  • Is there a crisis the family needs to rally around like child care, illness, or loneliness that a political fight could derail?
  • Is the family devoid of meaningful conversation and is politics a way to get people talking about something substantive?
  • Would talking politics recycle behaviors that have proven unsuccessful in the past?

If you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll know if a conversation across differences is possible—and if it is, the answers will help you to have a better kind of conversation. Empathy serves many purposes in political conversations, as well as in family relationships. Start by deciding what you and your family need. You may not change anyone’s political viewpoint—but the empathic effort can still bring you closer together.

---Read the entire article at "For Hard Conversations, Families Fall Into Four Categories"

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

On Friends and Life

"When we have each other, we have everything."

"Leading a life that has meaning, having gratitude, practicing kindness, and being a person of integrity are four big ways to help get our lives back on course. But, investing time and energy in developing and maintaining close relationships is HUGE."

---From "Putting the Dazzle Back in Your Razzle"

Monday, November 30, 2020

Winter Prose on Birds & Charity

Feeding Birds

     Rumer Godden

Charity starts in a nest,

the human breast;                  

like birds 

it needs no words

but sings

when it is given; 


has wings

to lift

the spirit up,

by gift

of this small water up,

to heaven;

and warm and light as feathers the bread

spared to see creation fed.

Love in a crumb is a mystery;

bread is the Body of charity;

little nerves of finch or tit

fly down to feast and quicken it;

robin, blackbird, sparrow, wren,

feasted, quicken it in men.

How to Benefit Your Community During the Season of Giving


Over the past few weeks, your inbox has been filled with advertising emails and special shopping deals prepping you for one of the biggest shopping days of the year – Cyber Monday. But do you know how to use your purchase power for more than just good deals? You can use it to do good in the world, too.   

 As a consumer, your purchases have the power to make a difference in your community, whether it’s through a percentage of your purchase benefitting a cause that it important to you or by supporting businesses engaging in socially–conscious practices. Choosing where to spend your dollars, and which companies or social entrepreneurs to support, reflects the values and causes important to you.  

 In our recently released research, Civic Life Today, 41 percent of all adults shared that they make purchasing decisions based on a company’s social responsibility practices. For Gen Z, it’s significantly higher with nearly 60 percent saying they take a company’s practices into consideration when buying. Tapping into your purchase power is an easy way to increase your civic engagement, and we’ll be sharing more information about using purchase power next week, so stay tuned.  

 Here’s just a few ways that you can impact your community through your spending power: 

  • Choosing to shop at a small, locally–owned and/or minority-owned business helps address inequality and contributes to the growth of your own community by creating jobs and boosting your local economy.  
  • Similarly, you can choose to buy from certified B Corporations, Public Benefit Corporations and social enterprises. Although not identical, these types of businesses believe that companies can be a force for good. They work to prioritize social impact in their operations. Some well-known examples include Ben & Jerry’s, TOMS Shoes, Seventh Generation and Patagonia.  
  • When you purchase through large retailers, look for companies that are socially responsible and philanthropic. Many of them, like Amazon, have initiatives that donate a portion of your purchase to charity. You can support Points of Light every time you shop on Amazon by selecting us through AmazonSmile. A percentage of the sale is donated back to Points of Light and helps fund our critical work.  
  •  As a reminder, purchase power centers on the choice of where and how you spend your money – not the dollar amount itself. As you go about your normal shopping routine, consider the areas where you can implement one, or all, of our tips to support the communities and causes you care about.  

From Points of Light

Monday, November 23, 2020

"A moment of gratefulness can reboot our energy levels"

 A few thoughts about gratefulness during this week of Thanksgiving. 

From: "Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations:"

Without inner peace or centering, we can feel our energy, enthusiasm and drive toward fueling positive change drain like a leaking pipeline. It’s like a plant that has the will to grow, but which lacks water and nutrients from the soil that it needs to thrive and blossom in beauty and sustenance.

When we feel drained, we can retreat into nature. When we feel drained, it is wise to take a sliver from our busy lives to contemplate the beauty that surrounds us. A moment of gratefulness can reboot our energy levels.

Action that brings change requires persistence. Persistence moves forward, whereas resistance pushes against aggression or negativity—with fewer positive results. Persistence, from my point of view, falls into the Law of Three—“the second fundamental cosmic law,” as defined by the 20th century philosopher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff. The triad Gurdlieff defined is active, passive and reconciling or neutral. 

The Daily Prism will vacation during this Thanksgiving week. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Season of Giving through Volunteering with Covid-19 Volunteer Link


"We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects,” wrote the Hindu sage  Ramana Maharshi 

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Happiness and service go hand in hand, they are complementary: Seva, or service, generates happiness and happy people are more likely to lend a hand.

As you enter into the season of gratitude, collective joy, and reflection on your personal path, consider how a simple act of service might change your outlook and contribute to the greater good. Consider ways that privilege and oppression show up in your life. Consider ways you already serve in your community and in your life. Consider ways you would you like to serve, for your own interest—and to help others.

... When you practice compassion for others, whether by offering a ride to the neighbor whose car broke down or teaching tap dance to senior citizens, you’ll get practice treating others with kindness. And this practice of compassion—the stirring of the heart in response to pain or suffering—is shown to boost your happiness.

Covid-19 Volunteerism 

We understand that for most (if not all) of us, the novel coronavirus feels uncertain and scary. But in spite of those feelings, many of us have still been moved to ask, “How can I help?”

Today, we offer you a variety of suggestions for ways to support others. After all, socially distanced as we may be, we’re all in this together.

1. Check on your neighbors
Call or text your neighbors (especially elderly neighbors) to make sure they’re doing okay. Ask if there is anything that they need (be it a box of tissues or a cup of sugar).

2. Explore ways to connect and volunteer virtually
we have plenty of volunteer and action opportunities, and as the landscape of volunteering evolves in the wake of COVID-19, you’re likely to see a lot more virtual opportunities to take action .

---From  Cick this link for additional ways to volunteer during the pandemic.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Stand Up for Hereos Funds for War Injured Veterans

NEW YORK, NY (November 10, 2020) – Stand Up for Heroes (SUFH), New York’s highly anticipated night of hope, healing and laughter honoring our nation’s veterans and their families, is going virtual for the first time in its 14 year history, and will air on ABC News Live, TikTokFacebook, Twitch and Armed Forces Network on Wednesday, November 18th at 9:00 p.m. EST. The event will raise awareness and funds for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, whose mission to help veterans and military families thrive is especially vital as veterans face increased challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stand Up for Heroes is presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival and is brought to you by Craig Newmark Philanthropies and Veterans on Wall Street, led by Citi, HSBC Bank, and Wells Fargo, and supported by Vehicles for Veterans.

Hosted by Jon Stewart, SUFH will feature performances by comedians and musicians including Nate Bargatze, Ronny Chieng, Sheryl Crow, Mickey Guyton, Tiffany Haddish, Brad Paisley, Patti Scialfa, Iliza Shlesinger, and Bruce Springsteen, with special guests including Jeannie Gaffigan, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Ray Romano, and more. The event will also highlight inspiring moments, memorable surprises, and stories of resilience while recognizing the men and women who have served in our nation’s military.

“Once we join this team, we are always part of this team. Once we’ve served, we are always serving, and proudly so.” Prince Harry

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $75 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members and their family members, across the nation. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes. 

From the Bob Woodruff Foundation