ACT 2021 Featured Capstone:

Taking Compassionate Action

Kristine Claghorn

Creative Producer and Activist — Los Angeles, California, USA

 

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Who did your Capstone Project serve ?
My main audience included people in the field of activism, regardless of their level of expertise. My Capstone Project guided readers through compassion-based lessons and practices, including mindfulness, self-compassion, common humanity, navigating difficult conversations, taking care, and the practice of Tonglen.

What was the suffering that your project addressed?
Burnout, imposter syndrome, empathic distress, and feelings of helplessness are common in activist work and can distract us from the reason we do what we do. The heavy load activists carry paired with a lack of resources is what inspired me to create this guide, after experiencing these barriers personally.

How did this project address that suffering?
I decided on a written format for my capstone, which can be read as a guide but can also be used during specific times of challenge. For example, if someone knows they are about to have a tough conversation, they may open the guide to the “navigating difficult conversations” section. Each section of the guide includes a lesson on a specific topic surrounding the suffering attached to activism work, while also including helpful meditations, exercises, and practices.

Who was your audience and how many people participated? 
Over twenty people with an interest in activism have read my capstone so far. Approximately half of them had a background in activism and half did not. One-third had experience with mindfulness and meditation, while the rest were learning about these topics for the first time. 

How was the project delivered (the format)? 
My capstone was delivered in the form of an e-book (PDF) that can be downloaded and viewed on a tablet, desktop, e-reader or phone. I wanted to create something to act as a companion that can be pulled out at any time, whether it be used as a consistent practice or used in moments of difficulty or challenge.

What was the reported impact on or feedback from participants? On yourself? 
Readers shared that the lessons and practices helped them shift their focus to what matters most to them and remember the “why" of their work. I’ve also been asked to transform this guide into a workshop. The project also helped me address my own burnout, as I was able to dive deeper into my practice and remember my “why.” 

How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion? 
The supportive nature of our mentoring groups has reminded me how important community is -- that we do not have to move through the world and its challenges alone. We spend time learning through doing, which creates lasting connections and lessons that will stick with me for the rest of my life. 

What advice would you give to someone who's considering participating in the ACT Program? 
If you’ve found yourself considering the ACT Program, my biggest piece of advice is to trust your gut and take the leap. The community will welcome you with open arms! I am thankful to have a community of like-minded friends and thoughtful individuals dedicated to the practice of compassion. I truly believe this is changing the world!


 

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Be the change!