ACT 2020 Featured Capstone
“Discovering Our Inner Space”
Sandra Sanabria Bohórquez
Principal Clinical Imaging Scientist, Genentech
Designing and delivering a program and training in Medellin, Colombia
for volunteers who are serving a community that is living in extreme poverty.
Describe Your Capstone Project.
My Applied Compassion Capstone Project was designing, developing, and delivering a program for volunteers in Medellin, Colombia who are serving a community that is living in extreme poverty by providing education, encouraging school attendance, balanced nutrition, and community activities. In my project, I developed and delivered a 5-week mindfulness introduction course to 16 people followed by a 13-week week compassion cultivation course to 20 people. Then I developed and led a 10-week training for 8 volunteers wanting to become mindfulness facilitators. We met online, 2h/week. And I then supported the volunteers in creating the mindfulness program for kids and adults.
Describe Its Impact.
Participants report a more consistent mindfulness practice, on the cushion and in daily life. Also, being able to manage stressful situations with more compassion for self and others and how cultivating common humanity has enabled them to be more compassionate. Personal inquiry about what compassion is and what is not has been supportive: Recognizing that taking care of oneself and actively engaging in activities supporting their own wellbeing while supporting their community is important to avoid burnout. They’ve expressed their work during the pandemic has impacted positively their community and has provided them with great satisfaction and purpose.
How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion?
Designing and developing my Capstone Project and its classes and training required me to reflect deeply on the meaning of living compassion, challenging my beliefs and mental habits. Teaching became my teacher, my students became my teachers. Having to leave my comfort zone more often than usual, widened it. Uncovering my blind spots taught me humility and deep compassion. Overcoming my fears of doing a ‘horrible' job and the impostor syndrome, taught me kindness and strengthened my sense of common humanity. This experience reinforced my compassion, supported me in finding a stronger sense of purpose, and opened many possibilities to serve from the heart.
What advice would you give to someone who's considering registering for the ACT Program?
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us” Joseph Campbell. That’s pretty much what happened these last months. The ACT faculty teachings, the wonderful projects and classmates, and being witness to the good they’re bringing into the world was the ‘push’ I needed to fully commit to spreading compassion. I have many ideas and projects, I’ll keep learning and sharing with as many as possible the resources to grow their inner kindness and compassion. In ACT, I uncovered my compassionate courage and am ready to share it!