One Wish – The Charter for Compassion

Make a wishIf you had a wish, what would it be? Would you direct it inwardly or towards others? Would it be personal or would it be communal? Would it be larger? Would your wish be transformative, transactional or fanciful? Could you name it, nail it down, write it on a sign? Is it something you could share or would it remain a personal secret? Would you wear your wish upon your sleeve or swallow it like a burning truth?

Karen Armstrong has a wish. The TED Prize winner’s wish is as follows:

I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.

From this one wish a movement has been spawned. Around the world, people from all cultures and religions are coming together to affirm The Charter for Compassion. The charter:

The Golden Rule requires that we use empathy — moral imagination — to put ourselves in others’ shoes. We should act toward them as we would want them to act toward us. We should refuse, under any circumstance, to carry out actions which would cause them harm.

For me, compassion is feeling, thought and action. It is something we feel, something we consider – but perhaps most importantly, it is something we must act upon. We don’t show compassion by clicking a button, joining a cause online or digitally signing a petition. We show it by moving out of our comfort zones, stepping beyond our deeply worn paths of apathy and acting in a way that transforms (even momentarily), the life of another.

November 12 sees the launch of the Charter for Compassion and along with the celebrations and events that will be taking place around the globe to mark the launch of the Charter, a number of Australians were asked what compassion means to them. These individuals shared their time and their thoughts on compassion. But you can do more. Visit the Charter for Compassion website (or Facebook page) to learn, share and act.

Oh, and you can view the Australian video below. In order of appearance, it features: Adriano Zumbo, Cathie McGinn, Dr Stephen Saunders, Neil Perry, Melissa Leong, Barry Saunders, Mitzi Macintosh, Mark Pollard, Julie Posetti, Venerable Sujato Bhikkhu, Gavin Heaton, Reverend Raymond Minniecon, Bronwen Clune, Reverend Bill Crews, Rabbi Mendel Castell, Graham Long and Tim Burrowes.

Australians on Compassion from TED Prize on Vimeo.

The Perfect Gift for a Man

cover According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the current suicide rate for men in Australia is more than three times the rate of women. But research shows that encouraging men (and young men in particular) to share their feelings and their experiences has a huge impact on their health and wellbeing.

It was with this in mind that back in July, fresh from our efforts around the Inspire Foundation’s #Manweek campaign, Mark Pollard and I decided to TRY to make a difference. Sure, there were some great blog posts written by men, for men – but how many people were we reaching? How many men in crisis were reading our blog posts? We needed to find another way.

Putting our heads together, we hit upon the idea of a self-published book. came to the rescue, providing an easy way for us to design, publish and distribute the book. But then – it was a matter of stories.

Putting the call out, we asked for other men to join us – sharing your thoughts on a blog is one thing – but committing them to print is quite another (plus we needed various disclaimers and so on) – so we didn’t know who would respond.

In the end, 30 writers heeded the call. The resulting book is a compilation of stories about reinventing manhood. It follows the life-arc of a man, from its beginnings through the trials and tribulations, challenges and jubilations that we all face.

The spirit of honesty that pervades the book will break your heart and allow it to be forged anew – for far from being a collection of stories of desperate lives, it is a grudging acknowledgement of the double-edged joy that life truly is.

As Scott Drummond writes:

If I’ve learned anything through all this it is that there aren’t any hard-and-fast rules for how to be a man in this crazy and unpredictable emotional tornado we call life. The only thing we can really be assured of is that life will continue to change for us all, regardless of how much we wish it wouldn’t. All I know is that how you grow and evolve as a man to meet the challenges that life will inevitably throw at you is what really counts. I’ve learned that no matter how alone or broken you feel there are men and women who care enough to be there for you, to help you feel less broken and alone.

It is in this spirit of connectedness that we are excited to now make this book, The Perfect Gift for a Man, available. Please buy it for the men in your life – regardless of whether you THINK they need it or not. Encourage them to read it and to share it with their mates, with their uncles, fathers and sons.

You can buy the printed book from or you can purchase the eBook version from The Perfect Gift for a Man website. ALL the profits from the book are being donated to The Inspire Foundation.

You can also find out more about the book and see our social media release here.