“They had no roof over their heads…”: How ASDFL is helping an ‘invisible’ part of society… monastics who live alone

“They had no roof over their heads…”: How ASDFL is helping an ‘invisible’ part of society… monastics who live alone

Editor’s note: This Vesak, we explore the unsung heroes that keep the wheels of Dhamma churning. 

We met with Cell Lim from Aranya Sangha Danna Fellowship Limited (ASDFL). He is part of the management team that cares for the needs of ~60 community-based Buddhist monastics of which 40 require active case management. 

He shares more about why this initiative is one close to his heart and how it is transforming a little known part of Singapore’s Buddhist Landscape: Monastics who live alone.

If you could summarise what ASDFL (Aranya Sangha Dana Fellowship Limited) does in one line what would it be?

ASDFL is a ground-up initiative that provides social welfare services to community-based Sangha so that they can age in place and continue their spiritual cultivation. 

Why was there a need to set up ASDFL? Aren’t there many temples out there with accommodation?

Actually what took us so long?  This is long overdue! Community-based monastics in Singapore have always been around and just like Singapore’s ageing population, many of them are now elderly and retired from their duties. Compared to lay elderly, our ageing monastics have added needs that secular social services are not equipped to support. 

Most of the time we assume that they must belong to a temple or Buddhist organisation and all their basic needs are taken care of, i.e. accommodation, financial, medical, and meals. 

The truth of the matter is that there are not many temples with accommodation for monastics outside their lineages. 

Monastics have different focuses in practices and take up different roles such as conducting prayers, teaching Dharma, doing community work, etc. Given such diversities, it is not always practical to live under one roof or to stay in temples. 

ASDFL was set up in the middle of the pandemic, did covid have a part to play in accelerating this idea? How so?

Yes, the idea for setting up ASDFL from our co-founders appeared a couple of years before COVID-19 and groundwork started in late 2019. 

However, in early 2020, Covid-19 amplified all the areas of concern for our community-based monastics, like accommodation, chronic illnesses, and social isolation. 

Because of the pandemic, a handful of them who have been living overseas for a long time had to abruptly be relocated back to Singapore and were displaced. They had no roof over their heads with little/no social network in Singapore to depend on. 

What does a typical week look like at ASDFL? 

As the care manager, most of my work time is spent meeting up with Aranyas (monastics) to follow up and work on their needs, working on their care plan, and responding to unforeseeable situations. We run a helpline from Tuesdays to Fridays in which an Aranya can Whatsapp or call to request our assistance. 

The exciting part of our work is that no one week is the same as the other; every day is a different day.  

On Monday, I respond to missed calls and requests made over the weekend.  I then brief our medical kappiyas (helpers)  on their upcoming duties this week and remind the respective Aranya of their respective medical appointments. 

Tuesdays are our secretariat days where our administrator and volunteers do weekly accounting and periodic phone calls to Aranyas on our name list to update them on our upcoming events or check in on them. 

Subsequently, we hold operational meetings to forecast the next week’s work schedule, i.e. medical appointments to fulfil, home visits to conduct, volunteer visits and deliveries of dana items to schedule. 

With over 60 volunteers from all walks of life (Doctors, lawyers, retirees), what do you think attracts them to ASDFL?

I believe our volunteers have one thing in common; we all treasure the rare opportunity with BuddhaDhamma. When we hear that many Buddhist monastics are staying in the community and are in need of support, we want to show up with gratitude.

To show up and play our part, to serve and protect them in any possible way. 

Volunteers with a monastic

What motivated you to work at ASDFL as a full-time staff? When did you start the journey?

In 2019, ASDFL Co-founder Venerable Chuan Yu and Director Sister Chingwi, shared about the challenges that community-based monastics faced and the glaring service gaps for them.

Instead of lamenting about the lack of a support system, I thought the best way to contribute is to be part of the solution, to help create the support that is needed.

So with whatever past work experiences I had in the social service sector and the Buddhist community, I volunteered to be involved in the setting up of ASDFL.

Cell (right side) in action

What is a key highlight in your work? Any story made you say ‘Damn, all the hard work is worth it?’

A key highlight in my work is to journey with Sangha who is in distress, undergoing a challenging situation and gradually overcoming it and returning to a stable situation. 

One of the most unforgettable moments for me involves intervention work with an Aranya who had one of her legs amputated due to infection. 

When we first met her in the hospital ward, she was worn out, tired and at a loss for what to do after the operation. As she lives alone with no caregiver, we became an important pillar of support both physically and emotionally. 

After twelve months of care management, regular medical follow-ups, occupational therapy,  and weekly volunteer visits to provide her with emotional support, she finally reached a milestone! 

For the first time since she became wheelchair-bound, she was able to stand up on her own, using the prosthetic leg and walking frame, walk out of her HDB main door into the common corridor, lean over the ledge wall and look across the basketball court. 

This moment was truly unforgettable for me and our volunteers.

What is one little interesting but unknown fact about interacting with senior monastics?

An elderly monastic may appear very formal, stern and solemn. However, time will prove you otherwise! 

They are one of the warmest and most generous people when it comes to sharing their knowledge of the Dharma and their journey as Buddhist monastics. 

Each of their life stories is an inspiration and a reminder that human life is precious. Knowing this, we should strive towards enlightenment. 

What are the greatest challenges you face in your work?

One of the greatest challenges for me is my gender. 

I am the only caseworker and I am a male. More than half of the Aranyas that we serve are female and they do not have an option to speak to a female caseworker if they wish to. 

Hence they may feel less comfortable sharing more about their needs and worries with me. It is also inappropriate for me to visit a female Aranya alone (Monastics are not supposed to be in isolation with a member of the opposite sex).

Luckily I’m able to tap into our pool of female ASDFL volunteers. Some are social workers by profession to come in and provide casework support!

Volunteers checking in on an injury

What were some key Dhamma lessons you took away in your time at ASDFL?

I learnt that as long as we are humans and still living in Samsara we are all subjected to causes and conditions, we are subjected to suffering and dissatisfaction. In spite of these sufferings, we can always strive to be better persons and to be compassionate towards others. 

What would you say to fellow Buddhists working in the social service or undergrads deciding whether to enter the social service space?

I would like to share the following verse with them: 

Sentient beings are numberless. We vow to save them all.

Delusions are endless. We vow to cut through them all.

The teachings are infinite. We vow to learn them all.

The Buddha Way is inconceivable. We vow to attain it.

After I stepped into social service as a young caseworker in the mental health field, I finally have a deeper connection with these verses that I’ve been chanting for years! 

I continue to chant it daily, to remind me of my aspiration to serve all sentient beings, with no retreat (不退心) and to serve with no regrets. 

What are your future hopes for ASDFL?

I look forward to ASDFL becoming a strong pillar of support for all the community-based Buddhist monastics in Singapore, to let them know that they are not alone. 

I look forward to ASDFL growing in terms of organisational and clinical capability so that we can provide the relevant support for our community-based monastics in the long haul.

How can readers help ASDFL?

If you want to know more about our work, find us on Facebook, like and share. 

If you resonate with what we do and want to be involved, join us as a volunteer!

If you see a community-based Buddhist monastic living in your neighbourhood, tell them about ASDFL, and pass them our ASDFL Helpline 8341 9636, so that if they need our assistance, they can give us a call.  


ABOUT ASDFL

ASDFL (Aranya Sangha Dana Fellowship Limited) has a network of over 60 community-based Buddhist monastics and they operate a helpline for community-based Buddhist monastics requiring assistance.  ASDFL organises 10 annual events consisting of opportunities for laypersons to make offerings to the Community-based Sangha and closed-door activities specially catered to the biological, emotional and spiritual needs of our Buddhist monastics.

New to Poly? See our 2022 freshers guide for those seeking peace in the bustle of poly life

New to Poly? See our 2022 freshers guide for those seeking peace in the bustle of poly life

Known as the ‘lost generation‘, starting poly life can be both exciting and nerve-biting with so many things to choose from. Now that most CCA fiestas have cooled down, you can find different quiet spaces for you to grow and take a pause.

Find fellow friends that value peace and balance in all the chaos of the fast pace poly life in these 5 groups!

Here’s a handy guide to upcoming events that have been organised just for you!

Know someone who might benefit? Share this link with them:)

SPBS

Join SPBS Friendship with Freshies 27 Apr 4-6 pm on Zoom

Weekly Activities: Wednesday 4-6 pm

Zoom link will be sent via iChat email for those who have signed up as a member of SPBS

Missed the signup? Drop SPBS an email

Check out their Instagram for more updates!

NPBS

Say hello to NPBS during the E-CCA fiesta (18-29 posted on IG, sign up thru NPal), or join the E-Welcome Tea Party on 10 May via Zoom

Upcoming activities details (date/time, platform, sign up link) will be posted on NPBS IG, sent through email.

Weekly Dharma Sessions: Every Tuesday from 7-8pm on Zoom

Questions? Drop them an email!

NYPBS

Join the folks at NYP for an fresh start to your year with a welcome tea party on 29 May, 2-3pm, on Zoom

Want to just be in the loop? Click here or email them!

Want to see more? Follow their Insta

Not from poly or from RP/TP? Check out these two youth groups that will tickle the itch for finding like minded people as you venture into your next life stage!

Buddhist Fellowship Youth (BFY)

From doing kayak meditation to yoga, flower arrangements, and mini-meditation retreats, join BFY for their
weekly weekend activities!


Weekly Sessions: Saturday 3-5 pm
Never miss a beat on their activities by following their Instagram or their Telegram Channel. Psst! their Instagram has really awesome mental wellness content!

Singapore Buddhist Mission Youth (SBMY)

SBMY is famous for their camps, concerts, awesome talk series and more! Held on Saturday afternoons, jump in for a session of laughter and friendship.


Weekly Sessions: Saturday 2:30-4:30 pm (check their Instagram for any changes!) as they might just be at a
beach helping with a cleanup!


Never miss a beat by joining their email list!

3 Wise Lessons I Learnt From My Internship

3 Wise Lessons I Learnt From My Internship

TLDR: Internships are valuable opportunities for one to learn and grow. Every internship is different and there’s no need to compare. As great platforms for networking, internships can allow us to be bold and to speak out.

Internships have now become a rite of passage for university students. Lessons are learnt. White hair appears. Overtime (OT) drags. I was part of a challenging yet exciting project as an intern. Here’s what I did and my 3 takeaways.

During my internship, I worked for and with a group of solopreneurs – people who set up and run a business on their own- who were commissioned by the Chinese government to organize and host a regional China-ASEAN Startup competition. 

This competition aims to bring aspiring startups and established businesses across Southeast Asia (ASEAN) into the hub of Nanning. 

Being a politics and international affairs geek, I was excited to be a part of this project! 

This competition is one of the subsidiary events of the high-profile China-ASEAN EXPO, where state leaders of both regions regularly attend. This attachment was not your typical corporate internship. With my unique experience, I learnt not to compare with my fellow schoolmates. 

1. Comparison is the thief of joy  

It’s our human nature to compare. At times, comparisons encourage healthy competition and push us to improve. However, we must be careful of envy’s trap. 

When I was in my polytechnic days, I used to envy friends who secured internships with internationally renowned firms. I was dejected, demoralized and desperate when my applications were rejected.

I felt that opportunities were only reserved for the rich, bright and powerful. 

Little was I aware that I was a victim of the “three poisons” (Anger, Greed & Ignorance) and experienced Dukkha (Suffering). This cycle of anguish formed from Taṇhā (Craving) as I desired to conform to stereotypes and to be accepted as a contributing member of society. Thankfully, this mindset was all but in the past.

As I aged and gained wisdom from the Dhamma, I realised that interning with big firms does not necessarily mean that they are the right firms for us. 

These firms may mass employ undergraduates and drive more competition. However, interns may get less opportunity to learn and shine as the same ‘workload’ gets diluted with many other interns. 

Coupled with high expectations and added pressure, internships with these firms may not always be the thriving spot for some. I gleaned this insight from my friend’s experiences with global corporations.

Everyone learns at different speeds. In large firms, interns are often put together in a graduate program and expected to be on the same learning curve. 

I used to be a slow learner and appreciate colleagues giving me the time and space to find my feet. Working in a small group for my internship with the startup competition project, I could take adequate time to learn the ropes. With more confidence, I contributed more to the project. I had greater exposure and was able to learn more.

Every internship is different and each internship brings something different to the table. No one size fits all.

Some questions to ponder for those finding internships: Prestige or growth? Short-term or long-term? The questions help us recognize that no path is the same and it’s in our power to chart our path. Instead of comparing our internship experiences, we can focus on our learning journey and choose a firm with a culture that we stand to gain the most from.

2. Linkages – Our network is our net worth

The best part of an internship is the opportunity to network and establish links. Internships are not merely for us to gain exposure to the working world. 

As cliché as it sounds, our potential net worth is indeed determined by our network.

Internships present a valuable opportunity to speak to industry experts, high net-worth individuals, business leaders, and even government officials. 

From left: Remus, his work buddy, and his boss

I like having choices. An internship opens as many doors as possible. We never know which door will be open. For those of us considering a career switch, we could potentially chance upon someone in your desired industry during networking events.

For instance, my interest is to become a sinologist and this internship presented me with the opportunity to network with key Chinese government officials and intermediaries. Pushing boundaries, and seizing networking opportunities led to me meeting personnel from Alibaba Group, Chulalongkorn University, Startup founders among many others.

How do we network? 

Start with weak ties such as old friends in industries you are keen on or seniors from previous internships or acquaintances from networking events. 

We’d be surprised how many people say yes to small favours to connect with us. For the brave, you can try lunchclub.com (https://lunchclub.com/) which connects you to different like-minded people looking to network.

Networking helps expand’s one connection and creates potential opportunities to open more doors. However, it requires stepping out of the comfort zone which I know some may be fearful of. This brings me to the next lesson. 

3. Understanding Fear

Buddhism teaches us that all beings feel fear and anxiety. It’s normal to feel a sense of apprehension about joining a new firm or saying hi to strangers in networking sessions. 

Often, our nervousness, anxiety and fear engulf us, making us meek out. Having faith in our potential to learn and grow counters that fear with gradual confidence. Confidence is crucial even as an intern! There are benefits to honing our confidence. 

Being open and ready to speak out conveys our knowledge of your material. As an intern, speaking out establishes clear boundaries to co-workers and signals to others that we are not easy pushovers. 

By speaking up, we learn more and gain respect for being humble at learning. Internships are all about learning so it is alright to make mistakes. Be bold and optimistic rather than submit to the corporate hierarchical order. 

Remus (Second from left) & his team

Here, I am not endorsing interns step over authority! 

Rather, I believe we learn a whole lot more by speaking out (whenever necessary) since we stand to lose more opportunities to ask questions by staying quiet.

During my internship, I liaised with an external firm for creating marketing collateral. The firm assured us that the final product would align with our expectations. I suspected that the firm inferred our instructions differently and might produce something that’s below expectations and might cause delays. 

Recollecting the Buddha’s teaching of Ehipassiko – come and see for yourself or simply to investigate – overcame my fear of speaking out. True enough, upon further probing, my suspicions were proven true as there was indeed some misunderstanding. 

Beyond practising mindfulness we must also investigate before jumping to any conclusion. By doing so, we would not just seek the truth but also insulate ourselves from false accusations. 

It’s also crucial to be firm and speak up if we have any concerns. In normal circumstances, as an intern, I have limited right to speak out against leading marketing experts for an area where I have got no experience in. 

However, by knowing the project’s needs, in this case, the direction where the competition should be headed, I had the duty to manage these external stakeholders. 

The purpose of an internship is for you to learn. Thus, it’s important to step out of the comfort zone, be bold, not be fearful of making mistakes and always be ready to speak out. 

Through these lessons, I have grown to be a much happier and confident person. By not comparing, I was able to block out negative externalities and focus my time and energy on what matters. Doing so, I gained confidence and was able to expand my connections and overcome fear.  

These are my 3 takeaways from my experience as an intern. I hope this advice would provide you with some useful insights to gaining confidence and overcoming fear. 


Wise Steps:

  • Comparison is the thief of joy: Understand which internship path helps you to reach your learning goals
  • Build that networking muscles by reaching out to old friends in exciting industries or seniors from previous internships. Getting the first ‘hello’ is probably the hardest but most fulfilling step!
  • Know that dear friend fear. Countering it with knowledge, courage, and mindfulness can slowly decrease its grip on us
#WW: 👵🏻 Which part of you is living in the past?

#WW: 👵🏻 Which part of you is living in the past?

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

We often laugh at friends who do not know the latest trends/ Netflix movies/ social terms. However, we rarely think that we are ‘out-of-trend’. Today we explore how we can check on which part of us is still living in the past. To seek within and not outwards. Stay wise!

1. Are you operating on Windows 95?

2. Two monks carry a woman differently. What can we learn?

Are you operating on Windows 95?

flat screen computer monitor turned on
Unsplash

What’s going on here

Adam Grant, a famous writer who writes about work-life, shares a post about rethinking our opinions and views. We often laugh at others who are ‘outdated’ in the products, films, and services they use. However, we often miss looking in the mirror for the outdated opinions we hold.

Why we like it

Adam challenges us to look deeper by first forcing us to confront the values that we hold. His post provides a nice trigger for us to recollect on changing our views and even friendships to become a better version of ourselves!

“The best way to stay true to your values is to stay open to rethinking your views. What have you rethought lately?”

Wise Steps

Have a deep thought about what values you hold close to your heart. Is there a need to rethink them? What grudges do you hold that no longer serve you?

Read it here or below

Want to challenge your old beliefs? Grab his book here!

Two monks carry a woman differently. What can we learn?

body of water surrounded by trees
Unsplash

What’s going on here

Two monks meet a woman stranded at a raging river. The senior and junior monk makes their own decision on how to approach the lady. The video highlights clinging to form vs substance.

Why we like it

This short video makes us reflect on the principles behind why we walk the Buddhist path. To let go of our preconceptions of what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ and focus on the present moment of what needs to be done.

“The junior monk was carrying the burden of what the senior monk had done as an emotional baggage”

Wise Steps

Does something ‘trigger’ you no matter what the person’s intention? Reflect on what you are clinging so much to that it is worth giving up your happiness for.

Enjoy the video here or below!

Want to learn more about the art of letting go? Venerable Ajahn Chah’s book Food for the Heart might help!


“I lost my sense of smell.”: Turning to Dhamma when Covid strikes you

“I lost my sense of smell.”: Turning to Dhamma when Covid strikes you

TLDR: Learning to be okay with not feeling okay can help us recover better when an unexpected illness happens

It was during a meal that Celeste, in her 20s, began to feel some slight discomfort. Her throat was dry and her nose was runny after having Tom Yum soup.

At 4 am, Celeste confirmed that her discomfort was not from the Tom Yum but something worse.

Her test result showed she was positive for Covid-19. It was something that she never expected to contract as she had taken many precautions.

Fever and body ache struck her quickly. This shocked her as she assumed that after being fully vaccinated, and keeping a healthy lifestyle, it will pass like a breeze.

That was far from the truth as she entered Day 2 of home recovery.

Rotten food & rotten plans

Snapshot of the food that had no taste due to Covid

Celeste felt that being a swim coach, playing tennis & yoga, coupled with healthy eating would provide a strong trampoline for recovery on Day 2. Covid had other plans installed for her. It was not going away.

“I lost my sense of smell. Everything tasted like rotten food”, she recalled.

Fear arose when she Googled and found that some people stopped eating even after recovery as their sense of smell never recovered fully. They had lost interest in eating as it was no longer enjoyable.

There was also a very real possibility that she may end up in the 0.2% of infected vaccinated patients who died from the disease. 

The fear then morphed into self-blame for falling sick.

“I didn’t realise it was unkind until the anger and fear clouded my mind. It made me afraid of Dukkha (Suffering)”, she recalled.

Her meditation practise helped make her aware of the unnecessary self-criticism and blame she was laying on herself. However, the fear and anger grew in her mind.

Soothing Fear with Dhamma

As the fear paralysed Celeste, she decided to use piano music to calm herself as she lay in bed. However, the mental proliferations filled with fear did not go away.

She then recalled a playlist of talks recommended by her Dhamma friends from her young working adult Dhamma group (DAYWA). Being new to Buddhism, she was unfamiliar with whether it would help but decided to give the playlist a try.

“Be okay that you are not feeling okay”, Ajahn Brahm, the monk on the playlist, advised. This struck her hard.

She was always trying too hard to be healthy. Covid was something beyond her control. Despite being fully vaccinated, she still fell deeply sick. Acknowledging that it is okay to fall sick was a great relief to her heart and mind.

“90% of my worries never came through. I spent so much time worrying about things that never happen”, recalled Celeste as she was recovering.

After the one hour Dhamma talk, Celeste felt at ease and fell into a deep sleep.

Returning to senses

Celeste, having heard numerous mind-soothing episodes of Dhamma talks, was ready to accept a life of no smell. She reflected that she had taken her 5 senses for granted and realised that they did not belong to ‘us’ strictly as we could not command them as we like.

“We don’t own these senses, senses are merely borrowed. Not Mine, not myself.” she reflected.

Celeste was internalising and seeing first-hand what Buddha talked about non-self. We do not control our body and mind as much we would love to. For if our body was fully ours, it wouldn’t lead to dissatisfaction and we would have full control. 

This brought to mind Buddha’s teaching to monks in the following dialogue:

What do you think, monks? Is form (body) permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, sir.”

“But if it’s impermanent, is it suffering or happiness?”

“Suffering, sir.”

“But if it’s impermanent, suffering, and perishable, is it fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, I am this, this is my self’?”

“No, sir.”

As Celeste was coming to peace with her lack of smell senses, it came back to her. She was beginning on her upward path to recovery.

Associating with the kind

As she slowly recovered, she found that body aches and pain remained. However, she avoided the trap of feeling unhappy with her body.

“Wanting things to be perfect feed the monster within you. Pain reminds you that your body is not perfect…and that’s okay”, Celeste shared.

Beyond the Dhamma talks, her loved ones were pivotal in lifting her towards full recovery.

Her in-laws delivered her favourite vegetables that she loved to eat even when the Delta variant was a real threat to their health. Her yoga friends delivered herbal tea and cooked for her.

This difficult period also made her appreciate her husband more (who was also infected and had to be hospitalised). Life and death became very real for her when her husband heart rate dropped drastically which landed him in the hospital as she lay at home infected with Covid.

“These moments made me count my blessings and not take them (loved ones) for granted”,  Celeste recalled.

Life lessons from covid

This episode made Celeste rethink the way she was living her life. She decided to cut down on some overindulgence she was partaking in, such as midnight movies and sleeping late. Maintaining health was a crucial component of her life that she wanted to strengthen. 

She then aspired to dedicate more time and consistency to her meditation practice which tide her over this tough period. She found herself meditating less when times were going good for her and hence, aspires to build a consistent habit of meditating regardless of the times.

“Be patient and be unafraid” she advised those who may face such an unexpected infection.

“For your friends infected with Covid, ask them how you can help them. Delivering food and checking in on them really lifts their spirits”, she encouraged.

In our darkest and lowest times, recollecting the Dhamma is one way to rest our minds at peace. This allows our body and mind to be okay at being not okay, paving the way for deeper healing.


Wise Steps:

  • Create a playlist of your favourite Dhamma talks that you can listen to in times of trouble
  • Every hardship we face is an opportunity for us to turn towards the truths of life or remain in our perceived truths of life
#WW: 😪Your empathy is not enough

#WW: 😪Your empathy is not enough

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’s Day! Before we touch on today’s topic, we like to share this awesome event where inspiring ladies from the Buddhist Scene share their stories of nurturing🥺 Check it out here

We often talk about the need for more empathy at the workplace. It is necessary but not enough. We start with empathy as leaders but need to move further into compassion. A compassionate family & workplace can uplift one another through these tough times. We tap on Khandro Rinpoche’s wisdom in learning how to build our compassion

1. As a leader, stop saying “I feel for you”. Try this instead

2. How to develop compassion? A cup of tea is the first step

As a leader, stop saying “I feel for you”. Try this instead

What’s going on here

Havard Business Review article on “Connecting with Empathy and Leading with Compassion” shares how empathetic leadership is not enough. It covers the differences between empathy & compassion and why empathy hijack is a real issue.

Why we like it

The super actionable article is one that you can apply at work/home immediately. We are often stuck when someone tells us that they are going through a hard time. To say “I feel for you” may seem enough for us but inadequate to the suffering person.

Some tips we liked from the article:

  1. Take a mental and emotional step away
  2. Ask what they need
  3. Remember the power of non-action
  4. Coach the person so they can find their own solution
  5. Practice self-care

“Leaders are generally good at getting stuff done. But when it comes to people having challenges, it is important to remember that in many instances people do not need your solutions; they need your ear and your caring presence.”

Wise Steps

Don’t get empathetic hijacked! Take a step back to get a bigger perspective of the situation. That will give you energy and clarity on how to help the person (or figure out that non-action is best!)

Read it here

How to develop compassion? A cup of tea is the first step

white and brown ceramic teapot on wooden tray

What’s going on here

How do we develop compassion for people who ‘don’t deserve it’? How do we even start with ourselves? Khandro Rinpoche, the author of This Precious Life, shares that developing compassion for others starts by reflecting on the goodness we have already received from others.

Why we like it

Khandro Rinpoche shares the opposite of how we expect developing compassion to be. We expect compassion towards others to start with others. She challenges us to go inwards before we develop compassion for others.

This short 4 mins video is music to our ears as we live in a world that is constantly seeking outwards.

“That’s what makes compassion and the practice of compassion difficult. It’s because we think we are an individual, unattached and not in any way related or connected to others”

Wise Steps

The next time someone pours you tea/coffee/bubble tea, reflect on all the positive conditions and people that led you to enjoy that drink.

Enjoy the video!