Saturday, October 1, 2011


When I do workshops with adults, and children, we often play a game called the Commonalities Game (from the Big Book of Team Building Games). Everyone chooses a partner, someone they do not know very well, and with a timer set for 2 minutes each couple has to write down everything they have in common with each other. It is incredibly fun, and a great way to get people to start thinking about how much we have in common rather than what separates us. In one workshop I had a 19 year old exchange student from Scotland paired with an elderly Sikh gentleman from Mississauga (Ontario)- they hold the record, with 37 things in common in two minutes. I'm still in awe. The other participants gave them a round of applause. I gave them dakbands :)

However, I recently came across another commonalities exercise from Ode Magazine in an article entitled, "Love thy neighbour, for he is me." The article speaks of the emotional and physical wisdom of being a good Samaritan, or altruist. The definition of an altruist is someone who is unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others. Apparently altruists are healthier than those who are not. In an effort to practice compassion, to recognize how simple gestures of kindness unite us in our humanity, try (as the article suggests) this five step exercise when you see someone who attracts your attention:

With your attention geared to the other person, tell yourself:

Step 1: “Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.”

Step 2: “Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.”

Step 3: “Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.”

Step 4: “Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.”

Step 5: “Just like me, this person is learning about life.”

Then give them a dakband and ask them to pass it on.

As you watch this video, go through the exercise above, only ask yourself, how you can be more like him.......

Homeless Chicago Man Donates Thousands to Down-On-Her-Luck Banker:

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