Happy New Year: 2011

Whew! 2010 was a very busy year.

After resigning my day job in November 2009 to go “freelance”, I was very nervous about little things like staying busy and paying rent. The recession was at it’s worst, and the salesman/CEO at my day job was having trouble making sales. No sales equals no work for me equals no salary. But an opportunity opened up for me in the self-employment arena, and I went for it. (Things couldn’t get much worse, so I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose, quite honestly.)

What a difference a year makes! I’ve had as much print and web work in 2010 as I could handle. Additionally, I did some travelling: I spent a week in October working a conference in Orlando, FL, and I spent a week in Memphis, TN, working on a major web project, meeting with some clients, and visiting some old friends, too.

So 2010 has been very good to me. I’ve produced a great deal of work for a wide variety of clients, both print and web, and really I couldn’t be much happier.

On a personal note, living in Los Angeles doesn’t feel as alien as it did in 2009. When I was in Memphis a few weeks ago, that visit did feel like coming home again — I’m not originally from Memphis, but lived there for 22 years. The weather in LA is fantastic most of the time. And working from home has been such a pleasant experience — I love the flexibility and control over my schedule versus working out of an office.

I’m very thankful for 2010. If 2011 is just like 2010, I’ll be ecstatic.

One year later

I’ve been in Los Angeles for about a year now. Who’s bright idea was it to relocate at the lowest point in the DOW? (This chart shows the last 5 years.)

Charter for Compassion

On February 28, 2008, author Karen Armstrong was awarded the TED Prize. During her acceptance speech, she called on the TED community to help build a Charter for Compassion — to restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.

On October 5, 2009, I wrote this Meditation on the Golden Rule, in part inspired by Karen Armstrong’s TED speech.

Today, November 15, 2009, charterforcompassion.org went live.

I encourage anyone reading this to visit charterforcompassion.org and affirm the charter for yourself.

A call to bring the world together…

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.