Many people are working to realize a more courageous, caring and equitable world. Some focus on providing tools for personal development, preparing activists, caring professionals and others to flourish and thrive in their work. Others focus on providing tools for social transformation, offering individuals, institutions and organizations skills and training to transform complex systems.
Our team at Courage of Care sees tremendous power and potential in integrating these two approaches. We offer deep compassion-based contemplative training coupled with tools for critically assessing and transforming systems.
Although it may seem intuitive to unite approaches that focus on personal and social transformation, they often have proceeded independently of one another.
Many modern contemplative trainings offer methods for self-care and stress-management. But without a critical analysis of the social, cultural and historical conditions in which we are embedded, contemplative programs may at best not realize their full potential. At worst, if biases and privileges remain unchecked, contemplative programs may end up perpetuating the very structures and systems that cause or exacerbate the stress and suffering they aim to transform.
Critical social and systemic analyses are essential to human freedom and flourishing, as they help us investigate, uncover and transform inequitable and unjust processes and systems that inhibit our potential for growth. Yet if individuals engaged in changing systems do not regularly cultivate their own personal capacities for care and compassion, they may end up inadvertently recreating the very structures of violence and oppression they wish to dismantle.
Our approach therefore aims to help us all learn how to more effectively empower those we serve, and to challenge oppressive social structures that hold back those we serve, by helping us develop our capacities for personal and social transformation.
What We Do
We offer online courses, in-person workshops and retreats and regional trainings to support individuals, communities and organizations develop their capacity to strengthen and sustain compassionate systems. Our team also offers specialized programs for educators, social workers, health professionals, interfaith leaders and clergy.
Who We Serve
We acknowledge the reality of the toll that social justice work can have on people and organizations, including physical and emotional stress and exhaustion, poor physical health, and low work morale, ethical lapses and organizational dysfunction. To do this work often means to encounter violence, poverty, and all the ills that comprise human suffering.
Part of the challenges are systemic, Dominant cultural paradigms have yet to provide practical and effective tools for how helping professionals are to sustain themselves in this work, thereby perpetuating the belief that burnout is an inherent part of doing the job – a defacto occupational hazard.
We believe that all beings are endowed with tremendous and tireless capacity for care, compassion, and good; and that with wisdom, these gifts can be shared with others in sustainable and sustaining, rather than debilitating and draining, ways. We provide concrete practices and skills, including meditation and peer support, to both heal and evoke this deep potential in all, achieving sustainability and balance in social justice work.
Caring relationships are at the heart of education. Sustainable Compassionate Education is a comprehensive framework that integrates current research in neuroscience, social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and developmental and social psychology. This approach aims to support educators in deepening their capacity for care and connection in order that they might: avoid burnout, enhance well being, and nurture relationships.
We also provide educators with training in the basics of systems thinking and community organizing. Our goal is to help cultivate the tools needed for both personal and social transformation. We empower educators with the personal tools to face inequity and oppression and the systemic tools to organize their communities toward more compassionate and equitable stances.
We affirm that the power of care and the practice of compassion are core values across the spectrum of the healthcare professions. Our aim is to empower healthcare providers to deliver the best that their training has to offer with a deep commitment to compassion for themselves and those they serve.
Healthcare delivery is equally an art and a science. Both of these aspects are inspired by a power of care that seeks to support the optimal physical and mental well being of others.
Currently, there are significant challenges for healthcare professionals worldwide. We aim to deepen our commitment to manifesting a power of care that drives all of our healthcare efforts, to inspire application of our creativity to the best and broadest solutions for the benefit of all in need and to support the confrontation of injustices in the healthcare delivery system with deep care for all involved.
We regard interfaith learning as a crucial aspect of spiritual development in this pluralistic world, and essential to foster mutual appreciation and care among diverse faiths and traditions.
Many in social service are called to and sustained in their work by their religious or spiritual practice. Yet very often, people in service are asked to bracket their beliefs in practices in professional settings.
Caring for others and our world requires a lot of commitment and motivation. To support such commitment, religious people may need to be informed by their own religion’s understandings of spiritual source(s) and practices of care and compassion. Those without religious or spiritual practice may benefit from learning from and through the world's diverse traditions of cultivating care and compassion for their own development and for the support of those they serve.
Our children are our future. We are inspired by the many young adult leaders rising up and organizing to meet the needs of their communities.
We currently offer programs to empower teens with the tools and knowledge to effect deep personal change, mentor and motivate their peers, and organize for effective institutional and social change.
We have much to learn from our youth and are thus committed to collaborative partnerships to support our ongoing learning for the betterment of our world and generations to come.