“What am I going to do today to care for others, self, and the earth?”.
It’s a question Lesa Walker asks herself every morning when she wakes up.
For Lesa, it’s all about practicing compassion, an effort she’s dedicated her life to.
Lesa is the founder of Compassionate Austin, a grassroots movement dedicated to promoting, strengthening, and celebrating compassionate action right here in Austin, Texas.
Their latest initiative is the Compassionate Austin Co-op… and they’re looking for members.
What’s the Compassionate Austin Co-op?
The co-op is a collective of individuals and organizations (non-profits/businesses/schools/faith communities/civic groups/social activists/design-thinkers/musicians/ artists/youth groups, etc.) committed to promoting “3D compassionate action” (caring for others, self, and the earth) in the Austin community.
Joining the Compassionate Austin Co-op is free. All that members have to do is:
- Practice compassionate actions in their personal and work lives
- Participate in a Compassionate Austin Offers & Needs Market at least once a year
What’s an Offers & Needs Market?
The Offers & Needs Market is a 90-minute process where co-op members come together to identify and exchange their passions, knowledge, skills, resources, and needs. Think of it kind of like a live Craigslist event. It’s an opportunity for people, businesses, and organizations to come together to trade and share things like:
- Photography/videography skills
- Graphic design help
- Meeting space
- Volunteer hours
- Food/drink for events
Austin’s first Offers & Needs Market will be held on Sunday, March 31st from 5pm to 6:30pm during the New Story Festival on the campus of Huston-Tillotson University. Co-op members can attend the Offers & Needs Market for free.
And that’s not all! Co-op organizational members will also receive a pass to attend the entire New Story Festival for free. (Tickets to the New Story Festival are usually $249, so it’s a pretty good deal. Just remember to sign up before the end of the day on March 22nd in order to guarantee your free festival ticket.) Individuals who sign up for the co-op (not on behalf of any organization), will receive either a 1-day free festival pass or a 30 percent discount code for their 3-day pass.
What’s the New Story Festival?
The New Story Festival is “an annual celebration of community, creativity, and the common good with music and art, spirituality and social action, big ideas and playful connection, for better lives and a better world.”
The 3-day event (taking place from March 29th to March 31st) will feature a wide array of workshops, guest speakers, and live music performances covering topics like wellness, spirituality, the environment, social justice, and storytelling. Charles Eisenstein (author of “Climate: A New Story”) will be one of the headliners.
How to practice compassion
Especially in today’s hyper-partisan and increasingly segmented world, Lesa says that now is the time for compassion.
“Everybody is different,” Lesa explained in an AEN interview. “And everybody is their own person. And grouping does nothing but separate us. So avoid the language that groups, avoid the language that disparages, and look at people as wonderful opportunities to get to know.”
So how do you do that? Lesa says that when you meet people you should ask, “…what can we find there that’s common? What can we build on? What can we give to each other that’s beneficial? How can we grow it?
And to me that’s what the [offers & needs] market is.”