About this course
Growing Words of Compassion:
Nature and Writing Practices to Love By
Author: Dr. Jennifer J. Wilhoit
Opens for Registration: Ongoing
Course Length: Four weeks online, with new lessons delivered weekly
Fee: $ 65. USD
Refund Policy: For six days after payment, 50% refund. No refunds thereafter.
This hands-on, multidisciplinary course will help students engage with their innate capacity for tender compassion. The curriculum is designed to meet each student where he or she currently is in the understanding and practice of compassion; deepening one’s expressionof compassion is the primary focus. The four areas we will cover include: writing for compassion; nature for compassion; gratitude’s role in compassion; and the creation of a symbolic toolbox of images, words, and objects as touchstones of compassion practice. Students will be asked to delve deeply into their individual process and ways of seeing themselves. They will also be guided to explore their relationship to difference, “the perceived other,” and how to offer compassion in difficult situations. Using a variety of creative, educational, and ecological tools, participants will deepen their relationship to their own heart of compassion. There is a strong emphasis on writing as well as exercises/activities to be completed out in nature. Students will also explore online resources, read articles, create symbols for compassionate action, and have a chance to reflect on their process and the resources provided. Assignments are designed to guide students toward an embodied practice of compassion that deepens in their lives long after the course has concluded.
You might be interested in taking this course if:
- You feel weighed down by the violence and strife in the world.
- You want to be a source of greater peace and compassion.
- You hope to learn how to offer love rather than adding aggression to situations in your life.
- You want practical tools for creating and being compassion.
- You want to hone compassionate skills that you can use in any situation.
- You want to explore how writing can aid in compassion.
- You want to understand what the natural world has to do with fostering compassion.
- You enjoy new experiences and want to learn through doing.
- You are interested in an ongoing practice of compassion that you can use long after the course ends.
One student said about the course: "Five stars = Excellent. I am grateful to have had the time to spend on this course. It helped me to see how I am already a compassionate human being ... and how I can move forward to be even more so." (PW of Florida, USA 2017)
Week One: The Role and Practice of Writing for Insight©, Writing as Rite©, Writing for Outcome© as Practices to Build Compassion
Some of the topics for this week include: building the structure for the course, learning and practicing compassion-based writing techniques that are foundational for subsequent lessons, and reading examples of compassion-based writing practices. The instructor will be available throughout the course to answer questions, add content to discussions, offer prompts or clarifications as the students navigate the course, and to receive emails from individual students as desired or necessary.
Week Two: Breaking Down Barriers of What We See as “Other” by Finding Our Human Nature as Connected with Ecological Nature
Topics for week two include: difference and other, ecological metaphors for compassion, nature practices, as well as readings and webinars to support the coursework.
Week Three: The Role of Gratitude in Building Self-Compassion
The third week of the course immerses students in self-compassion in addition to gratitude practices and ideology using online links, readings, and gratefulness practices.
Week Four: Building the Toolbox and Gently Tying Up Loose Ends
In this last segment of the class, students will be guided through a process for building a “toolbox” of practices to support their ongoing compassion work beyond the confines of the course. Finally, a few supporting topics are offered (such as “courage” in compassion) and an opportunity for students to share what they’ve learned with one another in the spirit of community-building.
Every week students receive multiple ways to engage the material, including finding their own way of individualizing the practices for their particular life circumstances. Many activities in the course offer a question, prompt, or concept for deepened reflection and critical thinking.
How the Course Works
- The five lessons of Growing Words of Compassion: Nature and Writing Practices to Love By are completely online and offer downloadable readings; easily-accessible links; loads of inspirational images; as well as simple, flexible, basic prompts and practices that each student can adapt to his/her unique situation.
- As long as a student has an Internet connection and has registered for the course, s/he can log in and complete lessons week by week.
- It would benefit each student to have paper and pens ready for each lesson, to have an easy-to-access outdoor space to practice the nature activities, and to bring to the course a big-hearted willingness to explore multiple modes of expression.
Included in the course are:
- Access to that week’s lesson and activities 24-hours a day.
- Access to all prior lessons for review or re-engagement.
- Ongoing access to all online linked resources offered in the course.
- Downloadable readings.
- Five lessons comprised of more than forty activities.
- Exercises, prompts, and practices that students are encouraged to use on a daily or weekly basis indefinitely in order to grow a deeper expression of compassion in the world.
- Beautiful images to use as inspiration for writing, creative, and nature-based compassion practices.
- A self-designed toolbox from which students can draw for ongoing compassion practice into the future.
Benefits of the Course
- Gentle concepts
- Predominant focus on behaving compassionately
- Tangible ways to express compassion
- Multidisciplinary approaches to content
- “Start where you are” practices
- Less emphasis on standardized (objective) achievement
- Greater emphasis on fluidity, process, moving deeper
- Opportunities to challenge oneself
- Opportunities to engage creatively
"Five stars. This has been such a pleasure. I thought that building the toolbox took a long time but it was worth it. Many of the practises really had a deeper effect on me than I thought they would. Connecting with nature in this way was profound. The things we wrote about and the questions you asked allowed me to dig deep." (BDG of Iceland 2017)
"Five stars. Your course came just at the right time. I enjoyed reading your essays. This course introduced me to the idea of self compassion. I loved my times in nature and finding little treasures. It was a time of self compassion. I also learned through this course how to step away from what I think someone needs and stop to really listen to [them]. I will look out for another such class." (MK of USA 2017)
Jennifer J. Wilhoit, PhD is a published author, spiritual ecologist, research scholar, editor, writing mentor, hospice/bereavement volunteer, life and nature guide, consultant, and peacemaker. She has designed, implemented, and taught interdisciplinary curricula in a variety of subjects for all levels including graduate (MA and PhD) courses. Her books, articles, and blogs focus on the human/nature relationship - what she calls “the inner/outer landscape.” She founded TEALarbor stories through which she compassionately mentors writers, facilitates story & nature guiding experiences, supports people in life transition, consults, & mediates conflicts. In addition to her one-on-one work with clients, Jennifer also offers presentations, workshops, and retreats. She is a partner with the Charter for Compassion. Jennifer was honored to present her compassionate nature and spirit writing practices at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions. When she is not writing or working, she spends time hiking and making beauty in natural landscapes, reading, traveling (internationally, as often as possible), and dabbling in creative arts. Jennifer’s soul thrives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest landscape where she lives.
PhD: Environmental Studies (Crafts Coops & Protected Areas)
MA: Education (Intercultural, Environmental Group Learning)
BA: Liberal Arts (Ecology & Spirituality, Special Education, Spanish)
Founder/Private Practice; Spiritual Ecologist; Published Author; Peacemaker
Mentor, Editor, Consultant, Faculty, Environmental Researcher, Speaker, Conflict Coach/Support, Inner/Outer Landscape Guide, Wilderness Guide Assistant
Writing & Reading, Ecology, Arts & Creativity, Compassion, Community Service, Hospice, Photography, Spirituality, Travel