Gina Stepp has a master's degree in forensic psychology with an emphasis on trauma and resilience. As family and relationships editor for Vision, she examines the role interpersonal connection plays in ensuring human well-being.
Marc Ian Barasch's new book, The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness, is scheduled to hit the bookshelves in June. A Yale graduate and award-winning author and television producer, Barasch is also founder of the Green World Campaign, a charity working to "reforest our planet, raise the living standards of the rural poor, and combat global climate change."
If Barasch seems to have special insight into the human psyche, there is good reason. A former editor for Psychology Today, among other publications, psychology was one of his foremost areas of study at Yale. He was also one of the founding members of the psychology department at Colorado's Naropa University.
“Compassion isn’t simply opening a spigot and coating everything in a treacly, all-purpose goo,” says Barasch. “It requires a gut hunch that whatever I do unto others, I do unto myself. It calls for appreciating not only what comforts us but what pierces us. (Compassion comes from the Latin cum patior, ‘to suffer with,’ while apathy—literally, ‘not to suffer’—connotes a heart benumbed).”
While The Compassionate Life applies this philosophy mainly to human relationships, Barasch also applies it to environmental ethics, both in the book's epilogue as well as within his own sphere. Indeed, for each book sold, he has pledged a contribution to the planting of trees (on degraded village land within the developing world) in conjunction with the Green World Campaign.
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