Growing Words of Compassion: Nature and Writing Practices to Love By

Growing Words of Compassion: Nature and Writing Practices to Love By


A Curriculum for CEI

Author: Dr. Jennifer J. Wilhoit

Open for Registration: Starting June 21, 2017

Course Start Date: July 9, 2017

Course End Date: August 5, 2017

Course Length: Four Weeks Online, with new lessons delivered weekly

Fee: $ 99.

Register here!

Why You Might Be Interested in Taking this Course:

  • 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.


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 expression of 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.

Course Detail

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 a 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. Most activities in the course offer a question, prompt, or concept for whole-group discussion and sharing; learning from one another and creating shared knowledge are important aspects of this online course.

How the Course Works

  • The four 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 on the start date and complete lessons and activities 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 during the four-week open-course window.
  • Ongoing access to all online linked resources offered in the course – even after the course concludes.
  • Downloadable readings for review after the course is over.
  • Four lessons that should take students at least an hour to become familiarized with.
  • 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 continuous 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

jenniferwCourse facilitation by Jennifer J. Wilhoit, PhD

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. 

Bio Sketch

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

Relevant Experience
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

Check out all that the Charter for Compassion Education Institute has to offer! All courses are listed here.

About Us

  • charter brand transp blue mediumCharter for Compassion provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Our mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.


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