In the rush of your daily life, there are probably moments — even days and weeks — when you forget what’s truly important.
This ten letter alphabet list, developed by Dr. James H. Doty, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford, is a simple way to stay connected to what matters.
C for Compassion.
Open your heart for yourself and others.
D for Dignity.
Recognize the dignity of every human being.
E for Equanimity.
While acknowledging the ups and downs, try to find an even keel.
F for Forgiveness.
Seek forgiveness from those you have failed and those who have failed you.
G for Gratitude.
Keep in the front of your mind gratitude for all that you have.
H for Humility.
Remember that you are no better and no worse than others you encounter.
I for Integrity.
Value honesty and integrity and use it to guide your actions.
J for Justice.
Acknowledge your obligations in context of social justice.
K for Kindness.
Be kind to yourself and to others.
L for Love.
Let your heart be open to love from within yourself and from others.
I was fortunate to hear Dr. Doty share this alphabet list at the Nonprofit Management Institute conference, Pioneering Change in our Networked World. After a heart-warming talk, he offered this list in response to a question from an audience member about how he stays open-hearted even though he must be unemotional and detached as a surgeon. Note: I have paraphrased Dr. Doty’s comments in the sentence under each letter. They are not verbatim.
Recite the Alphabet List C through L Every Day This Week
Try reciting this easy-to-remember list in the midst of your busy day as a way of triggering your more caring side.
Neurosurgeon, Dr. James Doty, often recites this list to himself to help integrate his highly disciplined and unemotional practice as a neurosurgeon with his humanity. Perhaps it can help you, too.
What simple methods do you use to connect to your heart? Share them in the comments.
Dr. Doty is a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and Director of the Center for the Study of Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. The website for Building a Culture of Empathy includes several videos from this remarkable man. You can also read his article The Science of Compassion in the Huffington Post.