Cultivating Aliveness

Cultivating Aliveness

In this workshop with storyteller, teacher, and spiritual activist, Fabiana Fondevila, we explore practices to cultivate lasting vitality in daily life, empowering us to relate better to afflictive states and improve our wellbeing.

The Global Compassion Coalition is a collective movement striving to create a world where both people and nature are cared for and thrive. We aim to alleviate suffering and promote human flourishing by fostering compassionate thinking, feeling, and action. Join us in our mission to build a world based on compassion.

Sings the River

Sings the River

Sings the River

“There is a force within you that gives you life – seek that.”


Ebbs and flows, forward motion, depth, meandering course, unceasing change: it’s no wonder musicians, writers, philosophers and preachers have seen in rivers a rich metaphor for life. Its dynamism mirrors the life force that pushes the tides, drives salmon to swim upstream to spawn, makes clouds erupt in downpour when the atmosphere reaches its peak and encourages dandelions to break through a crack in the pavement to release its seeds into the wind.

In humans this force expresses itself in even more mysterious ways. It’s the energy that drives us to discover continents, explore the bottom of the ocean, expel ourselves from the only planet we know, create poems and murals and symphonies, open our hearts a thousand times, unfold and grow, and also, in dark times, to get out of bed and face a new day.

Wisdom traditions gave this Mystery its name. Hinduism called it prana (“vital principle”), Chinese medicine postulated chi, the raw material of health and vitality, and Tao (supreme principle that brings order and unity to the universe). In America it was k’uh, among the Mayas; camaquen, among the Incas. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French philosopher Henri Bergson baptized it élan vital.

Medicine and psychology speak of “vitality,” a virtue expressed as vigorous enthusiasm for life, and one of the five character strengths most closely associated with life satisfaction (the other four are hope, gratitude, curiosity and love).

Vitality has been increasingly studied over the last few years, because research reveals that it is a key component of health, longevity, immunity, and the quality of relationships.

Being alive is a biological fact, but feeling fully alive is a state of being. We all experience moments of vitality, moments of feeling the river of life flowing through our body and heart. If we consciously cultivate this state, if we string together living moments like beads on a necklace, this state can gradually become our baseline; a new personality trait.

To expand, strengthen and cultivate these states, we will turn to a powerful technique called “mythic imagination”. What is mythic imagination? It’s the ability to create, interpret and connect with mythic stories and symbols, ancient narratives that express profound truths about the nature of life.

The mythic imagination is inherently creative and opens a portal for self-discovery, personal growth and transformation.

In the journey we will take together, we will explore ten “Archetypes of Aliveness”. An archetype is an image that lives in the Collective Unconscious, and that drives impulses, emotions and energy. Although it’s represented in different ways in each culture, its essence speaks to us all.

We will use a kaleidoscope – an “artifact to look at beautiful things”-, which we will rotate to focus on one archetype at a time.

Each month, we will explore one figure experientially; from the Cosmonaut to the Sage. We will look through their eyes, unfold their gifts, soak in their energy, and use it to ignite the specific and unique transformation that eagerly awaits in each of our hearts.

Archetypes of Aliveness:

1. CosmonautsLiving in infinity
2. Wild OnesLiving with freedom
3. AdventurersLiving with risk
4. MysticsLiving with presence
5. HeroesLiving with courage
6. DancersLiving with sensuality
7. ChildrenLiving with delight
8. CreatorsLiving with imagination
9. Wise OnesLiving with humility
10. Lovers Living in love

Said the brave Helen Keller:
“Life is a bold adventure, or it is nothing.”

So be it!

Let’s say a resounding “Yes” to the adventure of our lives, together!


March 30th, 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST / 5 PM GMT


One monthly online session, through Zoom. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.


U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address:

Sign up here!

    Have a Joyful and Grateful 2024!

    Calendar 2024 - Cultivating Joy

    We’re happy to offer you this Calendar, inspired on Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book “Joyful”, with the additions of two virtues -Hope and Gratitude- for added reflection.

    You can use it on your phone or computer, without printing it.

    If you decide to print it, you can do so front and back, and it doesn’t need to be in color. If you choose to fasten it, we suggest you do so from the top edge. It’s designed for A4 paper size, but it looks great in A5 as well.

    Carry it with you, take notes, and let inspiration fill your days!

    May it be a faithful companion!

    Download the calendar

      Sings the River!

      Gratefulness: The Master Key to Vitality

      Choose Aliveness! -Giving thanks

      “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is being grateful that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift,” says the wise and luminous Brother David Steindl-Rast.

      But gratitude is much more than a path to wellbeing and joy, it is a true potion of aliveness!

      If being alive is a biological fact, feeling alive is a choice. And practicing daily gratitude is a way to experience each moment with fullness of body, mind, heart and soul.

      What does it mean to “practice gratitude”?

      As we will see in a session chock-full of practices, gratefulness is much more than just saying “thank you” when something good happens. Its invitation is broad and deep; nothing less than a summons to transform the very essence of our lives.

      If you’re keen to begin 2024 by sowing seeds of vitality and a joyful intimacy with life, I invite you to join us!

      We look forward to seeing you! 🤸🏻‍♀️

      When: December 6th, 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST / 5 PM GMT

      Format: Online. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.

      Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address:

      Sign up here!

        Choose Aliveness! - Be The Sun!

        Be the Sun!

        Choose Aliveness! - Be The Sun!

        The “elated” emotions such as joy, enthusiasm, hope, and even ecstasy, are often seen as pleasurable distractions fro real life, with its myriad demands, frustrations and sorrows. It is understandable that we think this way, as it’s what we’ve been taught, and what has been largely espoused by religions, philosophical traditions and, until recently, science.
        But thinking this way is not without consequence: it offers us a truncated vision of life and robs us of a rich store of experiences, hopes and aspirations.
        This Saturday’s workshop will counter this by exploring a treasure trove of practices to root our days in a more complete, truthful and luminous palette. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it”, said the radiant Diane Ackerman. “I want to have lived the width of it as well.”
        Format: Online. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.
        Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address:

        Sign up here!

          Living a life of vibrant aliveness

          Living a life of vibrant aliveness

          Global Compassion Coalition

          Join Argentine author and activist Fabiana Fondevila as she discusses with GCC President Dr. Rick Hanson how living a life of radical engagement can be our gift to the world. Fabiana is the author of “Where Wonder Lives. Practices for Cultivating the Sacred in Everyday Life”, and a forthcoming book about inner and outer vitality. She proposes that we can tend to the urgent needs of our time by participating with joy and compassion in the issues that are most pressing to us.

          When: Tuesday, 19th December 2023. 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm UK / 8pm SAST / 11:30pm IST
          Format: Online / Free.

          Choose Aliveness! - Say Yes!

          Say Yes!

          Choose Aliveness! - Say Yes!

          “There is only one life
          that you can call your own
          and a thousand others you can call
          by any name you like.”

          David Whyte

          We talk a lot about “purpose”, but we don’t always mean the same thing. Usually, the word refers to a mixture of vocational, social, political or religious goals or intentions. But there is in this word, in this archetype, a deeper, older, more essential meaning.

          In this session we will explore the “ecological niche” that each of us came into this world to fill, the ways in which we are already occupying it, and the possibility of doing so each day with increasing excitement, meaning and fulfillment.

          We look forward to diving into this 8th Key to Vitality: purpose as a question, purpose as an answer!

          Format: Online. You will receive the audio, video and notes to keep for a lifetime.

          Tuition: U$D 30 to $ 50. Choose your donation according to possibility, and in relation to the value you feel you receive. You can make the payment via Paypal, to the following address:

          Sign up here!

            The deep heart of humanity

            Dark Elegy, Suse Lowenstein

            In these days of grief and astonishment, we may be tempted to seek refuge. To look the other way, to change the channel, to think that we are far away and, anyway, what could we do? To want to flee from anguish is human; it is more human to choose to harbor it, and to avoid the easy shortcut of cynicism.

            It is not easy to live in a world where atrocities like the ones we have witnessed these days can take place. But the risk of giving in to despair or disengagement is too great.

            A few years ago I interviewed the pacifist and international mediator Scilla Elworthy, founder of the Oxford Research Group, an NGO she created in 1982 to establish a dialogue between the world’s nuclear weapons policy makers and their critics, for which she received three Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

            Our conversation stayed with me. Scilla pointed out in no uncertain terms the importance of the “human factor” in helping to resolve long-standing, seemingly intractable conflicts. Above all, to be able to listen to the emotions and needs behind the other’s positions and claims, and for the other to be able to listen ours. This seemingly simple proposition requires enormous courage, and a determined commitment to our common humanity.

            She told me about activists like Pakistan’s Gulalai Ismail, who together with other courageous youths, through the Youth Peace Ambassadors, managed to disarm almost 200 young suicide bombers by seeking them out in their villages and talking to them, with an open and respectful disposition.

            Scilla stresses the role of women in peace negotiations: “Women consult with the victims of war – the teenage orphans, the mothers of the disappeared, the starving widows in destroyed homes – to bring their concerns, which would otherwise go unnoticed, to the table”, she says. “They emphasize needs over ‘bottom lines’; e.g. they insist on attention to re-hab of the wounded, PTSD, care of war orphans, burial of the dead.  This is why involving women in peace negotiations lowers the likelihood of conflict resurgence, and invites the participation of the population as a whole.”

            In fact, she shared, “A statistical analysis of 182 signed peace agreements between 1989 and 2011 revealed that peace agreements where women are involved are 35% more likely to last for fifteen years.”

            Sadly, peace negotiations or agreements are nowhere in sight? We live in the arms of heartbreak: aching for the lives atrociously cut short; holding our breath for the hostages and what they must be living through; fearing for the suffering of on both sides that will surely grow like a cancer with the escalation to come.

            Why, then, talk about women and their protective impulse?

            Because the fierce loyalty that was born millenia ago, in the light of the maternal-filial bond, among ancestors so remote that they did not even have a name, remains a beacon for humanity.

            The beacon of compassion does not belong to one gender, to one nation, to one class of people. It knows of no causes nor enmities: all children are its children; all elders, its elders; all lives, its lives.

            The crimes that have been perpetrated, and those yet to come, violate this foundational principle. But they cannot destroy it; not if enough of us gather around its fire, shield it, defend it.

            May that boundless belonging help illumine, protect, and once again enthrone the deep wisdom of the heart.

            In these devastated days, may we be able to say, with the poet Adrienne Rich:

            “My heart is moved
            for all that I cannot save:
            So much has been destroyed.
            I must cast my lot with those
            who, time after time, tenaciously,
            without extraordinary power,
            reconstitute the world.”

            The Earthrise Project

            The Earthrise Project

            “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

            The Hopi Elders

            The Earthrise Project

            The Project

            The creation of a collective narrative to promote and accelerate the deep transformation we must bring about to heal the pressing environmental and social crises and create a future of hope and possibility for all.

            The mission is to create a myth for our times: a weaving together of the many generative stories that are being spun by thinkers, mystics, artists and activists the world over into a single, rich tapestry to help portray, fortify and usher forth the emerging era.

            Key Concepts

            The Earthrise Project

            Joseph Campbell once described myths as “energy evoking and directing images” whose task (one of four main functions) is to bring forth in individuals “a sense of grateful, affirmative awe before the mons trous Mystery that is existence”.

            These images have guided humankind through many a dark night. But the hegemony of linear thinking and banishment of mythopoetic language and imagination has driven myth from its rightful place as nourishment for the soul, and left it languishing as a historical artifact, or even as another name for “untruth”.

            This information already exists, but the story is being told in fragments. How much more powerful would it be to create a unified fabric with social, biological, artistic, spiritual and environmental strands, that could reach the mainstream population and promote the tidal wave of changes we so urgently need?

            The Name

            The Earthrise Project

            “Earthrise” is the name given to a photograph of planet Earth and some of the Moon’s surface that was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut William Anders on December 24th, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell described it as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.

            Joseph Campbell predicted that this striking image of the blue-green dot floating in infinite space, without a single border in sight, would be the inspiration for a new, global myth for mankind. Although this has not come to be in the way he envisioned, the symbol remains as potent today as the day the photograph was taken.

            “Earthrise” could speak of the need to transcend individual stories and cultural and ideological narratives, to prioritize the story of a unified Earth (with its human and non-human inhabitants), rising from the ashes of environmental destruction and social and economic polarization, to an era of collaboration, integration and collective intelligence.

            The Challenge

            To bring together a group of writers, poets, scientists, activists, environmentalists, artists– who are already expressing important fragments of the new story, for a series of working sessions, to help put together the outline of a guiding story.

            The story would offer a vision of the world we are ushering into being, in its many different dimensions, such as:

            • Restored intimacy with Nature, in a planet recognized as wholly alive and conscious.
            • Compassionate, just and inclusive social relations and dynamics.
            • Purpose-centered economies, where experiences and right livelihood are valued over consumption.
            • Access to a dignified living for all.
            • Shift to renewable resources and wise use of them.
            • Invigorated democracies, local decision-making, decentralized governance.
            • Verdant cities that promote and facilitate healthful living.
            • Community hubs connected through interlocking networks of exchange and support.
            • So much more!

            With the help of seasoned writers, the story would then be edited for clarity, precision and evocative power. The text version of the story would be seeded with hyperlinks to invite people to dig deeper in areas of personal interest (providing further education and opportunities to join existing initiatives and contribute).

            The next step would be to create an audiovisual telling of the story, and a set of practices, rituals and activities to help embed the myth into daily life.

            Jane Benyus, creator of Biomimicry (one of these vital strands) states that Life creates conditions conducive to life. This is an invitation to join forces in order to create the Story to feed all stories, the Life to feed all lives.

            For the Children

            The rising hills, the slopes,
            of statistics
            lie before us.
            the steep climb
            of everything, going up,
            up, as we all
            go down.
            In the next century
            or the one beyond that,
            they say,
            are valleys, pastures,
            we can meet there in peace
            if we make it.
            To climb these coming crests
            one word to you, to
            you and your children:
            stay together
            learn the flowers
            go light

            Gary Snyder