Our guest today is Jennifer Nadel, the co-founder of Compassion in Politics, and author of the Sunday Times bestselling book WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere. In this episode, we talked about burnout and her healing journey, the importance of inner work and why we need to bring compassion back into politics and into our life.
“I was a human doing, not a human being.”
Jennifer grew up in a household with a lot of illness, suffering, and pain. She decided at a young age that she wanted to make the world a better place and alleviate suffering. She became very driven and started to work as a barrister and later as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, ITV, and Channel4, reporting on issues social justice issues.
She was a single mom with 2 little children and worked tirelessly in her career pursuing her dream job which she managed to achieve. However one day, she woke up and realized she couldn’t go on with this life anymore. She put so much into achieving that she had lost herself completely and suffered from burnout.
This is when her 10-year healing journey started.
A Decade Of Inner Work
“If all you're doing is eating from the tree of knowledge, you lose paradise.”
Jennifer was very depressed and felt lost. She started her healing journey with spiritual practices, doing therapy, meditation, and gratitude journaling.
The process was slow and long, but slowly joy started to come back into her life. She started to enjoy her life more and more as she became more patient and compassionate with herself. She later wrote a book with Gillian Anderson about how women (and men) can create positive change in their lives, WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere.
According to Jennifer, there are two kinds of pain. One pain is the pain you get when you feel like you are in the hamster wheel and are living your life in a loop. This makes you feel victimized, angry, and bitter. However, there is a productive pain that comes from grief and letting go of what doesn’t serve us anymore. Every time you experience pain, think about which pain you are feeling at that moment.
Compassion In Politics
“You don't just build walls out of bricks. A wall is being built in our own minds.”
Jennifer co-founded a think tank called Compassion in Politics. For her, the point of politics is to alleviate avoidable human suffering. It is not supposed to be about winning and losing. Jennifer’s experience is that politics today has become very divided and is all about winning over the other party. She wants to bring back compassion to the political scene because it is innate to all of us as humans.
She encourages everyone to do their part in alleviating suffering, no matter how big or small that part is because together we can create a more compassionate and livable world. If enough of us would join together we can achieve absolutely anything.
According to Jennifer, hurt people hurt people who hurt people. So the solution is not to hate the political figures but have compassion for them when they are acting out as wounded children. When we let go of righteousness, we can focus on the real solutions, and that is the antidote to the horrible things happening around us today.
In the United Kingdom, over 100 members of Parliament have signed an agreement to commit to the values of Compassion in Politics, and Jennifer already sees slight changes in the way politicians are debating.
At the end of the interview, Jennifer suggests that there is hope. At the moment, things feel very dark and very divided. But inside each of us there is the capacity to love. And that is our nature.
Palma’s Loving-Kindness Meditation To Strengthen Your Compassion Muscle
This week, we invite you to reflect on compassion.
How easy or difficult it is for you to feel compassion for your opponents, someone who hurt you, or even for some of our more controversial political figures?
Compassion doesn’t mean that you have to approve of the actions of these people but to see the shared common humanity in them. As Jennifer said, hurt people hurt people who hurt people.
Compassion is like a muscle that gets stronger and stronger as we exercise it, and research has shown that practicing loving kindness meditation on a regular basis has a strong effect on the brain structure and strengthens our compassion muscle and overall wellbeing.
So this week, we invite you to practice a short guided loving-kindness meditation to strengthen your compassion muscle. You can either do it right now or come back to it whenever you need it.
Listen to the meditation and let us know what you experienced!
About Our Guest, Jennifer Nadel
Jennifer Nadel is a journalist, writer, speaker, coach, and co-founder of Compassion in Politics. She has reported for the BBC, Channel Four News, and ITN from around the world, run for parliament and is a global speaker. Her Sunday Times bestseller, WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere which was written with Gillian Anderson lays out nine spiritual principles for healing and activism. Compassion in Politics works to bring compassion into the substance and practice of politics and engages with politicians and activists from all sides.
A special thanks to Jennifer Nadel for taking the time to share her inspiring story with us.
Resources Mentioned In The Show:
Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel - WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere
Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
Continue Your Journey
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