We had the good fortune of connecting with Dale Suggs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dale, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When my wife, Shelly, and I launched the nonprofit, BELOVED Compassion Network (belovedcompassionnetwork.org), we were less interested in starting a business and more interested in helping others make compassion a way of life. I had been introduced to the Compassion Practice in March of 2015. The Compassion Practice is a contemplative practice that cultivates compassion for oneself and for others. Most importantly, it teaches how to put compassion into action. By the summer, my life was being transformed. By the fall, I was committed to learning the practice, living the practice, and teaching to others. For the next four years, my wife and I along with leaders from BELOVED Way (the faith community we founded), were hosting events and launching practice groups. But by the time the Pandemic hit, it became clear that our vision for teaching individuals, teams, organizations, and businesses to live and work compassionately, we need resources beyond ourselves and beyond the church. So, in 2021, we formed a nonsectarian, nonprofit dedicated to helping others make compassion a way of life. Let me put it this way. Everyone, every philosophy, every religion commands us to be compassionate, but none of them teach us how. BELOVED Compassion Network teaches the “how” of being compassionate. And we’re good at teaching it!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been a pastor, teacher, chaplain, and spiritual director for 35 years. My biggest takeaway from my “career” is that it is not a career at all. If you are a minister or a teacher or a caregiver or even someone who teaches others how to live from their compassionate core like I do now, you are not pursuing a career path. I think that’s where a lot of faith leaders and caring professionals and even public servants get lost. Advancement and success, however defined, is incongruous to compassionate living. Let me put it this way. I have no ladder to climb. I have a way to walk. I call it the “Way of the Beloved.” What I do daily is answer an invitation to walk a path that leads towards healing and wholeness and to invite others to walk that path as well. It took me 25 of those 35 years to figure that out and another 5 years to learn how to live and work that way. My invitation to others in helping professions is to put aside any thoughts of what you are pursuing as a “career path.” Walking the way of compassion is the only path that that leads to healing and wholeness, peace and joy. Every other path is in the end, unsatisfying.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
San Diego is the most beautiful city in which I have ever lived. The opportunities to engage nature and experience different cultures are mind-blowing. Must sees are the Zoo, Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the Hotel del Coronado. Must dos include swimming in the ocean, surfing (if you’re brave), hiking in the mountains, seeing a play at any one of the many theaters, and going to a Padres game. Must eats include pretty much anyplace in Little Italy, Miguel’s in Coronado, Tierrasanta Mexican Restaurant (a hidden local gem), and the Prado. But the big “must” is experiencing sunsets at the beach. Except on a day when you might be seeing a play, every evening’s activities should be arranged around seeing the sunset. It’s good to see it from different beaches and from different vantage points. Every sunset is different. And every sunset is spectacular. There is a stretch of coastline in Ocean Beach/Point Loma called “Sunset Cliffs.” This is a place that I take people just to sit on the rocks, watch the waves roll in, and witness the sound and fury of their crashing on the rocks. I can spend hours there. The sunset from here . . . down at water’s edge . . . is the best San Diego has to offer!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is to the Center for Engaged Compassion. Founded by Dr. Frank Rogers, Jr., and Dr. Andy Dreitcer, the Center for Engaged Compassion teaches the Compassion Practice and certifies teachers of the Compassion Practice. It is where I was introduced to this life-transforming contemplative path.
Twitter: @belovedcompassionnetwork & @belovedsandiego.org
Facebook: @belovedcompassionnetwork & @belovedsandiego