Compassion Beads were inspired by the “Alphabet of the Heart” mnemonic created by Dr. Doty for his lecture to incoming medical students at the Tulane University School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony in 2011 and memorialized in the last chapter of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart.
His lecture was later heard by the Rev. Ann Helmke, the Spiritual Director at the Haven for Hope Homeless Shelter and the Co-founder and Director of the San Antonio peaceCenter, who found it profoundly moving. Rev. Helmke shared Dr. Doty’s mnemonic widely, inspiring then 9-year-old Jenny Wren to create the first set of “compassion beads”. Jenny added an eleventh “golden bead” to symbolize the Golden Rule. Ultimately, Rev. Helmke created an inspiring YouTube video based on the mnemonic.
The beads start with Compassion and end with Love: The order of the beads is: Compassion, Dignity, Equanimity, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Humility, Integrity, Justice, Kindness and Love, and the bead string ends with a golden bead symbolizing the Golden Rule: "Treat Others as you wish to be treated yourself.”