Self-compassion

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I was going to start this off from a snarly frame of mind, but that was yesterday. And today I feel differently.

Lately in trying to find the truth I had been pulling from many sources. I borrowed The Vortex by Esther & Jerry Hicks and began reading that over the weekend but it spoke to me in righteous tones and fair pummelled me with its notions. I get their point of view, I really do, but I couldn’t justify spending my precious reading time with a book that preached to me.

Then there was Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. The excitement I felt upon signing up ebbed away pretty quickly. After Day 2, in fact. I don’t think it was wholly Oprah’s involvement although I think that might have been a factor. For the most part, I just didn’t ‘feel‘ it like I did the one in November. The subject matter was not of importance to me even though I know that generally, the challenge would cover all bases.

If it doesn’t feel right or I find my interest waning, unless it’s to serve me better, I won’t do it.

I dropped all the boxes I’d been carrying.

Metaphorically speaking.

I did hang onto a book “Living With Your Heart Wide Open” by Steve Flowers and Bob Stahl as recommended by a wonderful blogger, Karl Duffy at mindfulbalance.org. I highly recommend his posts, btw.

I’m not a quarter of the way through this book but have already carried out a few of the exercises with surprising results. The one that has helped me most was finding acceptance and compassion for the self. It sounds easy, but it really, really isn’t. It’s easy to be accepting and compassionate for others but digging deep, pushing through the critical, the tangle of judgment to find the nugget of compassion for oneself takes a lot of practice.

There are certain songs that I cannot listen to. They evoke memories of good times and bad times, but either way, they cause me pain. After reading the section on how thoughts feed feelings and how we can defuse those feelings by creating an observer’s point of view, I decided that the next time I felt something strongly enough, I would do this exercise. Sure enough, the next morning, I heard one of the songs. Normally I would find an alternative station. Not this time.

The singer sang the song, the lyrics played out in my head, my solar plexus burned into my eyes and I felt the hot sting of tears. As instructed, I held the thoughts where they were but brought my awareness to the feeling (rather interesting to do when driving) for the duration of the song. It was tricky, I’ll admit because my conscious would want to delve into those lyrics and the meaning behind them. I fought and won and stayed with the feeling. It was unpleasant. No lie. When the song was done, I turned to the thoughts in my head (using some visualization) and asked how I would feel if I just let these thoughts (lyrics) come and go without becoming involved in them.

Hmm…said the thoughts…I would feel no pain. It would be just a song. It will always have a memory stamped on it but it wouldn’t bring me pain.

The final and next step was crucial and harder still…

To ask myself what in me was seeking acceptance and compassion.

How do you feel compassion for yourself when all that’s been said has been silent and critical, oftentimes without you knowing that that’s what you’ve been doing. It’s a stealthy voice, that one. Practiced and cunning.

I asked myself that question a few times before just sitting with it. In the car, almost at work. The radio off.

And the answer was: my heart. We are all capable of so much love and we should love, in all its forms. But we are conditioned to believe that if something goes wrong or someone hurts you or things don’t work out, perhaps it was the wrong thing to do. You may be angry at the other person, hurt by them but you are also angry and hurt at yourself for being gullible, or stupid, or not thinking. Over time, maybe it becomes what we expect the outcome to be.

When I was done the exercise, the hurt in my solar plexus felt strangely whole, like it was filling back up, healing almost. I can’t describe it properly, except to say that it didn’t burn anymore, it just glowed.

I’ve a long way to go, lots of compassion to discover, so it’ll be baby steps and all that but I’m on the right path. Taking my time and doing things my way with my meditations, my truths and my journey.

In the meantime, I’m reading like a fiend, and writing too. It’s like I turned a corner and in front of me was the box of creativity that I’d discarded years and years ago. Just sitting there waiting patiently for me to return and open it up. And, oh, the delights! The possibilities! I’m so excited!

Lisa…

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5 thoughts on “Self-compassion

    • Until yesterday I didn’t fully realize that it was one of the most important steps. But I can already feel the power and healing from practicing it. Good luck on your journey!

  1. Know exactly what you mean about songs.There is one particular song (which you rarely if ever hear these days) was playing on the radio one night (it was March 1966) and I was just 17. I had just walked inside after breaking up with my boyfriend of two years. The song? “Please Release Me” (Tom Jones was the singer). My reaction? I burst out laughing. Even now, if I think about it I can’t help but giggle. Guess I just wasn’t heartbroken enough 🙂

  2. Compassion for self is such a wonderful unfolding! Much has happened for me here, or unhappened;), in the past while – The epiphany is so clear – of course the flow of love and compassion is for the SELF! So powerful. Thank you for sharing your courage – going to the center of “it”.

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