Compassion is a delicate balance between being with ourselves and acting in the world ~ The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook
As a human species, we have all come through an unprecedented time in our history…and it continues. As the Holiday Season approaches, it seems important to allow ourselves to celebrate in a different way. Maybe this Season we can find a way to rejoice that acknowledges the many challenges and the suffering in big and small ways that we have come through.
What occurs to me is this: It is easy to get caught up in the pressure of the demands and the tangle of expectations that accompany this beautiful time of the year. Perhaps this year it is important to embrace the many difficult emotions that have thrown us off balance in the Covid ‘storm’. Perhaps it is key for us to also celebrate and appreciate our resilience, perseverance, and to applaud the immense effort it has taken to remain balanced and upright through a most difficult time.
If anything, it seems appropriate to recognise our innate goodness and accept that if it exists in us, it is also in all beings. This is definitely something “of light” to celebrate in the midst of some very dark experiences that have tested our self-compassion and our compassion for others.
Author, psychotherapist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach, offers the following short meditative exercise that can return us to who we truly are – “wisdom and compassionate presence”
Here is a short meditation that she calls the RAIN meditation that will give you a few moments to reflect in a moment of inward sight that finds the love and awareness within.
I would suggest that you take a moment of preparation just to breathe quietly and fully as you find a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed for just a few moments. You might also want to do this upon waking in the morning or just before you sleep at night.
R Recognize what is happening. Mentally whisper whatever you are aware of: fear, anger, hurt, shame.
A Allow. Let whatever you are feeling be here, without judging it, trying to fix it, or ignoring it. Simply pause and “let be.” You might whisper “This too belongs.”
I Investigate. With curiosity, feel into your body—your throat, chest, belly. Discover where the emotions live inside you. You might gently place a hand wherever feelings are strongest. Sense what is needed or being asked for right now. Is it love? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Understanding?
N Nurture. Offer care to feelings of vulnerability, hurt, or fear. Let the touch of your hand be tender and send whatever message might most offer healing. You can imagine this coming from your own awake heart or from another being (friend, grandparent, spiritual figure, dog) you trust and love.
After the RAIN: Take some moments in stillness, simply sensing the quality of presence that has unfolded. Notice the shift from when you started (an angry or fearful or victimized self) to the compassionate awareness that is always here.
I also highly recommend you check out this short video to accompany the above
Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.
As 2021 winds down, I want to express my gratitude for your continued support throughout the year and I look forward to 2022 as we move, grow, breathe and BE together in a compassionate and loving existence.
Be well, embrace the love offerings of the Season,
And … Breathe