As tomorrow dawns into the new year of 2015, I am preparing to celebrate the last moments of 2014 with delightful friends to lift my soul, sumptuous food for the senses and (hummmm) Guardians of the Galaxy movie for easy entertainment.
I am thinking back on this year and wondering what messages appeared again and again. Which ones did I pay the most attention to and what am I going to embrace in 2015 I just didn’t have the guts to in ’14.
I got better at self-compassion this year yet I am so ready to embrace the dickens out of it starting tomorrow!
I brought some friends along to help me (and you) understand Compassion better.
As Einstein once said:
A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
THE SIX WAYS OF COMPASSIONATE LIVING – Pema Chohron
Generosity. Giving as a path of learning to let go.
Discipline. Training in not caushing harm in a way that is daring and flexible.
Patience. Training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed. If waking up takes forever, still we go moment by moment, giving up all hope of fruition and enjoying the process.
Joyful enthusiasm. Letting go of our perfectionism and connecting with the living quality of every moment.
Meditation. Training in coming back to being right here with gentleness and precision.
Prajna (or transcendent wisdom). Cultivating an open, inquiring mind.
From Kristen Neff – But what is self-compassion, exactly? Drawing on the writings of various Buddhist scholars, I have defined self-compassion as having three main components: kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
Self-kindness refers to the tendency to be supportive and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical or judgmental. Instead of tearing ourselves to shreds when we fail or make a mistake, we soothe and comfort ourselves, providing the caring concern needed to try again. To get a sense of how this feels, try putting both arms straight out to the sides and clenching your fists hard. This is what self-judgment feels like. Then release your clenched fists and open your hands. This is what letting go of self-judgment feels like. Then take both hands and place them gently over your heart. This is what self-kindness feels like. (There are different physiological processes underlying these various feelings that I’ll write about in a future blog.)
Common humanity involves recognizing that all humans are imperfect. It allows us to connect our own flawed condition to the shared human condition so that we can have a greater perspective on our personal shortcomings and difficulties.
Mindfulness can be defined as the clear seeing and acceptance of what is occurring in the present moment. It involves being aware of one’s painful feelings in a balanced manner so that one neither ignores nor exaggerates personal suffering.
From me…. I awoke two years ago with bell’s palsy, later that year I lived with trigeminal neuralgia for 14 months (the suicide nerve pain) and last year I spent trying to find the way of eating my body is craving so it doesn’t live with ongoing disruptive inflammation and pain (not too successful yet!!). Self-Compassion has been a constant companion and probably will be so for the rest of my life.
I am looking so forward to 2015. I have so many plans, some important goals for my myself – professionally and personally, and I have hopes and faith. Hopes for more integration into my whole-self and faith I will find my way.