Friday, March 11, 2016

An experiment in self-compassion

As an experiment of self-compassion, make a commitment for a few weeks to notice how much of your precious life energy is spent complaining – about others, about your life situation, and about how there is something wrong with you. In moments when you are triggered, see how you may be using the activity of complaining as a way to attack yourself, to perpetuate old cycles of aggression toward your feelings and emotions, and to turn from your sacred vulnerability.

Each time you notice yourself complaining (it can be very subtle), you can use this opportunity not as another way to spin into shame and blame, but as a mindfulness bell, as an invitation to encode a new pathway of self-care. You can get so curious about what feeling state the complaining may be serving to keep you out of, and make a conscious choice as to whether you want or need to turn from yourself in this moment.

Breathe deeply, from your lower belly. Lay your hand on your heart. Come into resonance with inner and outer nature. As you return into the aliveness, you activate the parasympathetic circuits through a flood of oxytocin, soothing a weary nervous system and bringing back online the wisdom flow of your true nature. From this embodied place of warmth, calm, and self-attunement, you can accept the invitation, and open to the opportunity that is being offered.
From this soothed, contained, regulated place, you can then engage anew. No longer needing to bail out of your body or rely on the energy of complaint to protect you from the surging of the inner world, you can ask yourself:

I wonder what underlying feeling state I am seeking relief from. And how is the compulsive activity of complaint, blame, and self-aggression helping me to get out of (and even attack) my own vulnerability? And would I be willing, instead, to end the cycle of abandonment, return home, and care for myself in a new way?

The path is everywhere, even buried in the core of shame, blame, resentment, and complaint. This is a practice we can all do, over and over and over, many times a day, for very short periods of time. In this way, we begin to re-encode our neural circuitry with new pathways of love, holding, empathy, and space. Just look and see. Allow yourself to care so much about this world, about others, and about your tender heart.

This encoding is not a gift that you give only to yourself, but is done for all beings, both seen and unseen. Beings of the past, present, and future, who have come and are gathering now for this healing.