“Have a good time not sure what you are doing …. but you can explain it to me when I see you.” text from Mum.
To Adelaide I flew to learn with an inspiring mob on a Mindful Self Compassion Intensive led by Tina and Peter Gibson. Mindful self compassion has been shared and researched in the western world by Kristin Neff, Paul Gilbert and Christopher Germer.
This blog is on cracking into the 3 elements of self compassion: self kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. Warning this is my simple version. Seek a course, read a book or listen to a podcast to find out more – it can change you life. Resources will be listed, apply liberally.
Self Love and Kindness
Self kindness is applying the kindness I extend to a friend in need when I am in the same position. What stops me from being kind to myself is the harsh, internal critic. My critic, who I imagine shares Darth Vader’s theme song is acknowledged, thanked for his/her insights and sent a light saber beam to silence. This judgmental fiend can be given to much airplay time and grows by comparison and discrimination – which places me on defense mode.
Whereas self compassion encourages me to be a loving, kind friend onto myself . In practicing self kindness I am noticing the language I apply to myself, shifting from aggressive “put downs” to terms of encouragement and even endearment. Rather than seeking others I am soothing myself with a hug from my own arms. Self compassion helps me embrace that though I am not perfect – I am okay.
Ruminating on things from the past or in the future is when I am freezing in mindlessness – the flip side to mindfulness. Mindfulness brings me to the present allows me to move from overwhelm to a comfortable space. Simple strategies such as touching a gemstone, listening to my breath and feeling the sunlight bring me home to the present – mindfully.
Common humanity is seeing that as humans we are all working with tricky, messy minds and suffer. Acknowledging common humanity reconnects me to my community. Connecting is imperative for my survival, it puts me at ease and clips my flight response. This course encouraged me to look within to my inner knowing and to seek discernment from the books of wisdom found in the living library of humanity. Common humanity helps me to not quit practicing self compassion as compassion then extends outwards.
“The wound is the place where light enters you” Rumi
A crack, an opening of the heart, this muscle develops with the practice of self compassion. Learning self compassion involves cracking old belief systems such as what is self indulgent, selfish and a sign of weakness.
My Irish friend would refer to having a ” bit of crack with a good friend”. No she was not taking illicit drugs – she was having a yarn with mates over a cuppa. How would it be if you could kindly sit yourself down and mindfully have a self compassionate bit of crack with yourself ? How would this impact on the people you love and struggle with? A curiosity that invites exploring compassion to self mindfully.
References and Resources
Tina and Peter Gibson: Adelaide Mindfulness refer to www.adelaidemindfulness.com
Kristin Neff , Ph D
Kirstin Neff (2011) Self Compassion,Harper Collins Publishing
Paul Gilbert, Ph D
Christopher Germer, Ph D
Christopher Germer The Mindful Path to self compassion