As I continue to gather up and create material for my forthcoming book, Living Gently with Myself (the next book in the "30-Day Guided Journey" series), I periodically go back into my files to refresh my memory about self-compassion.
Reading someone else's thoughts often puts me back in touch with my own wisdom. I bet this is true for you too.
Today, as I looked into the SC file, I found this offering from Buddhist nun and teacher, Pema Chodron. I loved it the first time I read, even more so today. I'll explain why.
"We feel that compassion is reserved for someone else, and it never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. My experience is that by practicing without “shoulds,” we gradually discover our wakefulness and our confidence. Gradually, without any agenda except to be honest and kind, we assume responsibility for being here in this unpredictable world, in this unique moment, in this precious human body."
It struck me that each line in this passage is a complete teaching in and of itself. It's so rich and full of wisdom it would take a lifetime to decipher and to apply to our walk through life.
Turning her phrases toward myself, I heard:
1. I often feel it is much more important to hold compassion for others. I am prone to put myself last on the list of those who deserve and need compassion.
2. If I let go of the "shoulds", I would be much more awake and aware. Regularly! I would also be more confident about my walk through life as my true self, not who others think I should be.
3. When I am honest and kind with myself, life gets much easier. (Big sigh of relief...)
4. When I take responsibility for my whole self (thoughts, words, choices), I AM more empowered to live in the world.
5. Embracing all of these, I can take a deep breath to enjoy and appreciate my life just as it is. Wondrous, amazing, a blessing—even when it's difficult!
6. When I can do this, life feels very different, and I am in touch with the miracle of my birth, my life, and life in general.
What do you think? When you read Pema Chodron's thoughts above, how do they affect you? What do they invite you to?
Greater wakefulness? More self-compassion? I hope so!
Thanks, Ani Pema for these reminders. I bow to you and your wisdom, as always.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.