The Importance of Compassion for Self

I want you to be kind and gentle with yourself. I have talked about compassion in the past. I attended an all day workshop some time ago on the Mind, Brain, Buddha, and Compassion and what I most remember is the presenter saying we are all so very hard on ourselves when what we need and deserve is gentleness and compassion for ourselves. Soft heart and soft eyes for the truth that we all need and deserve to feel loved and safe. And often times, we do not feel either. It makes sense when we weep for our world and I hope we remember to include ourselves.

Compassion includes accepting we are vulnerable, not perfect, have significant needs. It also means that there is reason to be frightened and anxious. We live in an uncertain world. The weather, world politics, war, murder, uncertainty, potential illness, financial distress, physical pain, and disappointment in one’s self, to name a few if the challenges of life. It simply goes on and on.

We also live in a beautiful world with love and beauty and wonder all around us. But this morning I am very aware of vulnerability and the loving, spiritual need for self-forgiveness and compassion.

I believe almost always every one of us does the best we know how to do. Loss, change, illness, challenges that feel way beyond our stamina and ability to meet, financial instability, anxiety, disappointment, all that and more, just smother us again and again. Sometimes I feel choked with the taste of it all. But mostly when I need to have compassion for myself is when my introverted self simply wants to retreat and hibernate. Winter is such a perfect time to do just that. I feel a deep understanding for all those who want time off from life for a bit. Stop the world I want to get off, makes sense to me. It sometimes does feel like an out of control merry-go-round ride and the brass ring is totally out of reach.

I am lucky in so very many ways, and one of the ways is that I have a fire in my gas fireplace and Aimee on my lap. I am sometimes hard on myself for longing for that place of total peace as often as I do. That is where I am safe and how I can feel cherished by my Self and remember the ways that I am cherished by the world that surrounds me. That is where I soothe and comfort myself. Especially as I heal from the dastardly stomach flu I brought back with me from my Christmas holidays. I am amazed at how vulnerable one feels when sick. I shouldn’t be amazed about that. But I am. Every time. I know I ALWAYS feel better in a few days, a few weeks, whatever. The memory that this too shall pass sometimes escapes me. Everything ends sometime. WE are infinite. And we end. Such a paradox. Maybe I better understand what I mean if I say Self is infinite. And I shall end.

This too shall pass is not true for everyone. Many people carry challenges for a life time. I understand contrast. I understand how very filled with joy and peace and hope I often am. And I would not know that place of delight and pleasure nearly as much if I didn’t also know the times of vulnerability and concern, even fear and angst.

I pray God my love is big enough to hold a world of pain, and to forgive myself when I am less than who I really want to be.  I pray the same for you. I attended a wedding recently in which the word God was never used. Instead of God the word was Love. I like that a lot. I pray for Love to always surrounds and hold all of us. I send my energy into the world focusing on compassion for us all. We are all doing the best we know how to do, given the circumstances we are currently facing.

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