Sunday, 19 July 2015

Mindful Self-Compassion

I came across this quote this morning:

'A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.' C.K.Germer.

Wow! I thought. What a great way to start the day! Thank you C.K.Germer.

I was, in fact, so impressed by old C.K. that I Googled him.

(Aside: how did we manage without Google? I'd have to seriously have my socks blown off by someone before I'd troop down to the local library and look them up on the dewey decimal system).

Here's what C.K. has to say about Mindful Self-Compassion:

"Mindful self-compassion is the foundation of emotional healing—being aware in the present moment when we're struggling with feelings of inadequacy, despair, confusion, and other forms of stress (mindfulness) and responding with kindness and understanding (self-compassion). Mindful self-compassion also means holding difficult emotions—fear, anger, sadness, shame and self-doubt—and ourselves, in loving awareness, leading to greater ease and well-being in our daily lives.

"Mindful self-compassion can be learned by anyone. It’s the practice of repeatedly evoking good will toward ourselves especially when we’re suffering—cultivating the same desire that all living beings have to live happily and free from suffering. And as the Dalai Lama says, self-compassion is the first step toward compassion for others."

He sounded like such a wise chap that I decided to download one of his meditations and give it a go. (If you want to do the same, then click on the Mindful Self-Compassion link above).

I've never tried meditation before, but I've been meaning to. The children and the husband were all still slumbering upstairs, so I found myself a comfy chair and pressed play on the first download (18 minutes long).

Lots of breathing. Lots of paying attention to the breathing, and to what the breathing feels like.

This was all somewhat scuppered when the terrier got overexcited by discovering me sitting down with an unoccupied lap and decided to join in. Soon I was paying attention to the feeling of being licked by a puzzled dog.

You will find thoughts wandering in....says C.K. No shit Sherlock. Mine went something like this:

How long have I been doing this for already? Any minute now the troops will start appearing for breakfast. I'm hungry. What happens if I stop concentrating on the breathing? Will I stop breathing? Arrgghh. I'm going to die. How long have I been doing this for already? I've got stuff to do. I've got to write my blog and go for a run all before they wake up. Was that someone waking up? I'm hungry. How long have I been doing this for already?

Ten minutes in and I was stressed!

So, I totally buy the concept of self-compassion. We all need a bit of that. Plus, I love mindfulness, BUT I like mindfully doing stuff (see Monkey Brain and Mindfulness), not mindfully doing nothing. It freaks me out. And I feel like a pillock. Perhaps I'm too British?

Any thoughts and experiences with meditation gratefully received.

Have a great sober Sunday my friends! I'm off for a run...(after breakfast)

SM x


  1. Just catching up on all your posts. Motherhood has definitely been a tricky one I think. It's all I wanted it to be and more but oh so bloody hard at times. I stopped work after 2nd child to do it full time. I had no idea it would be so hard/fun/boring/stressful/frustrating/fulfilling/unfulfilling etc etc. I lost the person I was - full time working high school teacher who loved work and life - and became someone else. Don't get me wrong I think it was the right thing to do but it's a big change. I had been thinking about how mums of generations before coped and of course there was valium and cigarettes and neighbours and a good gossip over a cup of tea. Now motherhood is a full time occupation and stressful for lots of other reasons. Guilt of course about working/ not working, what type of parent to be, which school, extra curricular activities, etc etc and drinking was my coping mechanism. I therefore can't look at it with regret. It helped! It brought me to this point though and I look back with fondness and still a bit of sadness but I now need something to fill the gap. Running is not something I ever thought about but am going to invest in a very supportive sports bra and give it a go. Will probably not even last 15 mins but I feel a build up of something. Is it the itchiness you mentioned before? I am not counting days just know I last drank on 10th May. The weight is starting to come off. I feel great. The cravings have mostly gone. There are still 'feelings' to deal with and I cry a lot more but your blog ( and a few others that I follow as well as your followers' comments ) are keeping me going. Facebook may be screwing with many of our minds but the Internet is a great thing. Have a great day. Ta xxx

    1. Hi EH! Hope you're enjoying the holiday. You are doing so brilliantly - more than 2 months already! I think we do need something to help with the 'itchiness' - running, yoga, writing, rambling, gardening, painting....or a combination. Sending you big hugs! xxx

  2. I have a great friend who is Hindu, and meditates everyday. She is so serene and calm. She said it took years and years to "still her mind". She laughs at me when I ask her for "tips' and "instructions" ...."just do it every day, and one day it will be an natural as breathing".
    That's all I have SM xx

    1. Yes, meditation is hard. If you can get in a few minutes where you forget about what's going on around you and totally clear your mindspace you are doing it right. But it doesn't matter how you are doing it, just like exercise, even a little bit will make a difference over time.
      Here is the easy one I learned years ago for "grounding"
      You can do it in about 10 minutes and you can do it anywhere.

    2. I'll give it a try, thanks x

  3. I completely believe in mindfulness and self compassion. Kristen kneffs book self compassion is worth looking at. And her websit has a test. Check it out.

    For a while I used the headspace app to meditate. I also practice mindfulness driving (when I space out I pull myself back-saying my hands are on the steering wheel, my bum is in the seat, I see cars, etc). I do it regularly and it really works.

    And, of course, I practice yoga daily. To me, it is the ultimate training in mindfulness and self awareness. You feel you body and breath, and at the same time it is letting go of thoughts to focus on the present moment.

    The serenity prayer puts it all perfectly

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage, to change the things I can,
    And wisdom, to know the difference.

    It's almost impossible to find a more consice prescription for mindfulness and self compassion than that small prayer. And, of course, God can mean anything you want.