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17 Apr 2019 Begin Again…

Begin again…

Spring is finally starting to feel like it’s here. We’ve had such a wet winter, so it means the flowers are in bloom, the grass is green, and Sacramento is bursting with color, vibrancy, and life. April is such a significant month for us. Our oldest two daughters are born in this month, my birthday is this month, and our lovely therapy dog, Winnie, turns 2. I find it is a month that flies by faster than other months. There are so many different little and big tasks on my plate, I can almost miss the month. During these extra full times, I find it is hard for my self-compassion practice to stay as present in my life. I find it is harder to sit on the cushion for as long as I’d like. I notice critical thoughts creeping in, “did I do enough for the girls to feel special?” or “I’m having to cancel another client session—am I doing enough at work?” Something slips through the cracks, “ugh, how could I forget about that task?” The world can swirl and feel overwhelming…and then I catch the moment. I catch the moment where the critical thoughts start creeping in so sneakily. I slow down and feel the tension in my stomach and the “not enough” thoughts, and I offer myself with tenderness “Oh, you’re feeling overwhelmed.” My body almost immediately relaxes at being seen. I anchor myself into my practice and connect to all my fellow humans trying so hard to do it all, and finding that they are inevitably falling short. I remind myself how hard this is and that this is how it feels to be human. I then take a breath, bring my hands to my heart, and offer myself my lovingkindness phrases. Everything inside me starts to soften. This path of relating kindly to myself is one that I have dedicated so much time to that I begin to relax quite easily into my body. The swirl of emotions slows and begins to feel less overwhelming. I find my center and a moment of peace.

Perhaps your practice has also been feeling stale and distant. Perhaps you too have had a busy month and self-criticism and “not enough” have snuck into your thoughts more than you’d like. The beauty of any mindfulness practice is that we can always begin again. The moment we notice the sleepiness of the practice, it becomes a moment of starting over. We can be like those sleepy flowers waking up to the sun. Whether your absence from your self-compassion practice has been a long, cold winter, or a few days, or a few minutes…we can let this moment be a moment of rebirth.  We can take in the warmth of our intentional attention, soak up the common humanity of our experience, and drink in our lovingkindness phrases. It is never too late to begin again.

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