Well, folks, summer is here in full force in the Sacramento Valley, and it is hot. It’s about this time of year when that old Lovin’ Spoonful song starts banging through my head. You know the one: “Hot town, summer in the city. Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty. Been down, isn’t it a pity, doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city. All around, people looking half-dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”
In that song, we’re invited to wait out the heat of the sun until once again we’re soothed by the cool night air. This is not a bad way to approach suffering. We bring awareness to our distress, acknowledge that it’s temporary, and then simply let go, trusting that the sun will set on the experience we’re having.
I think that’s only half the solution though. We weather suffering better when we are actively soothed in the moment that we’re suffering. Mindfulness isn’t just awareness; it’s awareness directed with a spirit of kindness, compassion, and curiosity.
Mindfulness isn’t just awareness; it’s awareness directed with a spirit of kindness, compassion, and curiosity.
I sometimes think of it as the practice of bringing warm attention. This kind of presence is likely familiar to those of us who are in caregiving roles (which all of us are–be it with children, pets, students, patients, aging parents, friends…). When one of my daughters has a nightmare, I sit on the edge of her bed, place my hand on her chest, stroke her hair, and whisper to her that she’s safe. All of us have this capacity to soothe distress. It’s wired into us as mammals, and yet, how many of you actively tend to yourself this way when you are suffering? If I suggested that you bring kindness to yourself the next time your personal sidewalk feels hotter than a match head, how many of you would know how to do that?
Does that strike you as sad, that we know exactly how to hug a good friend who is crying, but most of us never learned to compassionately tend to our own wounded hearts? Can you hear the call of that place deep inside of you that needs tenderness, understanding, and connection when you’re hurting?
We’d like to help you answer that call. We’ve scheduled a pay-what-you-can MSC Intro Night for 7/30/15 to give anyone interested an introduction to what we offer in our full 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion Course.
Click here for more information: July 30th Intro Night