How Not To Isolate in This Time of Isolation

Who came up with the term mindfulness to represent being present? Is this the best word? Aren’t we trying to get OUT of our mind, ie, empty the mind rather than be full of it?

Isn’t bodyfulness a better word? Mindlessness? Wholefulness?

Okay. Anyway. Mindfulness is the word we have so let’s carry on.

I don’t know about you but I would like to have things figured out. Once I become aware of the unhelpful ways I react when I feel hurt or scared, unfairly treated or not supported, I would like to put in the correction and be done with it. La la! No more eating my feelings! Or yelling back at someone! Or shooting off a snide remark!

OR, I would like to be totally okay with the fact that I will never escape my imperfections until I have taken my last breath (and even then…I mean, are dead people that together?).

I would like to savor those gifts of imperfection that Brené Brown is always blathering on about, slap on my tall boots and slog through the messy swamp of my own foibles. Make ROOM for them. Forgive myself. Circle back and clean things up knowing full well that I will most likely make this same loop many, many more times.

Self-compassion is key.

Self-compassion is simply being kind to yourself, turning toward your own pain with tenderness. It’s not, for example, saying, What the fuck is the matter with you? You suck! I can’t believe you didn’t finish that! I can’t believe you never figured out how to have a career/a family/a waist! 

Self compassion is treating yourself as you would a dear friend. When your dear friend is in pain, you don’t pile it on. You listen. You make those hmm hmmsounds. You soothe, encourage, make them a cup of tea, and (if it’s not Life in the Time of Covid) you give them a hug.

You want your friend to know that you see them, you hear them, you get that this is how it is right now. That it’s okay. It’s human. You get it. And they are not alone.

Being mean to myself when I feel bad never helps. It never motivates me or gives me energy or a good idea.

BUT, what if I can’t help it? What if I KNOW THAT ALREADY and still I find myself doing it?

What then?

Pema Chodron says, “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.”

I love this Northstar of befriending who I already am, of seeing anything I do as not about self-improvement but about self-embracement.

But I can take anything and make it perfectionistic,( ie, self-punishing).

I’m going to become TOTALLY accepting of ALL myself! I shall ALWAYS accept myself even when I am not accepting myself!  I shall accept my non-self-acceptance from this moment onward!

Ah, but it works on this, too. This part of me is who I already am. 🙂 I can use the practice of self-compassion as a path to the befriending of this adorably perfectionistic mess of a beauty that is me.

See, judging and criticizing ourselves always leads to feelings of separation and isolation.

Compassion brings connection.

It connects us to our human-being-ness. 

The self-compassionate voice is an ally and partner. I’m really feeling that lately. I’ve been saying, I’m right here with you, Kyra. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll get through this together. 

Mindfulness shows us our habits. Self-compassion brings some acceptance and kindness to what we see.

This is the good news.

You don’t have to fight it.

You don’t have to fix it.

You don’t have to fake it.

You can let go of the tyranny of self-improvement and open your arms to your own beautiful, wounded heart. Right here. Right now.

Sending love and compassion to you.

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