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Pausing for Self-Compassion

Rhonda Magee






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Pausing for Self-Compassion

This meditation explores how to generate self-compassion in times of distress, anxiety or despair. Discover the gentleness, safety and support of your own friendship.

Let's begin by finding a comfortable

posture for this meditation.

This practice can be done either in a

seated posture or lying down, or even

standing, whatever happens to be the

most supportive for you in this moment.

We will be exploring how to

develop a means of generating

self-compassion in times of particular

distress, anxiety, or despair.

So take a moment to settle into

the posture that you've chosen.

Feeling the points of contact between

the body and the ground beneath you,

whether through the seat of a chair,

a cushion on a bed or on the floor.

Just allowing the body for the next

few moments to gently rest in the

sensations of being held by the earth.

So picking up perhaps on the

in-breath, or the out-breath, wherever

you happen to find yourself now.

And gently allowing a few deeper than

and usual breaths for you to support you,

and just resting in the sense of being

lovingly held in this present moment.

And as you breathe in now, the

invitation is to do a gentle

scan of the body in this moment.

And notice any place in which you're

holding any tightness, any pain, any

emotional discomfort, any sensations

that indicate any of this in the body.

So breathing in and out, noticing

where you might be feeling

tightness, sadness, grief, rage.

Or any more subtle feelings of discomfort.

And the invitation then in this moment

is to invite the intentions you bring

for alleviating your own suffering,

for supporting yourself and just gently

holding your own experience with love.

Bringing that intention to

the fore in this moment.

As you breathe in and breathe out,

imagine just in a certain way in which

you're most cradling or holding yourself,

and inviting full rest in this moment.

Lovingly attending to your own body and

being, as you notice any way in which

you're feeling, even the subtle form of

any sort of discomfort, pain, challenging

emotion, difficulty at this time.

And so then the invitation now

is to deepen the support for

yourself by, if you're willing,

placing one hand over the heart.

And the other hand may gently be placed

right over the first on the heart region.

Or you might experiment with placing

that second hand in the region of the

belly button, maybe just beneath it.

And then taking a few deep breaths and

just sensing into what it feels like

to allow the extra support of your own

hands on these regions of the body,

where our energetic nerve systems are so

profoundly engaged with feeling sensation

around the sense of being nurtured.

So just breathing in and breathing

out and inviting these points of

contact, placing your hands, right on

these particular points of contact.

Offer this additional support, much in the

same way that you might place a hand on

the back of a friend in need of support.

Or in the hand of another.

We're bringing that same kind of

loving, gentle touch-based support to

our own body and being in this moment.

And as we pause and allow ourselves

to support ourselves in this embodied

way, we might deepen this support by

calling to mind a particular place

where you felt really safe before.

This might be just a momentary

awareness of feeling safe in a park

or at a beach, or, or maybe it's

inside a home or a location where

you felt safe, nurtured, cared for.

This could be someplace you have access

to now or someplace from your memory.

And if it's easier than locating a place,

perhaps allowing that inquiry to dissolve

and inviting the image of a person is

whom you felt really safe, cared for.

You might now just be noticing their face.

And see you're smiling at me, looking at

you in this moment in your mind's eye.

Or you might be imagining feeling

their hand in yours, offering you

just a bit of additional support.

And again, if this is difficult,

allowing that inquiry to dissolve.

And perhaps it's just the image of

a person in history, a figure or

spiritual or other figure whose image

brings your peace and ease and allows

you to feel cared for in this moment.

So with this gentle visualization

practice, whether you're visualizing a

place or person, really see if you can

make the image just a bit more vivid.

Really noticing light falling in

the space or the scent of food in

the oven or on the stove associated

with that place where you felt safe.

Or the warmth of the feeling of the

person's hand and yours, or again,

the particular coloration of their

face as they're looking at you.

This visualization aspect of the

practice is important in that the

body really has this image within it.

And as you call it to mind in this

way, it really has the neurobiological

effect of really putting you back

in that place, back in the presence

of that loving being or person.

So as best you can,

bring that image to mind.

Just take a few moments.

Allow yourself to breathe

in and breathe out.

Feeling the support of that

place, that person as you do so.

And as you breathe in and out, now

allowing the imagery to dissolve.

Resting in a sense of being held

in remembrance of the support that

exists for you in this universe,

in your own experience that

you have felt in your own life.

And now, perhaps noticing the

quality of the heart in this moment.

Breathing in and breathing out

and sensing into the heart region.

Or maybe noticing some other region of the

body where you can, maybe, if you inquire

into it, feel in a way in which you are

being impacted by this meditation already.

Maybe you're noticing a gentle

softening of the heart, opening

up of a sense of ease, rest.

Maybe even a bit of joy.

And as we prepare to bring this meditation

to a close, just notice the way in

which you have been able to practice

cultivating a sense of the support that

exists for you in the universe, and

a sense of your inherent belonging.

And know that this practice is available

for you anytime you might need to

experience cultivating the ability to

bring self-compassion, love, and the will

to alleviate your own suffering a little

bit more to the fore in your experience.

Keep practicing like this.

I thank you for your practice.

And until we meet again, may you be

well, safe, and connected on the journey.

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