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Day at a Time, Pause for self-compassion, 09/4/2020

10 Apr 2020

A Day at a Time – A Daily Blog of Life in Lockdown

Listening to radio 4 when I woke up and hearing the experience of a wife and mother of two children in their teens who’s previously healthy husband’s life is in the balance as he lies in intensive care on a ventilator. She talked about the sadness of not being able to say a proper goodbye. The staff in the hospital, in their compassion, let them sit with him in full personal protective equipment PPE. He was not conscious. As I listen, a tightening in my upper chest rising into my throat and that familiar sensation behind my eyes, tears coming ……..this sadness. So much sadness being experienced by so many at this time. The beautiful words of Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned Zen Master and poet, come to mind. He wrote these during the Vietnam war about the anger he felt but they feel right for this sadness.


For Warmth

I hold my face in my two hands.

No, I am not crying.

I hold my face in my two hands

to keep the loneliness warm –

two hands protecting,

two hands nourishing,

two hands preventing

my soul from leaving me

in anger.

  • Thich Nhat Hanh

Qi Gong outside again today. It feels even more of a powerful healing practice in the fresh air, with the bright sunshine and bird song all around and the delicious scent of white jasmine. The beautiful scent occasionally marred by the smoke of my son’s cigarette drifting over. I say to him “Big bear swimming doesn’t like smoke”.

It was a busy day with my attention being pulled in different directions and by mid-afternoon I felt a real need to slow everything down. I went for a walk in the countryside, the space and green so calming and when I returned, I lay on a yoga mat in the garden and let any tension in the body release into the earth below. After some time, I drifted off into sleep. Lovely. Following this, a zoom meeting of the weekly Drop-in Meditation Group that I run in the village. The connection is there, and we all appreciate the warmth of our houses compared to the chill of the village hall!

This blog I chose to leave writing until now, the next morning – a small act of kindness to myself.

Hint: Just because something is on your to do list, it is not a fact that it has to be done.

Practice: Self-compassion

When you notice sadness arising instead of struggling against it and pushing through or shutting down, practice taking self-compassion breaks. Notice what you are feeling, the sensations in the body and bring some acceptance to this, maybe even saying to yourself “this is hard”. Reminding yourself that we all have difficult feelings, it a normal part of being human. Offer yourself some self-compassion with perhaps a hand on your heart or holding your face in your 2 hands. Choose what you do next from this place of self-acceptance and kindness.