Self-care for Sensitive Souls
Reconnect with your inner resources
You know how it is.
Sometimes we just need some compelling ‘what’s in it for me’ reasons to get on with our meditation practice.
When we feel the benefits are a bit patchy or hard to pin down, it’s nice to have some encouragement from scientific research.
If you’ve been around meditation for any length of time, you’ll have come across loving-kindness meditation.
Loving-kindness is the practice of cultivating the feeling of universal love - in other words love for all beings, beyond personal or romantic love. Typically in meditation we do this by directing compassionate wishes towards ourselves and others.
You would probably expect the research to show that loving-kindness increases positive feelings of goodwill and empathy, and indeed it does.
But researchers have turned up some other, unexpected benefits ...
When you’re in the thick of it, and you need to slow down from feeling like a billion banshees are shrieking all at once in your head (or whatever stressed-out feels like for you), you need something that works now.
Well, good news. You have just the thing for the job.
You may not be able to change the situation you’re in, and you probably won’t find it helpful in the heat of the moment to give yourself a stern lecture about how you shouldn’t get so stressed.
But you can pull some helpful tools out of your meditative medicine bag to help you deal better with what’s happening.
So today I thought I’d just remind you of what they are …
It's another new year, and with it comes the impulse to make promises to ourselves about a fresh start.
But just in case you were longing for something that doesn’t involve abdominal crunches or a losing a specific number of pounds from your perfectly lovely body, here’s my take on New Year resolutions …
Many of us approach Christmas with a mixture of pleasure and apprehension. It can seem to us that we can barely enjoy it because it feels so loaded with demands and the weight of expectation.
We’re meant to be having a great time, yet everything that habitually stresses us out gets magnified, and there seems to be lots more if it, all focused into this short period of time.
So how can we cope with the strain and make the most of the positive experiences?
The good news is that what works at this time of year is the same as the rest of the year, except that we may need to be more conscious and deliberate about it …
Have you ever had the experience of someone listening to you?
Really listening, with love and kindness, giving you the space to be exactly as you are. Not judging, not interpreting, not cutting you short with advice.
And their attention is completely with you. (They’re not checking their phone or anything.)
It feels good. It’s relieving. It soothes your pain and heals your heart. Your Big Problem seems smaller and a solution starts to appear of its own accord.
But we don’t always have a compassionate friend to be kind to us when we need it. We don’t always have someone to hold that space where our own wisdom can naturally arise.
Or maybe we do ...
If you have stubborn pain in your life that's not responding completely to treatment that's aimed at the physical level, you may be wondering whether there’s more going on than just a physical problem.
Perhaps you suspect that your headaches, low back pain, pelvic pain or other chronic symptoms have something to do with stress or anxiety or some kind of emotional upset.
But you don't really know what exactly. Or what you could do about it, even if you did know.
Pain is complex and rarely 'just' physical. This doesn’t mean that pain is all in your head, nor that it’s your fault.
What it means is that your pain is trying to tell you something.