KAL Week 3 ~ Self Compassion
Thank you so much to all that joined in for Saturday's zoom call with Stephen West! Watch your inbox for a link to the interview recording in case you missed it. I left thinking about one thing more than anything else - authenticity resonates. And somethings authenticity is scary and means being vulnerable, sometimes your creative ideas fail but you keep dreaming and keep creating!
This week I’d love to dive into the practice of self compassion. It seems like such a kind process to embrace, and yet, in day to day practice, it’s hard! Right now my nasty internal dialog is mainly around the juggle between work and being a mom. I beat myself up about how little time I spend with my kids because of my business. The house is a mess and I constantly feel overwhelmed by how much I should be accomplishing within one day. Anyone else?! Or maybe the better question is, what's your nasty inner critic telling you?
Emily H has helped me with this part. I love her thoughts on this. Here’s what she says on self compassion:
Self-compassion is a way to be with things as they are and to meet our experience with kindness, humor, and intentionality. It is talking to ourselves the way we would a good friend and not our worst critic. With self-compassion we can mindfully accept that the moment is painful (we can’t fix the pain or suffering or situation), we’re in it, but we can embrace ourselves and our challenges with kindness and care in response, remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. This allows us to hold ourselves in love and connection, giving ourselves the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while providing the optimal conditions for growth, creativity, and transformation.
When we notice ourselves striving for perfection or being extra critical or hard on ourselves, this is when our inner critic is activated. Under times of stress, its natural that our inner critic will be louder. Its actually trying to protect us. The problem is, when we speak to ourselves with judgment and harshness, we are just releasing more adrenaline and cortisol. While it may feel counterintuitive, bringing kindness, warmth, and even a sense of humor when we are most struggling will shift our neurochemistry, opening pathways for oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine-- hormones that make us feel more relaxed, connected, and at ease.
Global pandemic or not - life is so much better when that voice in our heads is kind and gentle. Noticing our thoughts, and practicing self-compassion is one way to practice mindfulness and a happier way to cope with (sometimes) the flow of crazy talk my own brain spits at me 24/7. So this week, as we knit pay attention to that voice in your head -- is it being nice to you? Is it cheering you on? Would you say to a beloved friend what you are saying to yourself? I invite you to notice and to try to shift that conversation to a more compassionate place. For me that looks like being OK what is my biggest priority - my family. Then whatever I get done within one day at work is Ok even if it’s far from perfect.
As this relates to the body, what is happening with your breath as you knit? Are your shoulders hunched over? What about your wrist positioning? Are you tensing or clenching your jaw through a tough stitch (I DO THIS!!!) Is there a KINDER way to hold your body right now? I notice when I knit I tend to hunch and have found a few yoga postures super helpful for counteracting all the knitting and screen time (these are the ones that save me - restorative bridge and fish pose - the perfect counterbalance to hunching!. Even imagining relaxing the roof of our mouth can have a ripple effect on our bodies as we knit too.
What can you shift this week - can the way you think and knit be a little kinder? I'll have a few prompts in our FB and IG groups to go along with it!