‘Self compassion is when we give ourselves the same kindness and care as we’d give to a good friend’, Kristen Neff, self-compassion.org
This week we’ve been reflecting on the festive season. In The Powder Room, this month’s Fireside explored self compassion - and how we find it. Our expert duo, Gabriella Espinosa of Woman’s Body Wisdom and Henny Flynn or The Positive Menopause, spoke candidly and sensitively on the topic. Here are 3 practical tools that we will be adding to our toolkit:
1. Set your intention for self-compassion
Gabriella guided us through a powerful intention-setting practice that is so easy to introduce. Start the day by speaking to that part of yourself that needs to hear compassion; simply place your hand on your heart or your stomach and say; ‘I am here for you’. Repeat this consciously - out loud or in your head, a few times before your day begins. You can also return to it if you notice you’re responding harshly to yourself.
2. Use journaling to explore your saboteurs;
Bring them to life - what does it feel like to carry them? What does it look like? Write down as many words as you can that describe it (you can draw it too). Henny reflected that, when we release something, we make space to invite something new in. So, end the exercise by inviting in the emotion that is the opposite of your saboteur. So, if you’re feeling fear, welcome in courage. Write down how that feels too. By documenting in this way, we can step back from the emotion in itself and make a conscious decision to let the sabotaging factors go.
3. Finally, self-compassion can be embedded through the metta meditation
The practice of directing kindness to ourselves - then, in a series of ripples, to someone we love already, someone we feel neutral towards, somebody we have difficulty with - and, finally, everywhere without discrimination. There are many metta practices online. Headspace also offers a good module. Perhaps use this holiday period to introduce it to your morning ritual and note how it makes you feel - towards yourself and those around you.
At a time when self care and self compassion can be lost as we strive to meet our own expectations of what these days should hold, how we want people to feel, and how we must deliver, we wanted to build on the discussion they started- and use this space to share the thoughts from a few of the expert practitioners that we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year. We’ll be sharing their input in the next newsletter too.
These people have guided, coached, supported and helped shape our community at MPowder from the very start. And we’re very grateful.
What we love most is the breadth of perspective they bring. We’re very grateful. And we hope that, amongst their reflections and recommendation, you find something to nourish you this Christmas. Here are our first 3. You’ll find more on our instagram feed in the coming days too.
Ross Stephenson, founder of Stillplace. and our consultant acupuncturist and meditation practitioner:
"I’ve been reflecting on how subtly but powerfully we can create a sense of conflict within ourselves. When the environment outside our houses poses the threat of Covid, reinforced through our consumption of media, the tone of our internal dialogue can take on an extra dimension of negativity without us noticing.
This pervasive sense of threat, whether experienced as real, or felt existentially, puts us in a state of stress which can cause a regression to the most defensive voices in our internal world. Before we know it we can be playing out old patterns of thinking without even knowing how we got there.
So my tip for this Christmas period is to take time occasionally to listen to the ways you are talking to yourself and thinking about others internally. Make space to notice if this reflects the reality facing you in that moment or if it represents something more familiarly tricksy.
From this place it is possible to reframe and tune in to what reality is really presenting you with, which is hopefully a mince pie and some good company!."
Gabriella Espinosa, our consultant nutritionist, yogi and breathwork specialists reflects:
"Self Compassion is about making time to resource yourself with practices to soothe and regulate your nervous system so that you can be fully present to hold the experience of another with compassion. I recommend a daily Heart Resourcing Practice - pause in a quiet space and bring your hand to your Heart, softly close your eyes and whisper to yourself I AM HERE FOR YOU. Feel your breath gently filling your heart space, gradually making the exhale longer than the inhale. Repeat for 5 rounds of breath. Return to your natural breath and notice the spaciousness of your heart and the calm quality of your thoughts."
Heather Gordon Athie, Wim Hof prodigy and counselor writes to us from Kenya:
"Compassion is developed by sharing it! Whether that is for someone we love dearly, someone we don't know, someone who has adversely affected our lives or even ourselves. The more we practise compassion, the happier, healthier and more productive we are! Studies have shown that we can self induce gamma brain waves through compassion meditations. What does that mean? Gamma brain waves are what happens when we have aha! moments. Or when we taste the first bite of a crunchy juicy apple. Imagine feeling inspired and delighted as a baseline... every day! We can learn to experience this, one practise at a time. The more we share compassion, the more of these experiences we have. Rather than sharing physical gifts at Christmas, why not gift yourself the experience of a daily compassion meditation! Priceless."
Finally, this is our final newsletter before Santa arrives. And we also wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you - for your support, belief in, and contribution to all we’re building here together. You drive us forward. And we wouldn’t want it any other way.
With love, the MPowder team.