Hello and welcome to my latest blog post.
This week I wanted to talk about meditation, with a particular focus on mindful self-compassion.
This week I have started on the eight week self-compassion course, details of which can be found here: https://self-compassion.org/the-program/. I have wanted to do this course for so long, however the travel involved to get to where the course was delivered was prohibitive, as well as life being busy and getting in the way.
This is one benefit I have found during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to be able to attend classes and courses online - that I wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do from the comfort of my own home.
I have always been interested in self-compassion and learning how to be kinder to myself, especially during times of overwhelm and suffering. Self-compassion has been extensively researched by a lady called Kristen Neff, in this video she defines self-compassion and explains the components involved:
I am a qualified counsellor with a number of years of experience now of working with clients to support them as they learn to live in a better way with pain, whether that be physical, or emotional pain. I myself have lived with a chronic pain condition for 10 years.
I find myself looking inwards to my own experiencing of pain and wanting to use this experience of suffering in order to learn more about myself and then to use this experience of suffering to connect with the pain of others and to help them.
We are all human beings, we all imperfect and experience pain and suffering. As human beings we have this as a shared experience - a common humanity. I really feel that the eight week mindfulness course will help me to turn towards difficulty and pain both in myself and others and then to offer more kindness and compassion.
It feels like a really important time to learn more about self-compassion, especially in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. We have all experienced 'lock-down' and a loss of freedom through not being able to visit friends and family, some of us may have lost our jobs and not been able to attend social, or sporting events that we enjoy. Some of us may also have experienced illness in ourselves, or our loved ones and we may have experienced death through COVID-19. Very much a shared experience of trauma and suffering that needs self-compassion and compassion for the wider community.
Here is another video from Kristen Neff that you might find helpful to learn more about self-compassion.
The first session of the eight week course involved soothing touch. Learning how to sooth and calm yourself through touch, such as holding your own head, holding your own hand, placing your hands on your heart.
Kristen Neff introduces soothing touch in the next video:
I found this exercise of soothing touch to bring up lots of emotions, lots of loss through not being able to hold members of my family, or friends throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the feelings of distance and sadness that these necessary restrictions have brought. Lot's for me to explore over the next week before the next meditation class.
I wonder if you have any experiences of self-compassion, or meditation that you would like to share with me?
I have been meditating for around 5-6 years now and have found this to be one of the things that really changed how I felt towards myself and my chronic pain condition. It allows me to live a good and productive life alongside my pain. Meditation is not an instant cure, it does however over time and daily practice make a real and lasting difference to the experience of pain
The other thing that helped me turn my life around was accessing personal counselling and training myself to become a counsellor, so that I could help other people who were suffering from pain from which the medical model could not treat effectively by itself. In my experience counselling and meditation make a really great complement to any medical treatment and enables holistic care to every aspect of your experience.
If you have any questions about meditation, or the counselling offered at Flourishing MK please don't hesitate to get in contact with me: firstname.lastname@example.org