Recall that the act of compassion begins first with recognizing suffering is happening, then responding to relieve it. Here, now in the midst of the disruption of our lives by the corona-virus is an opportune time for noticing your suffering is likely to be present. Using your body-mind as a laboratory, notice the breadth of your somatic experience in response to suffering the uncertainty and separation imposed by this event. What is occurring in your muscular and digestive systems? How does your breath change as you meet new challenge after new challenge in the day? Can you focus your attention? How are decisions being made when your nervous system is likely in sympathetic overdrive? What has changed about your mood and sleep quality? Explore all that is happening within to be able to accurately respond with self-care. This is paramount to support your immune system.
Because humans are in fact in a dynamic system of systems in perpetual state of physiological change, it is very instructive to conceptually regard yourself as “a happening”. This is a simple yet profound teaching I have been most grateful to receive in my yoga and meditation training. What is happening within you and around you are being influenced by your internal and external environment in a co-emergent process. In times of great disruption such as this, wise leadership is essential. Good leaders stay attuned to the interplay of self and others as they navigate new terrain. Creative solutions arise when we are curious, activated and inspired by the challenge rather than paralyzed by fear of failure. So how do we attune to ourselves as a happening?
Radical times call for “radical self-compassion” which is advocated beautifully by psychotherapist and mindfulness meditation teacher, Tara Brach, PhD. I have found great comfort in following her guidance into a state of self-compassion using this particular practice: R.A.I.N. ( right click to link) It uses both the metaphor of a soothing, soft, cleansing rain and the acronym. In keeping with the groundwork described above, we are encouraged to be present so as to recognize that suffering is happening. Once recognized, then we connect to the somatic experience of what is happening now and actually allow ourselves to feel. Being kind and curious with the quality of our attention, we stay present and investigate so we can nurture ourselves in just the right way. You are encouraged to visit this link for more guidance in this practice of self-compassion. Take the time for self-care amidst all that is happening.