Earlier this year, my daughter Maddie and I committed to some mindfulness coaching sessions with Juliana Bartulin, a local mindfulness coach who I've known and adored for several years now. You have to be in her presence to believe how much warmth, care and acceptance one person can exude - she is a special soul. She worked with Mads and I around self-compassion, teaching us some principles to carry into our daily lives and allow self-love to blossom. It has truly changed the way I operate in my life and I continue to grow and expand as a result of her teaching. I've asked her to share some thoughts here and am so grateful that she agreed - the rest of this blog post is all her...enjoy xx
Go make yourself a cup of tea, I’ll wait here.
Great, now settle into your bones, really feel how gravity’s got you. Dependable ol’ gravity.
On your next out breath, contact the relaxing quality of exhalation. Every exhale has this naturally built in, the delicious let-go.
Stay with me now, cradle that cuppa in your hands and feel the warmth, smell the fresh aroma. Hold your hands and your tea towards your heart. Feel the warmth and breathe.
Don’t add anything unnecessary to this moment.
Just feel the warmth and b r e a t h e . . . . .
Warmth, softening outbreath, released and present, enjoying.
Take your attention into your heart and greet your innermost being with love.
Here’s a tip. Beloved grandfather of Mindfulness Thich Nhat Hahn greets his heart every morning with; “hello darling, I’m here for you.”
Hello darling, I’m here for you. It’s what we’d offer anyone we care for. Our presence, our listening, our non-judgement. This is capital K Kindness, with tones of tenderness, benevolence and sweet mercy to our humanness! Or, as the poet Alfred K LaMotte put it; ‘Just hug the whole entanglement, without untying any knots.’
This is the essence of self-compassion. Not exhausting yourself by trying to solve the problem of you, but relaxing into reality. Yes, reality. It’s not the drama of circumstance. It’s what’s in front of your eyes, ready to be appreciated and offered back to your own heart as kindness. The safety of your body right now, your clothing to keep you warm, the walls of your space keeping out the cold and wind, your breath to keep you anchored in the here and now. It’s kind and true to notice your real situation in this way.
I love the Buddhist understanding that we are in fact, at our core made of kindness. That practices which consciously incline the heart and mind towards kindness and self-compassion are the outer manifestation of an inner reality. We are reminding ourselves of our true nature, who we really are under the noise.
So my invitation to you is to begin on this road of weaving moments of self-warmth into the fabric of your day. Begin today. Offer yourself unrelenting support. Get still and notice your breath. Be unwavering in your capacity to bear witness to the ups and downs of your experience. Love yourself no matter what!
The most practical way to do that is with a patient daily practice. We can begin simply and practice mini moments of connecting inwards, not to fix anything, but just because we are curious and would love to directly experience our own kindness more often.
It’s my hearty wish that the kindness you tend in your own heart will naturally flow outwards in unceasing streams to the people and places in this world that need healing! (Quite possibly in the form of darling squishy hearts, those small but mighty symbols of kindness in action).
Juliana Bartulin is a Hobart based meditation teacher and coach who loves to inspire with wisdom from our ancestors of Mindfulness. She uses time-tested ancient practices to dig deeply into an awareness and love that refuse tidy definition and draw one deeper into an appreciation of mystery, poetry and paradox. Her unruly heart wants to include it all, even though sometimes her knees shake, she is thrilled to be on this human journey!
A follow-up to last year's posts about self-compassion, and a reminder to heartists that kindness starts with our own imperfect selves.Read more
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