We’re over halfway through this month of reflection and practice! And maybe you notice times you are discouraged that your practice isn’t going “better,” or you are sure you’re just not getting it, or other stories of self-judgment or shame. The RAIN practice discussed yesterday is one way to work with these kind of thoughts.
Jeanne has another acronym that we can use, based on the self-compassion work pioneered by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer.
The simple form of Jeanne’s acronym is MUK. When we notice we are experiencing self-judgment, self-criticism, or difficult emotions we can try these three steps:
- Mindfulness: We recognize this is a moment of suffering. Kristin Neff also uses phrases like, “Ouch” or “This hurts”.
- Universal: This is universal human condition, experienced by people everywhere. We can remind ourselves that I’m not alone in feeling this way.
- Kindness: We can offer ourselves a kind touch – a hand over the heart, or one hand squeezing the other, or something new I learned the other day – the “Butterfly Hug.” We can also offer kind phrases to ourselves, like “May I be kind” or “May I learn to accept myself as I am” or find some kind phrase that resonates for you.
Kirstin Neff calls her version of these steps the Self-Compassion Break, and you can read about it here:
Kristin’s website includes a number of guided meditations – why not try one today?
I’ll close with a lovely poem by Derek Walcott, which expresses what might be possible as we do this practice of self-compassion:
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984.
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
You can find a recording of Jon Kabat-Zinn reading this poem here:
With kindness and care,