Thursday, January 25, 2018

Winter Gathering for Self-Compassion

The Mystery within...
I am blessed to be a member of a group of women who come together twice a year in a sharing circle of introspection designed to grow us in grace.   Through sharing our     desires to become more whole, and identifying obstacles to our wholeness, we facilitate each other’s journey toward personal growth.  Cathy Gawlik and Dawn Zak skillfully lead us in our discoveries twice a year.  In summer we gather for three days, and in winter a one-day circle keeps us in touch with what we are striving to achieve from our previous summer sharing.   This past summer’s focus was on Self Compassion.   

Our winter one-day circle began with creating sacred space by inviting the spirits from the four directions. (My heart smiled when facing south, the place of the great serpent, as I remembered a young looking, very thin, multi colored green snake that crossed my path in the woods this past fall.  It stopped and looked at me with sparkling eyes as we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s gaze.) We asked for blessing and guidance from each direction and thanked the Great Spirit, known by many names, for bringing us together. 

“How has my journey been with self-compassion and what do I want for myself today?”  It was the question that started our winter sharing.  I was glad others responded first because it gave me some time to realize I did make some progress.  It wasn’t all fruitless.  There was my therapy note to myself, “Be kind, honest, and brave.”  But I realize now the “Be kind” piece was focused more toward the other, not myself.  I now realize being kind originates with myself first.  When it does, honest and brave come easier.  The rockier part of my self-compassion journey has been an increasing awareness of being more anxious with delays, inefficiencies, and errors—both mine and of others.  My anxiety only compounds inefficiencies and errors.  I suspect some of my anxiousness is related to my decline as I grow older and find myself needing more and more time in daily living maintenance.  What I wanted for myself that day is to be accepting of my slower pace and find sign posts to alert me before my anxiety escalates.

Each of us was then given a paper with a spiral on it on which to write obstacles we encounter on our quest for self-compassion and then discuss what we wrote with a partner.  The obstacles I wrote on my spiral all pointed to fear—fear of and for others and myself.   Fear that I am not enough.  My partner and I discovered we are already enough and deepening the discovery our enoughness is a joyous life long process that requires trust, patience and forgiveness for when we get stuck with another obstacle on our path--an obstacle eager to point the way to self-compassion.  Fear can and has led me to my center were Compassion lives.  It was the impetus for my writing “God Never Hurries” after an encounter with the Divine Feminine telling me to “Be Not Afraid.” 

We heard trusting ourselves takes time and tending.  The way to compassion is not tidy and neat.  We are always in the process of becoming more.  But we can love ourselves in the messiness along the way, and that is self-compassion.  

The perfect ending to our day together came with the gift of a small book by Kim McMillan titled, “When I loved myself enough”.  Each page contains profoundly simple life-affirming wisdom that McMillan discovered when she loved herself enough.   And when we love our self enough we learn how to love all others.       

What if we all came to love the messiness in self-compassion more often?       

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