I haven’t written a blog in several months. Earlier this summer, I suffered the loss of my mother and for several months both before and following her death I had difficulty sorting my feelings out. I’ve been using self-compassionate practices at every step along the way and I believe that these helped to sustain me.
A few weeks ago I went to a silent meditation retreat. I was a little nervous prior to going knowing that I would be alone with my feelings of grief with very little distraction. I worried that I would be flooded and overwhelmed with my emotions. It actually turned out to be a lovely gentle experience and helped me to clarify some of the deeper thoughts and fears that underlie some of the emotion.
After one particular meditation, I uncovered that I was very sad that I had lost my biggest cheer leader; the one who offered words of encouragement, kindness and sympathy whenever I was suffering. Although my mother was 92 and we hadn’t lived together for decades, in a very real sense she was still the one I turned to in times of trouble, she loved me unconditionally and would offer words of comfort whenever I suffered a setback.
In Mindful Self-Compassion practice, whenever we recognize that we are suffering we ask ourselves “What do I need?” I realized that what I needed most in that moment was reassurance. I started meditating using the mantra “I love you and I will take care of you”. Using this phrase has caused a shift in my day to day life. For the last several months I had been eating badly, not exercising and felt very sluggish, something I attributed to the effects of my grief. Once I started the mantra it was like my higher self sprung into action; I suddenly had more energy and motivation to eat better and start moving. I started taking better care of myself. It’s okay, no matter what happens I will be there for myself. I just needed to hear myself say it.
With kindness, Patricia