Hold your experience with tremendous gentleness. Stay with yourself – always, always, always. Be kind, feel kindly, be loving… As you become friendly toward yourself, you see that actually you can trust your own mind and heart. From this trust and friendship arise unconditional self-confidence. ~Susan Piver
I have a confession, kind and gentle reader: When it comes to Susan Piver, I am not at all rational, can’t be reasonable because I just love her too much. She is the dearest of friends and the wisest, gentlest of teachers. She’s genuine and funny, courageous and tenderhearted. I have written about her before, was just on retreat with her in May, am hoping to see her at another in December. By way of her meditation videos, I sit with her almost every day. She is a constant and loving presence.
Susan Piver is the reason I was able to find my meditation practice, my voice, my courage, my self again after I lost Obi and then Kelly to cancer three years ago. I was so brokenhearted, so confused, and Susan’s gentle teaching, specifically through the Open Heart Project, helped bring me back to life, get me back on my cushion, start writing again, keep my heart open. Since then, her kindness to me has never ceased. The day that Dexter died, she called to check on me, cry with me. As a practitioner, as a person I feel so supported by her.
On her website, Susan describes herself this way, “I’m interested in extreme self-knowledge, the Buddhadharma, relationships of all kinds, creativity, the Enneagram, and using every single day to become a more truthful version of who I already am.” I am so happy to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.
1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?
I define it as the continual willingness to soften to your own experience and allow it to be as it is.
I’m certainly still learning it and there have been many teachers, many guides. Sakyong Mipham has been of particularly profound influence. My meditation practice is my best teacher. The book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior has been a handbook for me in what it means to have self-compassion. Sakyong Mipham’s new book, The Shambhala Principle is a fantastic guide to how and why self-compassion can actually create a peaceful world.
It looks different from moment to moment. When I’m sad, it can look like crying sometimes but at other times it means giving myself a kick in the pants. The most important thing for me to remember is to stay present to my experience so I can be discerning about what self-compassion might mean in any given instance.
I am very hard on myself about what it means to be successful in this world. And too often I don’t make self-care a priority. I know that as I continue to relax (as opposed to “trying”), self-compassion will naturally manifest.
I am so grateful for Susan, her writing, her teaching, her practice, her friendship. To find out more about Susan, to connect with her:
- Visit her website.
- Read her blog.
- Become a member of the Open Heart Project.
- Read one of her books.
- Read articles she’s written for Huffington Post, or various other publications.
- Attend an event where she’s teaching.
- Friend her on Facebook, follow her fan page or like her Facebook page.
- Follow her on Twitter
- Check out her videos on YouTube or Vimeo.
- Watch her interview on Good Life Project or Tea Talks.
Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Kerilyn Russo.
P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.