My enoughness is infallible. unshakeable. unchanging. Even in moments when I feel not enough. I am enough, experiencing temporary disconnection from that truth. ~Rachel Cole
This is a tough one for me, kind and gentle reader. When I think about Rachel Cole, consider all the ways she’s wonderful, all the ways I’m grateful for her, I feel tender and raw, get weepy. She is so special, so precious to me. I would not be here, wouldn’t still be writing this blog, would not be doing this self-compassion project, wouldn’t be living as deeply if it weren’t for Rachel Cole. How do you thank someone for that?
You shine in your own particular way, that’s how. You feed your true hungers, you do things that you never thought you could, you feel your fear and you don’t let it stop you, you cultivate confidence and clarity, you seek out joy and ease in your life.
I was a very different person when I first met Rachel. I didn’t have much confidence, was so sad, stuck, starving in all kinds of ways, convinced that something was fundamentally wrong with me. Rachel and I worked together in various ways — a Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop (where I learned a lot about myself), a coaching session, her Wisdom Notes, and Ease Hunting course — and a fundamental shift happened for me. I was brave enough to go to the World Domination Summit, even though Rachel was the only person I knew. I had the confidence to ask a group of wise and compassionate women to take part in this project. I am gentler and kinder with myself.
Rachel has a quiet, gentle yet powerful way of leading you to the truth. She is inspiring and supportive, fierce and compassionate, crazy intuitive and funny. She glows with energy and love. When I initially thought about doing this project, I knew she was one of the women I had to ask, and I’m so happy to be sharing her answers with you today.
1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?
Self-compassion is a way of relating to one’s self with a soft heart, empathy, and acceptance. I like to think of it as being at the heart of maternal love, not the love we received from our actual imperfect mothers, but the energy of pure maternal love. It is an embrace and a place to rest.
2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?
I learned self-compassion because self-loathing and self-whipping were killing me. I read and studied a fair amount of buddhist and spiritual philosophy, including: Cheri Huber, Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Elizabeth Lesser, Geneen Roth, Eckart Tolle, James Baraz, and the like.
3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?
I practice self-compassion moment by moment. It lies in how I receive myself and what I’m experiencing. I practice awareness of self-judgement and my inner dialogue. I practice softening, allowing, embracing. The experience is energetic, emotional and somatic. It’s subtle. It’s not a button to push or switch to flip.
4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?
I think the next level of self-compassion comes in practicing it in relationship with another. While we might be proficient and self-compassion when we’re alone and untriggered, when we’re in an intimate relationships new challenges arrise. I wouldn’t say it’s a struggle so much as a rich new terrain to practice on. I am working questions like: how to maintain the depth of my connection to myself (a prerequisite for self-compassion) while also being connected to another? How can I show compassion for myself and another when we are holding different view points or hurting? How can my own practice for self-compassion inform another as to how to relate to me with softness and kindness?
Rachel Cole is magic. “Coach. Retreat host. Instigator of ease. Hunger-satisfier. Well-fed woman.” If you get the chance to work with her, through a Retreatshop or consulting or coaching or even just reading her blog, you will be encouraged and enriched. To find out more about Rachel, to connect with her:
- Visit her website
- Read her blog — no, I’m serious: read her blog
- Attend an event where she’s teaching, such as a Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop or Soul Sisters
- Take her Ease Hunting class
- Follow her on Facebook and Twitter
- Check out her pictures on Instagram
- Follow her on Pinterest
Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Niight Rain Wind.
P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.