I have been practicing with Jamie Ridler for awhile now — Full Moon Dreamboards and Wishcasting Wednesdays, as well as meditation through the Open Heart Project. Her prompts, encouragement and support, the opportunity for contemplation and creation that she shares always helps me to go deeper, to expand my knowing, to soften and be kinder to myself, to go gently with a sense of delight and ease. When her mom got sick, she asked me to write a guest post for her blog that helped me to clarify my understanding of my own specific practices. Jamie has a magic blend of kindness and creativity that is medicine to me.
I was lucky enough to meet Jamie in person. She told me I had mermaid hair, gave the best hugs. What I remember most distinctly is that the feeling of being in her physical presence was like being next to a live wire, a powerful and warm crackle of energy and magnetism ripples off her, makes you want to lean in, wake up, pay attention, catch fire.
Jamie Ridler is “a creative living coach and the founder of Jamie Ridler Studios. From coaching to workshops, from podcasting to blogging, Jamie’s work helps women find the confidence and courage to discover and express their creative selves so they can be the star they are.” 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?
The most intimate relationship we will have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves. No one hears our hearts the way we do. No one knows our hurts the way we do. We are the sages of our soft spots and our edges. Self-compassion is showing up to that relationship with honesty and with love.
In the movie Frida, Frida Kahlo reveals the scars on her body to Diego Rivera. Without hesitation he kisses them with passion. In that moment something in her, and in us, softens. We yearn for that moment. We want to be seen, accepted and loved, scars and all. Doing that for ourselves is self-compassion.
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 think I learned self-compassion from the outside in. When I was growing up, whenever I was frustrated or angry with someone, my mom encouraged me to put myself in their shoes, to try and understand that everyone is doing the best they can. Somewhere along the line I understood that that meant me too.
Life can be hard. There is so much beauty, love and wonder but there is also loss and pain and heartbreak. As I have lived through my own pain, from losing a brother to cancer at a young age, to moving shortly thereafter and feeling desperately alone, to the recent passing of my mother, I’ve decided that life is hard enough without my help. I will do my best not to throw the salt of self-cruelty into the already painful wounds. As best I can, I’ll choose love.
3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?
I cultivate self-intimacy.
I spend time with me. I write morning pages and go for walks by myself. I take myself out for coffee and on photo safaris. I sit in meditation and see my poor mind working so hard to try to “figure it out”. I try to know myself and to be good company to myself. I try my best to be a person I feel good about and then I try to forgive myself when I don’t quite manage it. In all cases, I do my best to speak to myself with honesty, kindness and love.
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 can get wildly impatient, judgmental and despairing when I feel like I’m not blooming fast enough, damn it! There is so much that I want to do, see, create, experience that I can be relentless in my self-demands – and I get mad when I can’t keep up! I can burn my energy out, fuelling myself with adrenalin and caffeine and fast, nutritionless food thinking that, at least for a time, it will help me get farther faster. Nope.
I see this struggle as my journey to grow my self-compassion so that I can hold with love both my desires and my limitations. I’m still working on it.
I am so grateful to Jamie, for taking part in this series and for so many other kindnesses. I absolutely adore her. To find out more about Jamie, to connect with her:
- Visit her website
- Listen to her Podcast, Creative Living with Jamie
- Follow Jamie Ridler Studios on Facebook
- Follow her on Twitter
Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Jennifer Matesa.
P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning. Or make your way through all the posts tagged Self-Compassion Saturday.
Jamie is an incredible person and coach. I loved getting to know even more about her. Once again she has given me something to think about.
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