Healing the self means committing ourselves to a wholehearted willingness to be what and how we are — beings frail and fragile, strong and passionate, neurotic and balanced, diseased and whole, partial and complete, stingy and generous, twisted and straight, storm-tossed and quiescent, bound and free. ~Paula Gunn Allen
1. Truth: Change always begins with awareness. When something clearly isn’t working, no longer serves me (if it ever did), I am faced with “how do I chance this pattern, this habitual way of being?” At first, all I need to do is notice how things are. I sit back, relax, and observe without any judgement or agenda. I watch what arises, notice how I react, see how things really are. I don’t do anything to intervene, don’t need to interrupt or redirect. I am simply a curious witness. All I have to do is slow down and see.
The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently. ~Pema Chödrön
2. Truth: This initial observation is helped by a sense of curiosity and humor, a quality of gentleness. If I notice things I don’t like, I don’t spend any energy assigning blame. I don’t disagree or beat myself up. If I notice things I like, I don’t cling to them. If I’m confused, I don’t get upset or give up. I continually remind myself that my goal is to see the situation as it is. i don’t need to do anything about it.
Self-compassion is approaching ourselves, our inner experience with spaciousness, with the quality of allowing which has a quality of gentleness. Instead of our usual tendency to want to get over something, to fix it, to make it go away, the path of compassion is totally different. Compassion allows. ~Robert Gonzales
3. Truth: Long before I embody change, I practice pausing. There’s no shortcut for me from awareness to change, but rather I find myself noticing and then pausing. After the pause, I might act out exactly as I always have. On the surface it may seem like nothing has changed, and yet something fundamental has shifted. I can see what is happening. I notice and pause. Even if I act out in a habitual way, I don’t beat myself up about it. I know if I keep practicing, I may one day rest in the pause, and even later still I might make a different choice, embody real change.
We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ~Pema Chödrön
One wish: May we let ourselves off the hook, forgive ourselves. May we stop smashing ourselves to bits. May we be gentle. May we slow down and notice — all the ways we are suffering and all the ways we are brilliant. May we allow room for all of it: grief, relief, misery, and joy.