Category Archives: Healing

Self-Compassion Saturday: Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

Today is the first official day of the World Domination Summit, (WDS). I am trying not to be jealous or feel sad when I look at all the pictures and updates being posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s kind of like having to stay home from summer camp or missing a school field trip because you are sick, knowing how much fun everyone is having, feeling a little left out and sorry for yourself. And yet, I know it was the right thing for me to not go this year, that Dexter needed me here, that I need the time to grieve his loss, (and besides, I spent so much money on it last year, I really couldn’t justify spending more, again, so soon).

One of the best things about WDS is the people you meet, the connections you make with those who are doing similar work and have similar ideas, who share your intentions and your experience. Last year at WDS, I was lucky enough to meet Anne-Sophie Reinhardt. Without planning to, we kept running into each other over the course of the weekend, sitting together and talking about the things we had in common. I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with her. She has the biggest heart, makes you feel immediately safe and at ease, and she has the best smile, the greatest laugh.

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Anne-Sophie in a WDS hammock, 2013

Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is a body image expert, self-love advocate and the author of Love Your Body The Way It Is. Join her newsletter and receive your free 3-part video series helping you to break free from your obsession with food and your body. On her website’s about page she says,

For the longest time, I was caught in a circle of self-doubt and self-loathing. Now, I’m free, confident and happy with myself and my body. My mission is to help you achieve the same.

And,

I write on, teach and live self-love and body-love. Sometimes, I even breathe it … I believe that every single woman can find peace around food and her body. I dream of creating a world where women love themselves unabashedly, completely and guiltlessly.

I am so grateful for the work Anne-Sophie is doing, the difference she is making, to me and in the world. And I am so happy to be able to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.

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1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

To me, self-compassion means having a binge and not beating yourself up. It means looking in the mirror and saying to yourself: Yes, love, your stomach isn’t perfect, but I love you anyway. It means laughing when you make a mistake instead of going into self-attack and it means responding to your ever-present critic in the head with a loud and clear “Fuck You”.

Self-compassion is a skill that every woman can learn. It’s a process that you commit to and once you decide to go from self-attacking mode to self-compassionate mode, your life completely changes.

Self-compassion helps to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. It’s the elixir of self-care and the golden heart of a self-loving person.

Self-compassion also means taking a bath at the end of a hard day, learning to say no when you’re exhausted and hell yes when something really exciting. Self-compassion doesn’t always feel good to you but it’s always good for you.

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?

Big question. I think that I’m still very much on the path to learning self-compassion. I never had a specific teacher or even a guru, but through my recovery from anorexia, I’ve read a lot, sat in meditation for days, tried, failed and tried again. I’ve learned to first not act on the constant critic’s advice and then I learned to respond to it in a different way. There were days when it was easy not to be so very hard on myself and there were and still are many days, where WWIII is happening in my body and mind.

Two steps forward. One step back.

That’s reality, life and a true self-loving path. If you can accept that, truly accept it, then you’re one step closer to a wholly self-compassionate life.

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

My number one way of showing self-compassion is to nourish my body with healthful, delicious food. I’ve been negating myself food for 14 years and it’s still my weakness. Another way to practice self-compassion is meditation. For about 8 months, I’ve been meditating every morning instead of running to the computer and letting the craziness of the day into my world. This lets me start my day with deep introspection and I always feel more balanced, which leads to being kinder to myself.  I often treat myself to a mani/pedi when I’m in a big self-attack mode or I simply go for a walk in nature, which never fails to ground me and helps me to see what’s really important. Also, when I had a fight with a loved one or I’ve made a mistake, I am kinder with myself as I used to be. It takes presence and practice in those moments, but the more often I do it the more intuitive a self-compassionate response gets.

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?

Lots of things. How to not be so hard on myself when my business doesn’t do as well as I’d like it to go. How to be at peace even when I can’t work out for a few days. How to be present and grateful for being myself instead of always looking for the future. I still need to understand what complete peace of mind feels like, but I trust the process and I know that one day soon, I’ll know or I won’t. Either way, I’ll be more grounded, happier and kinder to myself and others.

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I am so grateful for Anne-Sophie, for her responses — so genuine, just like her. I love how she described self-compassion as “the golden heart of a self-loving person.” To find out more about Anne-Sopie, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Susan Piver.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Day of Rest

*sigh*

This picture is the last one I took at Lee Martinez Park, the place we walk almost every day, sometimes twice. On that morning, that walk, I had no idea that the next day would be the day Dexter died. I knew it was coming, we’d known for a year it was on its way, but on that particular morning it still felt unknown, uncertain, undetermined.

We haven’t been back to Lee Martinez since Thursday morning, the last time we walked there with Dexter, the walk we took knowing it would be our last. We’ve been to City Park, Big South Trail, and this morning we walked at Colorado State University, but we haven’t been back to “our park.” It still feels too hard, too sad.

We’ve managed other grief hurdles. Eric cleaned the living room floor yesterday. The raw wood in that room was covered with tiny spots where Dexter’s nose had dripped, (because of his cancer, he basically had a constant runny nose). I washed some of the blankets from his bed, along with his Little D baby, (I’d originally planned to have him cremated with Big D but in the end I couldn’t stand to lose them both). Eric brought home his ashes, and I put those on top of his mostly empty crate, along with his collar and a clay paw print.

memorialWhen I’m able to, I’ll open the ashes and put some in the urns I have that contain Obi’s ashes (one is on my writing desk and another on my meditation shrine) — I left room for Dexter so they’d be together again, they loved each other so much.

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I still haven’t been able to put clean sheets on our bed (the ones that are there were slept on by Dexter) and his toothbrush is still on the counter, and I’m still putting a tiny offering of food in his bowl every time I feed Sam. I know it’s silly, but I was devastated yesterday when I went out to do poop patrol in the backyard and couldn’t find any of Dexter’s. I was so sad that I’d never get to pick up anymore of his poop — that’s a crazy kind of love.

Eric has been dealing with his grief, in part, by cooking. Yesterday, he made three pies. We did a pie drive by to our friends’ house last night because even as much as I love pie, we couldn’t eat it all ourselves.

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Jamie Ridler’s mom, who also had cancer, passed the day after Dexter. Jamie invited me a few weeks ago to do a guest post in honor of her mom, the prompt being something her mom had recently said, “It’s not about being tough, it’s about being tender.” I have so much to say about that, will be finishing up my post and sending it to sweet Jamie later today. These losses (something we all face as we live and love), this prompt, has me thinking about how important it is that we have confidence in our basic goodness, the essential wisdom and compassion and power that rests in each of us, that we practice self-compassion and keep our hearts open, knowing that life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

In this audio recording, Pema Chödrön talks about basic goodness. She tells a story about burnt cookies and a fox that is such a great metaphor for how we can approach difficulty — we can allow ourselves to become hard, closed off, or we can stay open to reality, to be present for whatever might arise. Yes this means we will be vulnerable, we’ll get hurt, but we will also be amazed, healed.

My heart is broken right now. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. But there is so much worth showing up for. Such as:

A chance to get away. We hadn’t wanted to do this when Dexter was still here, were worried about being too far away from a vet if something happened. But now, sometime soon, the three of us are going to rent a cabin in the mountains and spend some time together in the green and the quiet.

Pie. Especially the ones made by my person, who is as sad as me, who knows just how I feel, just what I’m missing, who will talk all day about what we’ve lost and never get tired of it, who wants to do whatever he can to make me feel better.

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Friends, near and far, sending us love and light. So many have reached out to me, offering such kindness, making this heavy thing so much easier to hold.

The sweet animal bodies that are still here, that long for love and need care. It’s Sam’s turn to become my favorite, and when we are all ready, there will be another dog.

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Laughter. Last night, on the way to our friends’ house to deliver the pie, Eric suggested that they expected this happy gift of pie, so it would be funny if when they opened the door, we gave them a pie in the face instead. It was such a ridiculous and awful idea we laughed the rest of the way to their house. It felt good.

Brilliant nature — blooms and fruit and animals and trees and landscapes and sky and deep water and weather.

Practice. Yoga, meditation, writing, and dog — this regular attention, showing up and being open to whatever arises, moving in ways old and new, creativity and discovery, is medicine.

Music. I heard this song for the first time yesterday, and am totally in love.

because nothing lasts forever
some things aren’t meant to be
but you’ll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free

I’m so sad, kind and gentle reader, but at the same time I am so in love with my little life, my heart so full of every last wonderful thing that sometimes it feels like it will explode.