Category Archives: Trust Tending

Self-Compassion Saturday: Kristin Noelle

I am so pleased to be introducing you to Kristin Noelle’s perspective on self-compassion today, kind and gentle reader. She is every bit as kind and gentle as you, is the most generous, warm-hearted person. Time and time again she has offered me inspiration and comfort, freely and without ever having met me. Just yesterday, she made a video Trust Note that was exactly what I needed to hear.

Kristin describes herself this way, “I’m a trust coach. I write, speak, teach, make art, and listen deeply, all to help trust grow,” because “I see trust as our world’s most potent source of transformation.” She describes her Trust Tending work as “nourishing Life beyond fear.”

KristinNoelle1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

When I think of self-compassion, I often hear in my mind a line from Sarah McLachlan’s song “Adia”: We are born innocent. And then further, We are *still* innocent. We make messes of things absolutely, and hurt ourselves and one another in all sorts of ways. But at heart, I believe we’re each, given our genetic make-up and life experiences, doing the best we can.

The more closely I look at the harm we cause and the messes we make, the more I see scared, childlike parts of us just responding like children do. Which elicits something so different than judgment for me. I feel sadness about the fear, and sometimes anger at all that causes fear to take root. But my basic stance toward those scared, childlike parts is kindness.

Self-compassion is me extending this kindness, and this confidence in my core innocence, to my own self – even when I wish my feelings or actions or nature could be different.

whocanfathom

art by Kristin Noelle

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?

In my early twenties (I’m nearing 40 now), I suffered the loss of my childhood faith. By that I don’t mean faith *in general*, but a particular worldview I’d known and been devoted to since childhood. That loss so befuddled family, friends, and mentors, that I found myself, quite shockingly to my good-girl self, making a choice between maintaining the approval of so many I cared about, and honoring my own soul. I chose the latter.

Something about that experience cracked me wide open. It was so unexpected and painful, and preceded by such pure-hearted devotion, that I felt like my eyes got totally remade. Instead of the lines I’d previously seen around “good” and “bad”, “holy” and “profane”, I started to see the childlike innocence in everyone around me: in myself, as I pursued truth and integrity the best ways I knew how; in those around me at the time, whose religious identities and experiences caused them to think me gone astray; in those who had no context to understand or appreciate the misery my loss of faith was causing me.

I more readily saw with eyes of compassion than ever before.

Through that time and all these many years since, many authors and teachers put words to this deep innocence I started to see, deepening my sense of it. These included poets David Whyte and Mary Oliver; novelists Shusaku Endo, Chaim Potok, Paulo Coelho, Sue Monk Kidd; memoirists Etty Hillesum, Will Campbell, Karen Armstrong, Anne Lammott, Rachel Naomi Remen; philosophers Rene Girard, Jacque Ellul; psychologists/psychotherapists Carl Jung, Richard Schwartz, Carol Dweck; Buddhist/spiritual teachers Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, Adyashanti, Meher Baba.

I’m sure I’m forgetting more folks who have shaped me deeply.

art by Kristin Noelle

art by Kristin Noelle

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

Self-compassion takes many forms for me, but I think they all begin with consciousness – getting conscious of judgmental, critical, or shame-based thoughts about myself. The more I practice awareness, even when I don’t follow up on that awareness with self-kindness, the more I feel myself changing. I feel much more resilient now than I was five or ten or even one year ago, for example – much more able to shift out of non-compassion and into compassion once I notice myself lacking it.

I consider thoughts like, “Huh. I’m being critical of myself right now,” totally worth celebrating.

art by Kristin Noelle

art by Kristin Noelle

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 struggle to accept my pace a lot – related to goals around work, goals around my yard and home, changes I’d like to make in habits and relationships. My pace feels slower than I’d wish it to be. I imagine myself looking back on the me of today with so much compassion for the shame I feel around that, and the suffering that my impatience with myself causes me.

kristinselfieI don’t know about you, but I feel calmer, more peaceful simply reading Kristin’s answers, looking at her art, seeing her kind smile — this is the impact her work, her presence, her offerings always have on me, and why I am filled with so much gratitude and love for her, today and always. To find out more about Kristin, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Anna Guest-Jelley.

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

Something Good (on a Tuesday)

1. This quote from David Whyte, from his Readers’ Circle Essay, “Self Knowledge.”

Self-knowledge is not clarity or transparency or knowing how everything works, self-knowledge is a fiercely attentive form of humility and thankfulness, a sense of the privilege of a particular form of participation. It is a coming to know of the way we hold the conversation of life, and perhaps, above all, the miracle that there is a particular something rather than an abstracted nothing and that we are a very, very particular part of that particular something.

2. My 30-Day Blog Love Affair:: Day #1. It’s on! from Flora Bowley.

3. The Definition of Practice on Elephant Journal, in which James Carpenter says, “And what does not practicing mean? I think it means dealing with those times when you feel like you’re not good enough, strong enough or prepared enough to get what you want.”

Also on Elephant Journal, Finding the Courage to Be Yourself by Aimee Hoefler.

4. From Jennifer Boyken:

Did you grow up hearing this: “Don’t cry or I’ll give you a reason to cry.” If you rebelled, even just a little, did you hear: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself?”

Society and parenting was different a generation ago. Many little girls were raised to blend in and not make a ruckus. As a result, many of us are still uncomfortable and inexperienced at expressing anger. Instead, it comes out sideways — via depression, moodiness, passive aggressiveness, and the like.

5. 10 Reasons Why You Have To Quit Your Job This Year on Thought Catalog.

6. From Tama J. Kieves,

You will let go of attachment in your own right time. You will leap. You will stay. You will know what to do. Never believe you are doing it wrong. You are doing it the way you are doing it and that will teach you everything.

7. From Pema Chödrön,

The path of meditation and the path of our lives altogether has to do with curiosity, inquisitiveness. The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later. People often say to me, “I wanted to come and have an interview with you, I wanted to write you a letter, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I wanted to wait until I was more together.” And I think, “Well, if you’re anything like me, you could wait forever!” So come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.

8. How I Finally Gave Up Dieting, by Annabel Adams, a guest post on A Weight Lifted.

9. The Best Life Advice From Maya Angelou on Flavorwire.

10. Powering Down from Judy Clement Wall, which includes a bunch of good links, including Show the World Your Magic, a post by artist Mati Rose, and Relax. You’re Already Ok. Also: Pimp Suits in which Meg Worden says “But you should also know that just surviving all of the intensity and grief you have had to survive in this one go-round and still waking up every day and making a play for love is so beautiful it could crush my heart.”

11. Simplify for Your Best Health from Be More With Less. If I had to do a purge, this is one of the blogs that I simply would not give up.

12. Rodger Ebert died this week, only one day after I’d heard that his cancer had come back, barely enough time to comprehend that news before there was worse. A few of his quotes that I’ve been carrying around this week are:

Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

And this,

When I am writing, my problems become invisible, and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.

He wrote a piece for Salon in 2011, I do not fear death, in which he said, “I will pass away sooner than most people who read this, but that doesn’t shake my sense of wonder and joy.”

13. My Well-Fed Life: Laura Simms, from Rachel Cole, in which Laura says, among other brilliant and wise things, “Well-fed is asking ‘what are you truly hungry for?’ and daring to act on the answer.”

14. Reasons My Son Is Crying–you’ll want to laugh, you’ll want to cry.

15. Finding Me Some Outgoing Guts and Imagination from the amazing teacher and wild writer Laurie Wagner. (P.S. I get to finally tell her to her sweet face how much I adore her later this year).

16. From Brave Girls Club Daily Truth Email, something I really needed to hear,

Sometimes the things that are tugging at our hearts come with strings attached that feel too risky, too difficult, to scary to follow.

Sometimes we keep doing the same things day after day, even though we are treading AGAINST the water, even though we really want to be doing something else, even though we want to be somewhere else or with someone else, even though all signs point to a totally different direction.

You know what you are supposed to do, lovely…you know the answer. Your intuition has been telling you for SUCH a long time, and every day that goes by, the little messages keep getting stronger, the miracles keep showing up, the signs keep appearing….in ways that you can not deny.

It doesn’t matter if your path is not a common one. It doesn’t matter if some people will not understand…sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether WE understand all of it. What matters is that you follow YOUR heart…that you listen to YOUR soul….that you do what YOU are meant to do.

That’s what matters. Now, get busy….you know what to do. You are so loved. xoxo

17. This truth, from My Son is Smarter than Me on Nourishing the Soul,

We are all born with a natural sense of what our bodies need to flourish. Nature doesn’t want us to eat too much or too little. It wants us to grow into the size and shape that’s right for us – and that takes eating as much as is right for us. Not as much as some “expert” tells us is the right amount. If we can cut through all the static, we are our own experts.

18. Some really important questions from Kristin Noelle’s post on Trust Tending, Where the race for change can’t lead, “How can my soul come more alive? How can I say YES to my callings? How can I cultivate what it takes to live beyond the dictates of my fear?”

19. 30 Beautiful Things Happening Now from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. This wisdom from a post on Scoutie Girl, A Little Restraint Goes a Long Way, “A little restraint goes a long way and it doesn’t work for me if it starts to touch on my inherent worth as a human being. As soon as refraining is beating myself up I’ve lost the game.”

21. sunken treasure – the house of sophie schellekens, a link originally shared in this post on decor8, Inspired by Plants.

22. How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen, a guest post by Jules Clancy on Zen Habits.

23. On Being a Teacher by Susannah Conway. She is such an inspiration to me, how she is making her living.

24. good reads: elle decor uk. from SF Girl by Bay.

25. Your Daily Life: Only Kindness Matters on 37 Days, Patti Digh’s blog.

26. Note from The Universe,

And the day will come when all of the gold in the world will not appeal to you as much, Jill, as just one more day of being who and where you already are, with what you already have. If it hasn’t already.

27. Olivia Rae James, who takes gorgeous photographs, shared by SF Girl by the Bay in this post.

28. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: 3 Paths Toward a More Creative Life, and How to do less and live more from Kris Carr (did I share this already?).

29. Thoughts on the Creative Career by Ze Frank

30. Happiness Images In Sidewalk Art, Stickers, Magnets And More (PHOTOS) on Huffington Post.

31. What’s in my Fridge by Kris Carr.

32. This wisdom, a wish and a warning, “In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness,” Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.