SELF-KINDNESS: This is hard. This is not the moment to be the perfect mother or father, the perfect wife or husband, daughter, son, the perfect student, or the perfect professional. This is a moment to be supportive with your tribe, but most importantly, with yourself. Try not to be critical with yourself if your house is not in order, if you ate cereal instead of veggies, or if your kid is on hour #2 of Netflix. Instead, we offer ourselves "unconditional acceptance" of what is right now. Soothing Touch Exercise (less than 5 minutes): Give yourself a hug if you are comfortable. Put your hands over your heart, cheek, belly, wherever it feels conformable to you. Spend a couple of minutes and let the feelings flourish- welcome them- whatever they might be. And just as you would with a friend or a family member, BE KIND to yourself.
COMMON HUMANITY: Not in our lifetime have we felt so interconnected, so interdependent to one another. I am suffering, but so is my brother, my neighbor, my family, my colleagues, someone I dont know in Spain, or Italy or China, or Colombia- we share a commonality: we are all human and we all suffer- we are all suffering- and for the first time in our lives, the suffering goes beyond our gender, race, ethnicity, age, economic status... This is a moment in time, where we cannot escape the concept of common humanity, because what I do- directly affects people around me- and in turn, directly affects me. But every moment of suffering can be transformed into a moment of connection with others. Journal Exercise (less than 10 minutes): Connect in words or through art or in whatever way you are inspired, with the pain of others. Feel it and allow it- now connect with your own suffering. It might not be the same, but we are all working through difficult emotions now... find that common humanity in all of us. When you are ready, write a hopeful message to someone you dont know, even if they wont be able to see it, send that energy to that person(s). If you want to go one step further, there are several ways to contribute to those experiencing loneliness overseas, including sending emails to those that are alone in the hospital diagnosed with COVID-19 with no visitors. (I can come back to this if people are interested).
MINDFULNESS: I want to leave this poem that I found so beautiful by kitty-omeara:
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
Finally, the very basis of Mindful-Self Compassion, is such a simple question, that it almost seems strange, but I hope that you ask it to yourselves around these times and that you are able to truly answer it: What do I need right now?
Sending you all healing hugs and calm energy,
Carolina Rios, M.A.
Coordinator for Center for Human Rights and Social Justice
Project Director 1HTC