Self Compassion Meditation
I just posted a Self Compassion Meditation on my Free Meditations page. Below is the text for that meditation, which you are also welcome to read for yourself. Thanks to Kristin Neff, whose workshop on Self Compassion I attended, and based this on her guided self-compassion meditation at that workshop.
Make sure you're sitting comfortably with both feet on the floor, and if you feel comfortable doing so allow your eyes to close.
Feel your weight resting in the chair, which is resting on the floor, which is resting on the Earth.
Bring your attention to your breathing, noticing the sensations of breathing in your belly as you breathe in, and noticing the sensations of breathing as you breathe out.
There may be sounds in the background, or thoughts going on in your own mind, that's fine, just let those things continue and bring your attention back to your breathing.
Sometimes one's attention is like a toddler or a puppy, running around and trying to get away. Just gently, with as much tenderness as you can, guide that toddler or puppy back, bringing your attention back to the sensations of breathing.
Slowly begin to scan through your body, starting with your feet. Noticing the sensations in your feet, if they feel warm or cold, or maybe tingly.
Letting go of the feet, slowly scan through your heels and ankles, scanning slowly up your legs, through your knees, and all the way up your legs to your hips. Notice the bones and joints of the hips and legs, and the muscles and skin.
Notice if there's any tightness or tension in your legs and hips that doesn't need to be there right now, and let it go.
Then, letting go of the legs, bring your attention to your fingers and hands. Notice if they feel warm or cold, dry or clammy. Notice the sensations of the fingers and hands.
Letting go of the fingers and hands, slowly scan through your wrists, and all the little bones in your wrists, slowly up your arms through your elbows, and all the way up your arms to your shoulders. Notice the bones and joints of the shoulders and arms, and the muscles around the bones, and the skin all around your arms and shoulders.
Notice if there's any tightness or tension in your shoulders and arms that doesn't need to be there right now, and let it go.
Then, letting go of the arms and shoulders, bring your attention to your torso. Notice the skin around your torso. Notice the sensations in your abdomen. Notice the sensations in your chest.
Bring your attention to the back of your body and notice the sensations there. Slowly scan up your spine, vertebra by vertebra, up your back and neck, noticing the sensations in your neck and throat.
Notice the sensations of your skull and jaw, and the muscles and skin of your face and scalp.
Notice if there is tension or pain in any part of your body, and fill that part of your body with your breath, allowing it to relax.
Now I want you to find a gesture of self compassion, maybe holding one hand with the other hand, or putting both hands on your heart, or giving yourself a hug.
Holding yourself like you would a friend, just letting them know that you're there for them.
Notice the sensations of your own touch. Maybe you feel the warmth or coolness of your own hand. Maybe you feel your own heartbeat.
Notice what it feels like to take that in, taking in this love and kindness that you have for yourself, even if it's hard.
Now I encourage you to try a different gesture, maybe holding your face or rubbing your shoulder or your neck.
Touching yourself like you would a friend who is having some trouble, letting them know that you're there for them, and that it will be ok.
Noticing the sensations of your own touch, notice what it feels like to take in this compassion, this reassurance that you have for yourself.
You can stay with this gesture, or create your own gesture of self compassion, maybe giving yourself a hug or putting your hands on your knees.
Holding yourself like you would a friend, just letting them know that you're there.
Notice what it feels like to take in this compassion, this love and kindness that you have for yourself.
Remember that this gesture of self-compassion is always available to you, as a way of letting yourself know that you're there for yourself, reminding you of the love and compassion that you have for yourself.
Now go back to the sensations of breathing in your belly, noticing the sensations when you inhale, and noticing the sensations when you exhale.
Take a couple of deep breaths, letting each breath out, maybe with a sigh.
In a moment I'm going to invite you to open your eyes, but when you do so you don't have to focus on anything.
In your own time, very softly, allow your eyes to open, and slowly bring your awareness back to the outside world.