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Mindful : April 2015
1 Practice Self- Compassion 1 Ask yourself: What would the kindest response to this level of pain be right in this moment under these circumstances? 2 Try this simple practice (cour- tesy of Kristin Neff): • Acknowledge the pain: “Yes, this hur ts right now.” • Emotionally and men- tally connect to the brother- or sisterhood of people with (your kind of) pain. Specific example: “This is what it feels like for a young man to have lower back pain.” • Offer kindness to yourself: “May I be kind to myself,” “May I not close down my hear t,” or a simi- lar phrase. 3 If you are feeling low on resources—maybe tired or stressed out from work—and it feels like way too much, why not distract yourself? Watch a movie, read a novel, call a friend. In shor t: use the self- medication that works the best for you—and hopefully is not illegal. These activities can also help to recharge you. 2 Turn Toward the Pain If you feel like you can work with the pain, do a quick inventory: How strong are the sensations? The emotions? The stor y (mental worry)? Which of the three is predomi- nant? If the image works for you, picture a pie char t. Right now, which par t has the big- gest slice of the pie? Work with that one. 1 Sensations: Place attention on, or “feel into” (as I some- times say), the physical pain. Does imagining breathing into it help? Be curious and specific. Stay with what’s there now, not what was there last time or five minutes ago. What is the exact size of the pain? How much of the body is NOT in pain? (I once worked with a student with severe back pain who realized that the pain he experienced as debilitating usually accounted for only a quar ter of his sensa- tions—while the rest of his body was pain free. That was a big breakthrough for him.) Where is it located? What are its qualities? Is it sharp, rough, dull, burning, pressing, flashing, undulating, stab- bing, tearing? If you relate to scales: What intensity does it have on a scale from zero to 10—zero being no pain and 10 the strongest pain you can imagine? → Practice: Working With Your Pain mindful practices insight 74 mindful April 2015 Beginner’s Mind Zen Retreat Karen Maezen Miller April 17–19, 2015 Radical Responsibility: A Pathway to Personal Freedom, Self-Empowerment & Authentic Relationships Fleet Maull April 24–26, 2015 Mindful Self-Compassion Workshop Steven Hickman & Michelle Becker April 26–May 1, 2015 The Mindful Leader: How Mindfulness Meditation Cultivates Natural Leadership Talents Michael Carroll May 1–3, 2015 Mindful Communication: Living Compassionately with Others and Ourselves Dian Killian May 8–10, 2015 Introducing Connecticut’s Premier Retreat Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Practice. copperbeechinstitute.org Offering more than 40 transformational retreats, professional trainings, and MBSR courses to help you live a life of compassion, calm, and true happiness.