WHEN THE STRESS IS JUST TOO BIG – DAY 2
So, this business of talking to ourselves. On Day 1 of this course I mentioned the internal angry, disciplinarian parent-voice. But maybe you have a more helpful voice. Does it say: “Come on, take a breath, breathe out, drop your shoulders”?
Today’s invitation is to notice when the instructions you’re telling yourself come in the tone of a bossy, unfriendly elder.
Listen in, pay attention to the fine detail. Are you still impatient with yourself? Do you care that you are have having a tough time today? Does this voice still wish you’d just “get over it”?
Let’s be clear, this part of us is in fact trying to help. And there isn’t much that they say that isn’t true. It’s more the unkind way the voice is saying it.
This is so crucial to the whole endeavour of self-help.
The ‘tone of voice’ we use towards ourself can go a long way to shifting our distress. If we discover an ability to meet our pain with kindness and compassion, this in itself can make a radical difference to the experience. We are changing our relationship to ourself – healing pain that was seeded in childhood.
I invite you to have a go now, placing a hand onto your heart or tummy and saying, “I feel your pain, I am here with you, I care”, breathing a slow breath out and letting the kindness soak in. If there’s no kindness – stay with this course! I will come to that on a later day. I have something that will help, I promise.
In the moment of being kind to ourself, the problem in the outer world may not have gone away but the inner world is now more hospitable.
As the saying goes, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
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Naomi Shihab Nye: Kindness
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.