January 5, 2019
….when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “There but for fortune go I.” Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?
- Dr. Kristin Neff
So I’m participating in a 5 week Compassion Challenge let by Elizabeth Kittell – a Yogi that I absolutely adore. The first time I ever met her I knew I wanted to be in her “space”. Her energy is pure and her light is so bright! She told me about her Yoga retreats on the river and I immediately decided that was on my bucket list. I didn’t even have a bucket list at the time! This was over 2 years ago and I still have not made the time, allocated the resources, or made this a priority. So when I saw her at the Women Ignite Conference in October and she told me she was doing and online Compassion Challenge – I knew this was my chance to connect with her and ease myself into eventually making the commitment to fulfill my bucket list.
This challenge is proving to be exactly what I need. Did I mention yet that I’m not a fan of yoga? In all fairness, I haven’t really ever given it much of a chance. Probably because every time I’ve tried it I’ve not liked it. At all. I get confused on the poses. I’m not super coordinated and it takes me a while to really figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s difficult for me to try and watch the instructor and contort my body at the same time. My wrists are weak and most of the positions hurt. Instead of relaxed and Zen I feel anxious and tense. Between the pain in my body and the frustration of not being able to get it “right” I feel like crying. Why would I ever want to put something like a yoga retreat on the river on my bucket list? Because I see what it does for people who give it a chance. I want to give it a chance. I want to be able to generate the feeling of peace I feel when I am anywhere near Elizabeth. I want for my body what I know Yoga can do for it. I want movement, flow, peace, joy, zen….
So am I rocking the compassion challenge? That depends on how I look at it. We just finished week 1. I did the first movement assigned and it was definitely a challenge. I wanted to cry, but somehow made it through and ended up laughing at myself trying to do one of the moves. I felt good after it was done. I was off to a great start. Then I fell behind. I missed a day and have been trying to play catch up. I have not been able to bring myself to even try the movements I missed. I’ve watched them though and she even has an assistant to show us what the movements and poses are supposed to look like which makes me want to try them… when I decide to make the time. I have not made it up at 6:30 am to any of the LIVE videos. I have watched them all, just not at 6:30 am! My assignment for the week was supposed to be turned in half an hour ago and it didn’t happen. AND –Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing myself, I am practicing being kind and understanding of my failure to complete the assignments – so YES, so far I AM rocking the compassion challenge in the way it was meant to be for me!
I’m learning a lot about myself with this challenge. I’ve realized that I have a pattern of not even trying things that I don’t think I can do well. I’ve realized that I often ignore my pain and that I set very high expectations for myself. And I’m learning to be kind and understanding of myself when I recognize these patterns and behaviors.
Rock on Roni, Rock on….