As the season changes from winter to springtime, it brings me to a pause to consider “newness.” There are so many forms of newness all around us. I love when the Bradford Pears first blossom. When I drive and see pastures full of them, they look like trees covered in snow. Whew. And then when the green comes behind the white blossoms, it's the most fresh color of lime green there is. And with the backdrop of everything else still being brown, that color just POPS! This is SUCH a favorite sight of mine in Springtime! Then, there’s new grass coming up. In my back yard, the grass under the trees comes up first because it is grass specifically for shade, and it loves to green itself wayyy early. It looks like carpet and feels like carpet under my feet. What a beautiful shade of “brand new” green. My husband only has to mow those parts at first because the rest of the grass isn’t quite ready to make its debut yet. The trees are budding out their leaves. If you get close to them, you see the itty bitty buds forming on every end that they can possibly find to bring forth leaves. Speaking of that, have you ever watched new leaves as they come on? It fascinates me. Before my brain retraining journey, I for sure never paid close enough attention. But, now? Now, I notice how the leaves are itty bitty, and each day they get bigger and bigger until the reach their full size. Also, my tulips are standing at attention ready to open their bulbs. When did their stems come out? I missed seeing that! One, in fact, has opened and it is shining for all its red glory today. The pansies I planted last fall had their little bodies tucked underneath the warm leaves and they, too, are saying, “HELLO SPRING!” I love pansies. They are NOT “weak” as the meaning of their name defines them to be. I plant them in the fall, and they go through the cold cold winter, only to be ready when Spring comes to lift their heads (& they do it sometimes with snow on the ground, as well). They speak to me that no matter what people call them, they live up to a much grander truth. Then, there is newness in wildlife. New baby colts. New calves. Today I saw a friend who posted that they had two new baby goats. And so it is, the season of new beginnings.
What about for you? What is beginning anew and afresh for you? For me? This is my year of expansion. I see it. I feel it. I’m walking through what it takes to live it to its full intention. I’ve been seeing it coming, and I’m making note of all the possibilities I see and feel. I see a LOT, so I’m super curious to find out what is truly going to come to fruition. What are all the new things I will get to embrace this year? One of those is the newness of a new granddaughter, born in January, and the opportunity I have to keep her two days a week. This Grammi is experiencing some nervousness as well as grandiose excitement! Maeven and I get to make memories together and build a lasting bond. She’s the 6th grandchild; the first granddaughter. What does all of this have to do with self-compassion? Those of us in this brain retraining journey are experiencing BRAND NEW all the time! We all “want our lives back.” All we have been able to see are the good things that were behind us that are not present right now. OR some of you honestly don’t have much recollection of good, and so you are curious what that even looks like. All of us find that once we get far enough down this road, that the past truly is gone, and the new is all we have. THIS necessitates a lot of self-compassion because we are building new neural pathways of hope and of resilience and of “new.” New. And when “normal” feelings of hesitation or resistance enter in (& THEY WILL) it is important to pause and to say something like, “Okay. It makes sense that I would be feeling this hesitance or resistance. It makes total sense. No wonder. I’ve been rebuilding my life and anyone would experience this.”
In fact, let’s take the 3 aspects of self-compassion and look at this through the lens of "the new."
Identify the situation: "I am concerned about adding in these new things. I can't adequately prepare because I can't see what I might need. I'd rather stay here in the comfortable. What if it doesn't go well?"
1) Acknowledge/name it as a moment of struggle. Kristin Neff calls it "suffering." I am really hurting and wondering right now how it is going to all turn out. I am wondering how I am going to do everything I feel I need/want to do. Yes, I am afraid. I see my struggle. I see my concern. I understand my feelings and concerns. New things scare me. I feel afraid. Yes. In fact, the new scares me. This particular thing, in fact, scares me. I feel hesitation. I feel inadequate. I'm think I even feel a bit unsafe
2) See that this is all common to humanity. These feelings, these emotions, these thoughts are quite common. Many people are experiencing very very similar to what I am feeling. In fact, I feel sure that at least one person is feeling SO close to the same as I am that we could join hands in this. And I am sure that MANY throughout history have also experienced very very similar! I am not the only one who feels these things in a moment of adjustment. I am together with others who are embarking on new things. There is a common bond among us. I take a moment and feel, sense, see that commonality. I find it in my body, and I take a moment to be with it.
3) Let me be purposeful about practicing kindness toward myself. May I be kind to myself. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need. May I understand myself. May I give myself all I need in this moment. May I validate myself. May I honor myself. May I give myself grace. May I see my strengths. May I know I am capable. May I know I am able. May I feel safe. May I feel brave. May I see my adequacy.
Now to finish this, one thing I LOVE to do after practicing some self-compassion is take myself into a visualization. So, returning to my example I gave of keeping my granddaughter, I can see myself and feel myself loving on her. I can feel myself kissing her sweet cheekies, and feeling her hands and feet as she sleeps. Yes. Yes. Yes. I can see myself knowing exactly what to do in her fussy moments. I can see the mirror neurons doing what they do when I smile at her. Her returning smile makes my day! It completes the circle! I can feel my regulated state, helping regulate her. I can see the love between us growing deeper and deeper by the day!
Following up a self-compassion practice with a visualization tops it off! I am now ready to move through my day with a positive mindset of victory and satisfaction!!!!!
I'm sure you have some sight to see how self-compassion can help us in those times when we are embarking on brand new things. We've been taught how to bring new things in incrementally, and now you can see how to add in self-compassion in the process! Self-compassion is an AMAZING tool to use in about every aspect of life that I can think of!
Jill White is a Life Purpose Coach® and has a certification in Wholebeing Positive Psychology from the Wholebeing Institute. She is passionate that all know their True Self and live within that beautiful person. She is a brain retrainer and is a learner of all things related. In her journey she became passionate about using Mindful Self-Compassion to love on and welcome that True Self. She is preparing to lead another series of classes around the self-compassion theme this summer (2023). She is also preparing a series of classes to explore how to practically embody tools that through positive neuroplastic brain changes can bring life and vitality in the midst of life's every day variables that will be ready in the near future. Feel free to email her if you are curious about one of these. For more information, email email@example.com, on Facebook at Pathway to the Heart or follow her on Instagram: @pathway2theheart