San Diego

Mindful Self-Compassion Breathing Meditation

Clouds above Pacific Ocean at La Jolla Shores photo by Mary Marcdante
“One for me and one for you.”

As you read that, what did you think? Did you question what I meant? Did you judge it as selfish because I put myself first? Did you feel included? Did you worry about others who might not feel included or just start scrolling?

In my #mindfulselfcompassion teacher training practicum through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (an awesome community), one of the core meditations we are practicing is “Giving and Receiving Compassion” using the breath. Any breath you take can become a wish for yourself and another.

If you’re someone who always puts others first, and then feels exhausted, resentful, disappointed or any negative feeling that depletes your energy, research has shown that self-compassionate people tend to be more caring, supportive and compassionate with others, less jealous, and better compromisers. The challenge is giving yourself the same care you give others.

Drawing on the Creative Life Force and breathing in good wishes first for yourself gives you the energy to send it to others.

On your inhale, if it feels right, say “Breathing in for me” and on the exhale, “Breathing out for you.” Or actually, any words that conjure up a feeling of care for yourself and another person or group, country, pet, or the earth. “One for me, one for you.” Or “In for me, out for you,” or even as simple as “Me” on the inhale and “You” on the exhale repeated for as long as you like in a slower-than-normal breathing rhythm while savoring the feelings in your body. Adding a smile can help connect your mind and body and shift your energy from stressed to blessed.

This meditation can be done silently when you’re in a stressful conversation with someone, worried about someone, or just thinking of them. You can do it for one cycle of inhale/exhale that takes just a few seconds or 15 minutes in formal sitting practice, or for a minute when you wake up before you get out of bed, just before sleep, while walking or even sitting on the toilet while you are rationing toilet paper. “One for me. One for you.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little levity given how serious everything is with #coronavirusprotocol and #coronavirusstress.

“One for me and one for you. One for All Beings and one for the Earth.”

 

PS. If you like this or have other topics you’d like to learn more about, please leave a comment or share your favorite meditation. I love hearing from you.

What Inspires You in Difficult Times?

As I finished my meditation early this morning I had this really pleasant wave of gratitude flow through me for the gift of being alive. It’s amazing to me that such a little moment, “a fleeting nanosecond actually” compared to all the “Big Moment” experiences I’ve had out in the world, can bring on such a deep feeling of peace and fulfillment. It’s as if my whole body is smiling.

After this swell swept through me, I had this thought: what if the next adventure after death is even better than this? I felt excited, rather than afraid as I normally feel. Not that I want to die anytime soon to find out what’s next. This life, even with its challenges, is still so full of inspiration, especially when I choose to pause and be present to it, that it brings me to tears. Did you see the full moon the other night! And that sunset! And the clouds at sunrise yesterday morning over the ocean as a storm was rolling in at Torrey Pines Beach!

I’m reminded of my friend Krista Green, a brilliant personal branding coach and equally wise and bright light in my world.

Shortly after I met her, we went to a concert at Humphrey’s at the Bay here in San Diego to hear the awesome singer/songwriter Keb Mo. After the concert, which was so full of good juju, we were walking out to the car and I asked her a question I like to ask new people I meet:

“What do you do to stay inspired in difficult times?”

She responded without a pause, “I don’t.”

I was stunned. In all the years I’ve asked that question, I’ve never heard that answer. The circuits in my brain literally jammed for a second. When my mind came back, I asked, almost a little indignantly, “What do you mean you don’t?”

She smiled and said, “I just live in what is and that always inspires me.”

Thanks, Krista. Now I remember.

This moment, I live in gratitude for the gift of being alive and I am inspired. What about you?