RAIN of Self-Compassion - Tara Brach

If you live in Nashville, TN, like me, congratulations. You are still living and you haven’t even gotten to really experience the sun since November.

If you don’t live in Nashville, TN, let me paint a picture: it’s been bleak as fuck and 50 shades of not sexy grey since November. 

 

A dear friend of mine and I literally had the following conversation in December:

Me: It’s so cold out.

Jess: I know. I was thinking earlier that it’s so cold, dark, spacious, still and quiet. It’s kind of like death. 

At the same time: 

      Me: I know, I hate it.

      Jess: I kinda like it.

Me: Of course you do.

inside+out+pixar+joy+sadness+getFIT615.jpeg

Can you guess which of us is which… and if you haven’t seen Inside Out, I highly recommend it. If you don’t know, it’s a Disney Pixar movie where the characters are feelings. The one in yellow is called “Joy”, the one who looks like she might be called sadness, is called “Sadness” and she’s played by Phyllis Smith who you probably know as Phyllis Vance (married to Bob Vance, of Vance Refrigeration) from The Office.


First of all,

before I really get going, I want to tell you something - when I first opened up getFIT615, I had no clue what I was doing. But what I did know, is that I was tired of hating my body and I was tired of seeing trainers and thinking that I had to live up to some unrealistic expectations. I was also tired of not knowing who I was or what I wanted. So I committed to something major: authenticity. I am committed to being a real example of what it looks like to take care of my body, my heart, my mind and my connection. That’s why I share stuff. That’s why I workout without a shirt on. That’s why I do what I do - to show anyone who pays any attention, in full transparency, what real life looks like for me and that I’m cool with whatever real life looks like for you. Struggles, joys, pain, laughter, choice, love, anger, fear, shame… all of it. I want to be somebody that 10 year old me needed, that 16 year old me needed, that 22 year old me needed. That 28 year old me needs.

Second of all, I won’t share something unless I’m ready. That’s me taking care of me… and that’s authentic.

Third of all, I hope that my use of the word fuck doesn’t offend you - I find it necessary and authentic for ME to emphasize whatever it is I’m talking about. “It’s been gloomy since November” doesn’t express my feelings in the same way “it’s been fucking gloomy as fuck since November” does. Also, I hope it doesn’t offend you and if it does, well, I guess it just does because I’m going to keep using it.


Here goes:

I literally bought a sun lamp off of Amazon and now it looks like there’s a sun IN my living room… it’s not warm, I’m not getting a tan, but I’m convinced the brightness helps. I haven’t wanted to eat any vegetables, I haven’t wanted to eat any meat, I actually haven’t wanted to eat much of anything except chocolate. I’ve had the strong urge to tell my friends to “fuck off.” Like, scream it from the roof tops. 

Me: “oh you want to pick my brain over coffee?! I’VE GOT A MILLION TRILLION THINGS I’D RATHER FUCKING DO THEN TAKE AN HOUR TO TELL YOU ABOUT WHAT I DO ON A DAILY BASIS AND HOW I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR HOUR LONG BREAKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY TO TELL YOU ABOUT MY HARD WORK SO YOU WON’T HAVE TO DO YOUR OWN. FUCK OFF. But yeah, I can make that work on Wednesday next week. Does that work for you?” 

Me:“Oh you’d like to spend time with me and hear about what’s going on in my life?! IF I WANTED YOU TO KNOW, I’D TELL YOU! FUCK OFF. But yeah, Friday afternoon I have some time where I can tell you about me and you can tell me to let it go. That always helps.” 

Me: “Can you help me do something?! OF COURSE YOU CAN’T CAUSE I CAN DO EVERYTHING BY MYSELF. FUCK OFF! But you’re right, I need to be better about delegating - let me take 3 hours next week to show you how to do this thing that I had to learn for myself.” 

Me: “Can I offer you a free training session FOR NOTHING IN RETURN?! OF FUCKING COURSE NOT BECAUSE MY TIME IS VALUABLE. FUCK OFF. But yeah, Saturday? That works for me.”

But what I realized this week is that I want to tell everyone to fuck off because I haven’t been taking care of myself and now I’m in protection mode. Like, serious out of control protection mode and it’s taking a toll on my relationships, and more importantly right now, my energy, my ability to be kind and compassionate, and my ability to see my work and my purpose clearly.

 

In the past six months, I’ve been recognizing so much pain and imbalance in the world. I’ve noticed it at home, in my friends, in opportunity, in privilege. I’m late to the game in recognizing my privilege and there’s a lot of shame in that for me - sometimes I feel so debilitated by it that I don’t see a way for me to help at all. If life’s a marathon, some people start at about mile 13 and some people start a marathon behind the starting line. I’m one of those people who got to start at mile 13… maybe even 14 or 15 - my parents are wonderful and love me, I have an excellent education, I’m white, I’m straight, I have no physical or mental disabilities, I have family all over the country who love me and welcome me in their homes. I like to think that I’m normal, but when it comes to privilege, I’m above average… way above average. 

 

Kids shouldn’t have to parent their parents, nor should they have to parent themselves.

Kids should have food to eat and clothes to wear.

Kids should get to be kids for as long as possible.

Social media is a really scary place.

Adults, especially men, need to behave like adults and keep their dick in their pants.

Everyone should be able to love who they love and be loved for that.

Women should be paid the same as their male counterparts.

No one should be raped. Ever.

I’d like to stop thinking about my #metoo stories.

Black people should be respected and loved.

Respect and love should be a common denominator for everyone of every color, every ability, every sexual orientation, every religion, every culture. EVERYONE. Did I stutter?

You do not have to speak english just because you are in America - you are welcome here - you are welcome in my place of business. I have no doubt that you and I will figure out a way of communicating with each other over burpees or lunch - which are things that I like. What are you into?! 

White people need to listen, support, and stand up for people, ANY person, who cannot stand up for them selves withOUT their ego getting in the way. Even better?! Pass the mic.

We have got to stop destroying our planet with plastic.

We have to care for our animals on this earth and see the horror that is corporate agriculture.

You are not your body.

Body shaming should be wildly recognized and not ok for every single person. Nobody on this earth should get to tell you that you’re not good enough because of the size of your anything.

No, your guns are not more important than our children.

No, I do not have to let you buy me a drink just because you like my face, or my boobs, or my ass. No, I do not do squats for you. No, you are not the reason I sometimes wear make up.


Standing in Love

On our Heartfelt Retreats that I lead with my friend Ruby, we do an exercise that we call “Standing in Love.”

You pick a relationship and then you fill out the following statements:

I am angry that…

I am sad that…

I am scared that…

I feel guilty that…

The relationship I’ve picked is my current relationship with the world.

 

I'm angry that...

  • I'm angry that there is so much hurt in this world.

  • I’m angry that people intentionally cause harm.

  • I’m angry that people don’t think about others before they speak or act.

  • I’m angry that we act in greed or self preservation or fear instead of compassion and kindness even when that means lifting someone else up before we lift ourselves.

  • I’m angry that too many people care more about money than about life.

  • I’m angry that some people think they’re better than other people.

  • I’m angry that we aren’t protecting our earth.

  • I’m angry that we aren’t protecting each other.

  • I’m angry that someone wasn’t protecting me when I needed protecting and I’m angry that there have been men in my life who thought it was ok to take advantage of me.

  • I’m angry that the majority of the women I know have #metoo stories.

  • I’m angry that a figure of hate and cruelty is in power and that I don’t have enough information in my tool belt to really explain calmly and with reason, why I find Donald Trump to be a figure of hate and cruelty and why I don’t give a damn what good he can do - the bottom line is that he doesn’t recognize and Nazi when he sees one and that he thinks it’s ok to grab women by the pussies. I stopped listening after that.

  • I’m angry that I can’t have a level headed conversation about why that stuff isn’t ok.

  • I’m angry that sometimes it feels like I need to.

 

I'm sad that...

  • I’m sad that this hurt may never go away.

  • I’m sad that hurt people are going to continue raising hurt children who hurt other children.

  • I’m sad that some people don’t feel safe in their own homes or their own neighborhoods.

  • I’m sad that children are being shot in schools and that I don’t know what to do about that.

  • I’m sad that there’s an area called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in our Pacific ocean.

  • I’m sad that so many of us, at one time or another, will believe that we are only important and lovable if we’re good looking according to “society” standards.

  • I’m sad that people of color in America are treated as less of a person than I am.

  • I’m sad that I can’t protect everyone from harm and hate and cruelty.

  • I’m sad that I can’t love all the animals of this world.

  • I’m sad I can’t keep everyone safe and happy and understood and loved.

 

I'm scared that...

  • I’m scared that I won’t ever be able to do enough.

  • I’m scared that it might never get better.

  • I’m scared that hate might win.

  • I’m scared that I might get bogged down in my own anger, fear, and sadness that I might never do anything at all or make a difference at all.

  • I’m scared to bring children into this world.

  • I’m scared that I might be alone forever.

  • I’m scared that this blog post is going to be so intimidating and vulnerable for some people that they might never read anything I write again.

  • I’m scared to get married because I don’t want to get divorced like my parents did.

  • I’m scared that anything I say or do is going to be labeled as ignorant and stupid.

 

I feel guilty that...

  • I feel guilty that I didn’t grow up recognizing my privilege.

  • I feel guilty that I haven’t done more in my lifetime to help people.

  • I feel guilty that my language in the past has been harmful and hateful on occasion.

  • I feel guilty that I haven’t always stood up for who and what needs standing up for.

  • I feel guilty that I’ve let things slide.

  • I feel guilty that tonight I saw a guy throw a plastic cup on the ground and I didn’t ask him to please not do that. I didn’t pick it up either.

  • I feel guilty that I don’t know the best way to support marginalized communities in my area without imposing my beliefs, systems, expectations, or needs on those communities.

  • I feel guilty that I bought a sun lamp instead of sending my money and time where it’s needed.

  • I feel guilty that I used to be full of body shame and body shaming language - that I projected that onto so many of my friends and probably hurt them, just how I was hurting.

  • I feel guilty that I’ve hurt people - that I haven’t always been compassionate, or kind, or loving - that I’m still not always compassionate, kind, and loving

  • I feel guilty that some people are intimidated by me.

  • I feel guilty that I don’t have time for everyone. I feel guilty that I don’t even want to make time for everyone either.

  • I feel guilty when I don’t like someone.

  • I feel guilty that I even care if people read my work - Should I be working for the work’s sake?

  • I feel guilty that I don’t work more.

  • I feel guilty that I can’t heal other people’s relationship with themselves, with alcohol or drugs or sex or food, or society, or their bodies

  • I feel guilty that not only can I not heal others, I obviously can’t even heal myself.


The shame I feel is that I will never ever be enough or be able to do enough.


So yeah, the sun hasn’t been out in a while, I haven’t been protecting my energy and I’ve been going down a relatively long spiral of shame and not-enough-ness and too much-ness and helplessness. 

Before I continue, yes, I’ve been seeing a therapist. Yes, I’m being intentionally kind to myself. Yes, I have been practicing yoga at home. Yes, I am meditating. Yes, I’ve been crying a lot. No, this is not a cry for help. No, I do not need your sympathy. Yes, I appreciate your empathy, however, I would prefer compassion. Yes, I am available to talk with you about this however, I am currently practicing saying no so if you’re feeling like you’d like to have someone to talk to, please call Jessi Schlachter at Rooted Counseling. No, I am not currently available for coffee. No, you may not pick my brain. No, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you or your work.

I believe I’m going through something called growing pains.

When I was in middle school, I remember having a lot of knee pain… like a lot. So much that I thought I was going to have to be on crutches for no apparent reason! And then my doctor told me it was growing pains. My legs were changing. If I hadn’t gone through that period of hurt and pain where I could hardly do anything at all, I’d never be able to do most of the things that I love doing with my legs and my body and my life now. Just like my knees were apparently doing in middle school, I think my mind is going through that now - I’m not rushing this healing process.

I’ve been doing a nightly meditation with Tara Brach via her website where I put my hand on my heart and cry a lot a lot. She says, “To help people address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness, I like to share a meditation I call the RAIN of Self-Compassion.” 


the RAIN of Self-Compassion

RAIN stands for: 

Recognizing what’s going on - for me, that’s everything I wrote up above - my anger, my fear, my sadness, my guilt, my shame. Every day, new things are coming up.

Allowing the experience to be there, just as it is - I’m not trying to become less angry or less afraid or less sad or less guilty. I just allow those feelings to come up and with my hand on my heart, I repeat after Thich Nhat Hanh, “Darling, I care about this suffering”

Investigate with interest and care - this is a feeling of unworthiness for me, both a fear of being too much, and a feeling of not being enough all at the same time. Nayyirah Waheed says, “What about this theory. The fear of not being enough. And the fear of being too much. Are exactly the same fear. The fear of being you.”

Nurture or Nourish with self-compassion - This is me sleeping. This is me setting boundaries. I’m not avoiding my friends, but I’m actively only seeing the ones that can hold me in this space and let me cry in their beds if I want to. I am moving how, where, and when I want to - some days that means from my couch and to my bed, other days that has meant on the stair master by myself for an hour, other times I have wanted slow yoga, other times I have wanted to take a class full of energy. I am making lists with my work and doing one thing at a time. I am saying what I need to say. I am recognizing what is reasonable. I am taking time to remember that I have a lot of purpose in this world.

At Heartfelt, we take the shame statement, which for me right now is this:

I will never ever be enough or be able to do enough.

 

And we turn it into reality… an affirmation:

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

 

And with that, I’m practicing gratitude. Three things every day. Three really real things every day:

I’m so grateful that I feel such a deep sense of connection to my work and my community. I am grateful and lucky that I get to see that make a difference in people’s lives every single day.

I’m so grateful that I am someone who stands up for people that I love. I’m grateful that I have specific instances where I recognize myself doing this.

I’m so grateful that I create the space in my life to take care of myself.

 

Keeping the gratitude and the affirmation, I write a permission slip

Sweet Kate, 

Today I give you permission to do what you need and feel how you feel. I give you permission to not choose joy. I give you permission to not try and hold space for others right now. I give you permission to recognize how hard you work and see how much of a difference you make on a regular basis.

Thank you for being someone that you need.         

- your biggest fan

This is what self-care and balance look like for me in my life, with what I know, as I currently am. I sometimes don’t take good care of myself - I don’t realize it when I’m not. And then things get out of control. I go through periods where I don’t practice self-awareness or self-compassion or mindfulness, and then something happens, and then I spiral. And then I come back to my heart and to reality and to authenticity.

And then I just keep growing.

The biggest gift you can give is to be absolutely present, and when you're worrying about whether you're hopeful or hopeless or pessimistic or optimistic, who cares? The main thing is that you're showing up, that you're here and that you're finding ever more capacity to love this world because it will not be healed without that. That was what is going to unleash our intelligence and our ingenuity and our solidarity for the healing of our world. - Joanna Macy 

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.

I am doing my absolute best. I am good. I am necessary. I am growing. I am enough.








Originally posted on getFIT615.com on Feb 18, 2018. Slight edits have been made.

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