Long before people could blog, text, post, or capture their feelings on video, they found self-compassion in writing. Some people with little else to boast may try to persuade you that writing is only for the innately gifted, that good writing comes from years of classroom study. Regardless, truly beautiful writing actually comes from the heart.
Many writers have crafted their best work while recovering from issues related to drugs, alcohol, romantic failures, and interpersonal struggles. Interestingly, it is not the suffering that drives this great writing, but rather the fact that there are no more clever places for the heart to hide, so writers have to finally grant it permission to speak directly to the reader.
With the writer’s permission, the heart leaves no detail undescribed, no emotion unfelt, no painfully sought wish off the page. We can relate to this deeply human experience. Our hearts hear it, and take refuge in it. This is why we listen to tales of lost love, and dreams dashed, and wish with solemnity that they rediscover love and realize their dreams after all.
It may take some self-compassion to persuade your hand to the page or keyboard, but it will be worth it. The remedy of writing has existed long before our time, and will still be here long after we are gone. There is not greater reward than speaking from the heart. It makes us whole, when we are halved, and liberates our greatest fears, hopes, and dreams. It makes us feel like we can fly, when we begin to fall, and gives us something substantial to rest our minds on when all seems lost.
Writing, The Self-Compassionate Way
So, how do you get a writing practice started the self-compassionate way? With your eyes open or closed, I want you to sit upright, allowing your body to soften one part at a time. Start with your forehead, then your eyes, then your mouth, and work your way down to your feet. Follow your breath, and begin to recite the self-compassion phrases we have come up with or those that feel more in keeping with your experience (i.e., May I be safe. May I be free from suffering. May I be kind to myself. May I accept myself just as I am. May I live with ease).
Notice how your body responds to each phrase. See which one feels truest to you in this moment. Then, reduce this phrase to one word: safe, free, kindness, acceptance, ease. Now, write that word at the top of your page, and write everything that comes to mind in relation to it.
Make sure that this writing prioritizes understanding of and compassion towards your experience. When you are done, look over this document. Read it all the way through. Then, notice how you feel. See if you have not inclined into the very part of yourself that was suffering the most with the exact thing that it needed to feel better. Do not worry about grammar or perfection. The heart needs neither of these things. It just needs to hear that it is heard and loved.
Reward yourself with a silent or perhaps loud celebration (depending on your location), once you have completed this exercise. We repeat the experience that rewards us. I imagine this exercise was challenging, and acknowledge that you have sacrificed your time, and capacity to remain completely protected. I also think that this is a small price to pay to not sacrifice your heart.
365 Days of Self-Compassion. Day 136. In The Books.