Loving Kindness

Receiving

A MEDITATION ON LONELINESS AND SELF-COMPASSION

After a 12-month experiment being vegetarian and loving it, I’ve recently decided to ditch dairy and eggs too and embrace a vegan lifestyle. After the first few inspired weeks of learning new recipes (thank you, Minimalist Baker) and tapping into the feeling that I’m doing a great thing for animals, the environment and my health, I found myself in a low. Doubt creeping in. Why am I doing this?

And I realise, it’s not because it takes a bit more effort in meal prep (I’m still cooking two versions of meals for my family), or that I’m giving up milk chocolate and ice cream (Peter’s Original, it’s a sad farewell), but it mainly boils down to the fact that I’m doing this thing alone. Despite being surrounded by those who love me most, I wasn’t prepared to experience loneliness.

This meditation came up as a way of countering that loneliness – an act of self-compassion we can all use a bit more of – a practice in balancing giving with receiving.

Listen or read, whatever you please. xx

Sometimes we give so much of ourselves – whether it’s a for a cause, our relationships or our work – that we forget also to take care of ourselves. We forget that we are as deserving of our compassion and love as the others who we so easily shower it upon.

And whilst it’s truly wonderful to adopt an others-focused mentality – it takes us away from our problems and makes us realise that there’s always someone much worse off than we are – if we’re only giving, we’re out there on our own. It’s a one-way street. And that’s when loneliness can set in.

When we’re giving unconditionally, we’re not expecting anything in return, but that doesn’t mean we can’t receive loving energy back. We can restore balance by receiving the gifts that others are offering – their generosity, their patience, their friendship, their love.

We can do this out in the world with those we know; those we love, or we can do this metaphorically, knowing there are other likeminded givers out there sending love and compassion for others to receive.

If we can tap into the connectedness of giving and receiving, we create a two-way street, and those feelings of loneliness can pass on by.

MEDITATION

As you sit in stillness, open yourself up to receive. Your heart. Your mind. Sitting with a gentle smile knowing that to receive the gifts of others is an act of giving in itself. Being open to receive with gratitude and thanks.

During your meditation repeat the phrase receiving and apply it to what you most need right now.

Receiving friendship.

Receiving courage.

Receiving energy.

Receiving trust.

Receiving faith.

Receiving kindness.

Receiving generosity.

Receiving love.

See what it’s like to practice compassionate receiving, to fill up your tank with another’s love.

Enjoy.

Difficult Emotions, Open Awareness

Stay

A MEDITATION ON FEAR, DISCOMFORT AND CHALLENGES

One of my favourite meditations on the Buddhify app is “Space” by Emily Horn. I love the idea of an acronym to keep you grounded during meditation. Connecting with the power of words as an object of meditation (RAIN by Michelle McDonald is perhaps the first and most well-known mindfulness acronym.)

Inspiration for my own mediations come at the most unlikely of times – for this one, it was in the car, listening to Leo Babauta on the Rich Roll podcast, whilst on my way to pick up trophies for my Toastmasters club. When their conversation turned to running, bam! there it was. An idea for a meditation on dealing with difficulty.

Listen or read, whatever you choose. Enjoy xx.

Too often we are the runner. Running away from discomfort. Running away from painful emotions. From people who push our buttons. From things that we fear.

We run away… and we also run towards. Towards distractions like food, phones and Facebook.

And whilst running might be great for our bodies – it’s not that great for our minds.

So in this practice we’re going to try a different kind of training. The training to stay.

So that instead of running from discomfort. We stay, and let it run through us.

Instead of running from our challenges, we sit with them, and let them run their course.

We can run from life, or we can observe it – we don’t need to do all the heavy lifting. All we need to do is get still. Train ourselves to watch. To observe. To be curious.

We don’t need to be the runner. All we need to do is stay.

Meditation

In this meditation, let’s play with the idea of staying, by using the acronym STAY as our anchor to the present moment.

S – T – A – Y

Sit  –  Tether  –  Allow  –  Yes.

S: Sit – sitting up straight, watching our posture. Letting the energy flow along our spine.

T: Tether – Tethering ourselves to the present moment like a puppy on lead. Watching our thoughts. Being aware. Bringing ourselves back when we realise we’ve wandered off.

A: Allow – giving ourselves permission to be here, allowing ourselves this precious time to sit and get still. That this time of quiet is as worthy, if not more, as crossing things off our never ending to do lists.

Y: Yes – saying yes to all of experience as it unfolds during this time. Yes to the thoughts. Yes to sounds. Yes to the busyness. Yes to the aches and pains. Yes to the anxiety. Yes to gratitude, yes to joy, yes to love.

Stay.

Stay.

Stay.

Breath Meditation

The Beautiful Breath

A MEDITATION ON OUR EXTRAORDINARY BREATH

I was standing at the basin brushing my teeth, feeling the gut-wrenching anxiety of some internal drama that I’ve long forgotten about, when I had this weird experience of duality. A moment of pure mindfulness knowing what this anxiety felt like in my body (hideous) and at the same time knowing that I also had my breath – and what that breath felt like in my nose, in my throat and in my lungs (beautiful). Not an outer-body experience, but a side-by-side body experience, as my focus ping-ponged between both states. Anxiety-breath. Anxiety-breath.

In that moment I knew everything was going to be OK – that I had this problem (and no idea how I would solve it) but that I also had this breath. I realised just how powerful that knowledge was. And a new meditation was born!

Listen or read, the choice is yours. Enjoy xx.

The breath. It’s not something most of us think too much about. Even as meditators, it might get a look-in once a week…  or once a day if we’re lucky.

But perhaps if we gave it superhero status, instead of taking it for granted, we might be in awe of its power – and realise just how beautiful it can be.

And I’m not just talking about its obvious gift, in that it keeps our bodies alive – although that’s certainly wonderful enough.

But that, if we elevate it from ordinary to extraordinary, it can be our best, most reliable ally. Something that energises. Something that nourishes. Something that calms. Something that heals.

So that when we’re in pain we can sit with it… and know we also have our breath.

When we’re busy and stressed we can acknowledge that… but also know that we have our breath.

If we’re grieving, we can feel the ache… and be comforted by our breath.

When we’re feeling sick and lifeless… we can be nourished by our breath.

When we’re feeling tired and flat… we can find energy in our breath.

And whilst none of those states are ever permanent, our breath always is – a trusty companion to focus on and welcome into our experience whenever we choose. Our very own inner hero.

And in knowing that the breath can always be found – so too can joy. Whether that’s the jumping up and down variety, or the more subtle knowing, that things are going to be okay.

Meditation

For this meditation, let’s spend some time putting the breath on a pedestal.

With every inhalation, think about what the beautiful breath is doing for you.

This breath nourishes me.

This breath calms me.

This breath focuses me.

This breath comforts me.

This breath energises me.

This breath heals me.

This breath is all I need.