The Refuge of a Mindful Pause

Danna Faulds’ poem, Walk Slowly, begins “It only takes a reminder to breathe, a moment to be still, and just like that, something in me settles, softens, makes space for imperfection.” No matter the challenge, suffering or chaos; we can still find moments that bring us back to meaning and connection. We can find it in ourselves.

This post offers resources from our April 28 Mindful Pause retreat which was subtitled, “Finding Peace and Refuge in a Busy Life.” Our approach emphasized simplicity, patience, understanding and self-compassion.

We began with three invitations for our time together,

While we meditate in our chair or cushion to build the skills of wisdom and compassion, these invitations are a recipe for authentic, wholehearted living. It just takes practice.

Poetry is an important tool for pausing that we introduced through our work. Allowing the words to flow into you and through you,

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

This Is What I Have To Say To You by Danna Faulds – “You already are all that you need to be.”

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver – “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

We also utilized resources from Kristin Neff’s self-compassion.org website including the Soften, Soothe, Allow practice. This can be particularly helpful when building new habits.


Starting with ourselves, we quickly discover the dance of thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations. Oftentimes, we run away from it. But as we notice, we introduce a choice of how to relate to whatever is happening in this moment. It can be helpful to simply drop in and experience whatever we are feeling without trying to change it or make it a certain way. This makes it simple, but not easy. Being with what is. Welcoming everything.

Along with patience and understanding, a dose of self-compassion is critical. As we experiment with our difficulties, we often slip in to the habit of self-judgment and criticism. And this is just what the medicine of Mindful Self-Compassion offered by Kristin Neff is all about. Self-Compassion consists of three elements: Mindfulness, Shared Experience and Self-Kindness. First, we must know when we are being hard on ourselves. A bit of reflection helps us recognize that we are not alone in this suffering, that it is part of the human experience. Finally, we can offer a self-kindness or self-soothing, that activates our relaxation response, something that lives within us. The practice belows invites an experimentation with how a soothing tooth can calm and relax the body.


Screen Shot 2019-04-21 at 7.57.58 PMJoin Center For Self-Care for Fierce Self-Compassion, a three session offering on Wednesdays, May 1, 8 and 15 at Balanced For Life Yoga Therapy in Devon, PA. Attend one, some or all sessions.  Through teachings, reflective writing, practice and discussion, our group will cultivate mindfulness skills that promote self-compassion. No experience is necessary, just an inclination towards curiosity and exploration. Sign up today.


Our afternoon included guided Qi Kong practice, the Open Focus body scan practice shown below, and a sensory walk through the beautiful Bryn Mawr College campus.

Finally, we close with time for reflection. After you have done some of this work yourself, you might try out Josh’s guided practice below,

 

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