In 2006, I thought that I might have a brain tumor. The wrong words kept coming out of my mouth: “captino” instead of “cappuccino,” “maginal” instead of “magical,” “bunkey burvey” instead of “topsy turvy.”
I went to a neurologist fearing the worst; after a thorough exam the doctor asked me about my life; what my days consisted of, my family constellation, my schedule, and volunteer work. I was a typical baby boomer, sandwiched between three adolescent kids (including identical twin daughters) and aging parents.
He asked me whether I had ever heard of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
He suggested that mindfulness training was what I needed to improve my health.
After eight weeks of MBSR training, I knew that there was much more for me to learn. The scientific research studies showing the positive results of mindfulness were compelling, and the neuroscience behind Mindfulness was fascinating. I took more than ten courses online ranging from brain science to meditation, meditation with compassion, overcoming obstacles to mindfulness, awakening joy, and meditation from several different disciplines just to name a few.
Mindful Self-Compassion was transformational.
Taking mindfulness and adding common humanity and loving-kindness for you is brilliant. It allows you to notice what is arising without judgment (the mindfulness part) and then the common humanity part lets you know in your body that you are not alone in these feelings, which helps prevent feelings of isolation that can lead to depression.
The miraculous part is that you learn 28 different techniques to hold yourself with love and compassion. When you do that, the difficult feelings have a way of softening and sometimes melting away. The point really isn’t to make the bad feelings go away, it’s to be loving and kind to yourself because you feel bad; but I have to admit, feeling better happens a lot of the time!
I have been teaching MSC and my hybrid of MSC, Mindful Methods for Life, since 2014.
When my kids were teens, I would walk away as soon as I could if there was a difficult conversation going on.
I also made a HUGE effort to do things that gave me joy.
- Notice the constriction coming up in my body.
- Put my hand on my heart to release oxytocin, which would down regulate the cortisol and adrenalin in my body.
- Tell myself this is difficult.
- Call myself sweetheart.
- Tell myself what I needed to hear in that moment.
Parenting isn’t for sissies. It helps to have a toolbox filled with Mindful Methods to get you through the day!