Over the past three weeks, we’ve revisited familiar MSC territory from MSC Session 1. This week’s invitation is to bring awareness to what you’ve discovered during the last three weeks of preparatory work to help you write a compassionate letter for yourself. This letter will live with your Roadmap and be a companion during your journey; you may wish to pull it out anytime you feel your energy lagging, your commitment wavering, or your purpose coming into question. The reason for the exploration and the compassionate letter is to remember that this is a journey and to move away as best we can from where we think we “should be” to lovingly be with where we are.
Your journal and a pen you love to write with. (We especially encourage you to handwrite this letter.)
- To begin, simply free-write anything that’s on your mind about the CDP course. Allow it all to emerge. You might give voice to uncertainty, fear, excitement, curiosity, or anything in between. Allow enough time and space for the quietest thoughts to arise, then set them free in your journal.
- Once you feel you’ve said everything you need to say, go back over your writing and underline any words or phrases which emerge and seem like they need a kind response. Perhaps a fear expressed, or ambivalence, or an element of self-doubt.
- Next, please write a self-compassionate letter in response to any of the underlined words/phrases from Step 2. Practice using your self-compassionate voice as you write. You might even begin your letter with a term of endearment, remembering to bring the same kindness to your letter as you would to a good friend. IF you find that you have difficulty summoning a self-compassionate voice, we invite you to write your letter from the perspective of a being who wishes the very best for you: a pet, a friend, a mentor, or another loved one.
- Here are a few things you could include in your letter to yourself:
- What words do you need to hear as you venture out on this journey?
- Knowing that all experiences shift through periods of difficulty and ease, open and closing, what might support you personally along the way?
- From this early leg of the journey, what words will you say to yourself when you’re thinking about quitting?
- If you have identified misgivings or hindrances to self-compassion, how might you bring care and kindness to these aspects of your experience? If you have identified the pain of one of more of the myths of self compassion, how might your respond to yourself lovingly about these?
- How we can attend to ourselves lovingly in these ways? Physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual?
- What resources can you draw upon during your time in the program that will help you stay committed to taking care of yourself?
- Once you’ve finished your letter, we encourage you to keep it somewhere accessible so that if you wish, you may draw upon the strength of your own words in the future.
- As you read your letter to yourself you may like to remember soothing touch, the half smile, and pay attention to the tone of your voice as you read.
One step further…
If you wish, you may choose to submit a photo or a scan of your self-compassionate letter to one of the teachers via email, and when the moment is right, we will print it out and mail a physical copy back to you sometime during the next several months as a gentle and reminder of your own voice of support.
As you write, be present to any joy or excitement that emerges.
If fear or doubt emerges, is there one small, tender step you can take to soothe yourself?
Now that you’ve written this self-compassionate letter, can you think of any specific actions you can take to set the stage for a truly deepening experience in your life?
If you wish, feel free to share your explorations on the Discussion board.
© 2018 Aimee Eckhardt.
Please do not duplicate without written permission.