Welcome to our theme of Self-Compassion for September 2018.

By learning to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion we can increase our contentment, emotional well-being, resilience, and courage.

I will share items several times throughout each week. Most of what I share has not been shared before or I have charged for the material previously (either singly or in a class situation). Occasionally, I will include a podcast episode that is readily available since it fits our theme.

Note to those who are ACIM students: This program is intended for a general audience so I will be using more broad terms and using universal topics and materials that appeal to all. If you have questions, feel free to email me directly.

Facebook Secret Group

Email me to add you to Facebook Group

Email me

Share your comments or questions at the bottom the page.

Use the materials for the month as you feel guided or interested in. There is no right or wrong way to proceed. See what stands out to you and that is most likely what you are meant to work on.


This Month’s Overview

Overview Video


Weekly Offerings


Week One


5-Minute Meditation

This meditation is a 5-minute meditation from my Meditation Pebbles podcast, already available freely.


Affirmation

I will be gentle with myself.

To save the image, right click and “save as” to your computer.


Self-Compassion Book Study Discount

You can work with me on the Self-Compassion book via chat and email. As a member, you receive a 35% discount. There is an in-person option at Meditate Madison studio. Use coupon code SELFSEPT2018 when you checkout. The class for 13 weeks is $100 but with your discount, you participate for a total of $65. If you can’t meet at the scheduled time, I can work with you individually on the book via email and chat. You’ll receive a syllabus with reading schedule and exercises. Update as of 9/8/18: Due to low enrollment for the Monday morning conferencing option, it has been canceled. I couldn’t do another evening for this class in my schedule, unfortunately. You can still work with me privately on it with the stated amount. just use the coupon code.


Find Your Path to Self-Compassion Worksheet

Use the download button to access this PDF worksheet. Feel free to share your experience with me.


Self-Compassion/Loving-Kindness Guided Meditation

This guided meditation is a variance on the classic lovingkindness practice but tailored specifically to cultivate self-compassion. 
(31 minutes) 
Guided by Deb Phelps

This meditation is for sale on the Meditation Stepping Stones website, but available here for free since you are a Steps to Inner Peace member.

The video below I posted to the Meditation Stepping Stones website awhile back. I explain the process of the above Self-Compassion/LovingKindness meditation.


Talk #1 – The Inner Critic and Self-Compassion


Writing Your Own Affirmation


Writing affirmations, as you probably know, is a personal and powerful exercise. Begin by choosing an intention related to our theme of Self-Compassion, that you would like to manifest in your life. Think about how the result will feel. This is your target feeling. The goal of writing affirmations is to write a statement that generates your target feeling.

  • Keep it in the present tense. “I am…”
  • Use your voice. Write this from your own heart and how you would normally speak.
  • Short and sweet. Make it easy to remember.
  • Make it believable. That is, make it very literal.
  • Keep it positive. Always keep your affirmations positive. Negative words evoke a different feeling from positive words. 

What is your affirmation as you continue through this month?


Mindful Chair Yoga #1

This is a 45-minute chair yoga sequence that includes meditations. Chair Yoga makes yoga accessible to anyone. 


Week Two

Self-Compassion Quote by Kristen Neff

Self-Compassion Building Exercise: Think of something that is causing you pain/suffering and say the following while you are in a self-compassionate posture (i.e. hand over heart): This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. ~ Dr. Kristen Neff


Thoughts on Forgiving Oneself

Forgiving ourselves is probably the hardest task to accomplish. The self-defeating thoughts that arise keep us from our True Essence of Love. We have called for love in our mind and it’s obvious by how we feel, what we say and what we do, how frightened we are inside. When we can start with self-forgiveness, even just a little wee bit, we are opening the door to self-love.

In a practice that I gave to a class some time ago, the students were to take time in a meditative and prayerful space to love and accept themselves just as they are now, seeming flaws and all. In this, we forgave ourselves for the beliefs, the guilt, the shame, the hurt. We became compassionate toward ourselves and we allowed God’s (or the Divine, Higher Power, etc.) compassion to pour through us. It might not have been easy, but we attempted it with a little willingness, a little faith, and a lot of trust.

As we wrote our personal self-forgiveness reflections or prayers, we forgave ourselves for past mistakes, our reasons of guilt and the like. We reaffirmed the truth of the Divine Love that is truly at our Core. We permitted Love to enter despite all the inner critic and ego’s protests.

Yes, we have all made mistakes. We cannot change the mistakes but we can stop here and change how we think about those mistakes. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean. It purifies us and makes us an open vessel to love.  No matter what, you are forgiven. In fact, Divine Love only sees the love that you are. If Divine Love can wipe the slate clean so can you. Divine Love does not condemn you. Only you condemn yourself.

No matter what you believe you have done in your life, the guilt that you carry as a heavy burden, the remorse, the sadness, the regret, the challenges, the unjust comments, the self-degradation, all of it. Self-forgiveness is the stepping stone to recognizing that everything is just as it needs to be. It is there to help us to heal, to grow, to learn, and to allow us to blossom into who we were meant to be. You are holy. Your holiness blesses you and everyone. Let holiness bless you and shine the brilliant light upon you. Let it purify and make you whole. Even though you want to forgive yourself, there may still be a part of you that feels you do not deserve to be forgiven. Accept the love that you are. Feel it deep within you.

Say this to yourself right now:

“I love myself. I accept myself. I am as Love created me. I am worth forgiving. I can start small with the willingness to forgive myself. Everything is a lesson and today I am willing to learn it. I can release the feelings of unforgiveness today. I can forgive myself. Divine Love helps me to forgive myself. Love blesses me. I cannot be guilty because I am part of the Ocean of Divine Love. I have already been forgiven. No fear is possible in a mind beloved of the Divine. There is no need to attack because Love has forgiven me.”

Also affirm:

“Let peace of mind be my only goal – not changing anything outside of me, including me, or seeking punishment of others and myself.”

The following is an excerpt from my own written prayer in relation to this class and topic:

I look with Your Most Holy Eyes now to see beyond all these fears and grievances that I hold so tightly within. I offer them on the altar of Love. Let them all be transformed to Love. My I know Love within. May I allow Love to permeate through what I say and do. May I remember to forgive. May forgiveness come easily to me. May I release the past and stay present in the Holy Instant. Be with me in my prayer. Support me and strengthen me always. Amen.

As we work on self-forgiveness, we can observe these ego dynamics doing their crazy thing and simply do not judge it. Not forgiving ourselves is just an ego habit. At some point, we’ll realize that our judgments and unforgiveness against ourselves are keeping us from peace. We’ll realize that it’s just not worth it. Then we’ll say, “There must be another way.” That “other way” is to change our minds and make the choice to love ourselves again, just as the Divine does. Love does not want us to be in that place of hating ourselves and beating ourselves up. We just made a mistake. We are still beautiful. Nothing has changed. We are still Love.

Peace be with you,

Deb


Find Your Path to Self-Compassion Worksheet #2

Use the download button to access this PDF worksheet. Feel free to share your experience with me.


Affirmation

I honor myself with self-care.

Feel free to share this on social media or download to your phone or computer.


Acceptance Talk

EXERCISE: THREE-MINUTE BREATHING SPACE

The first step to changing conflicts and struggle is to become aware of the fact that we experience a conflict or struggle. In very intense situations, this is often not so difficult. We are aware that not only our thoughts are conflicted, but also our physical sensations (for example, we experience tension in our body). Oftentimes, however, conflict or resistance can take very subtle forms. Irritation, impatience, or frustration can be present, yet we are hardly aware of them. The “Three-minute Breathing Space” exercise is a short exercise that can help us become more aware of what we are feeling this very moment.

The exercise consists of 3 sections and only takes 3 minutes to complete.

  1. Awareness: Ask yourself the question: How am I doing right now? Focus your attention on your inner perception. Notice which thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations you are experiencing. Try to translate your experiences into words. For example: “I am having self-critical thoughts” or “I notice I am tense”. What are you feeling in your body? Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling in the current moment. Accept it. You can tell yourself that whatever you’re feeling is okay, whatever is there is fine just the way it is.
  2. Breathing: Next, pay full attention to your breath. Follow the breathing with your attention.
  3. Expansion of attention: Allow your attention to expand to the rest of your body. Feel your breath move throughout your whole body. With every inhale, you can feel your body expand a little and with each exhale it shrinks a little.

During this exercise, certain thoughts or feelings might distract your attention. Simply notice them, you can decide to observe these thoughts and feelings for a while and then gently, without judgment, return your attention to your breath or your body.


The Meditation of Mindfulness


Guided Mindfulness Meditation for Anxiety & Stress


This guided meditation will help you to relieve stress and anxiety through a mindfulness process where you ground yourself in the present. It includes meditative music throughout and an extra 10 minutes at the end. (34 minutes)
Guided by Deb Phelps

Week Three

I am beginning to see myself as I truly am.


Turning the Ship Around

On approaching this idea of self-compassion, it may seem hard to turn the ship around to think and believe a new way. But it can be done. We can learn a way of caring about ourselves.

It takes patience, it takes vigilance and consistency to do so. All of this you can learn to do. We’ve been programmed from our past, be it our parents, our society, our work, our affiliations, and our media, to only be “so high” on the scale.

Some of us learn to be caretakers for others, thus giving up our own needs. Typically women feel this way, but really anyone can feel this way. We’ve followed the program of putting others first and leaving ourselves for last. What we find is that we are suffocating in the by-products of doing so. 

This could be anger, resentment, jealousy, frustration, or depression experienced. Yet, you don’t have to wait any longer to be loved and appreciated, because this time it comes from you, yourself. We are everything that we have been looking for, we just haven’t looked within to find it.

We’ve expected others to fulfill our needs; to tell us when to rest, when to set down and take the load off, to ask how we are feeling, or to lend support. We have to begin with our inner life. We turn this ship around by taking the wheel. We’ve allowed others to do so, to subtly control us by our insistence on meeting their needs. We’ve been resentful when our own needs have not been met.

In all the years I have been of service to others, there were times I felt as such. And yes, at times I felt resentful as I am extremely generous, I encourage others to let their light shine, and I give until I am depleted. Is that really a way to live?

When I worked with one of my mentors, Sean, a former Buddhist monk, he recognized this within me. He stated that how aware and intelligent I was but what he noticed is that I lacked compassion for myself. Compassion for others? I had that box checked numerous times, but for myself it lay empty. Well, maybe with a tiny check since I had completed a lot of self-reflection in all the years since the age of 16.

Yet he could see that weakness, that vulnerability within me. It is with this that we worked. As you know earlier in Week One I shared with you the Self-Compassion Loving-Kindness practice. What I performed for months on end with Sean’s guidance, was a multiple times daily was a Loving-Kindness practice. This practice alone had me leave the rough seas and into smooth sailing. 

I will be encouraging you to do this practice frequently, so stay tuned for more on this practice.


Monthly Challenge

For this challenge, write your own affirmation and share it either in the comments on the web page or if you are on the Facebook Group. Perhaps you’d like to make an image using the free online resources with Pablo and Canva. Share what you wish to affirm for yourself as you deepen your self-compassion!


Heart Chakra Meditation

Open your heart to love, loving yourself of course, with this lovely Heart Chakra meditation. You are the first to listen before I put it for sale on the Meditation Stepping Stones website within the next day or two. 


Find Your Path to Self-Compassion Worksheet #3

Use the download button to access this PDF worksheet. Feel free to share your experience with me.


Open Your Heart to Loving Kindness Talk


Heart Chakra Yoga Sequence


Appreciate Yourself Meditation


Week Four

I, myself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve my love and affection. (Originally from Buddha, but placed now in an “I” statement.)


Talk: Soften, Soothe and Allow


“How Self-Compassionate am I?” Assessment and Keeping a Self-Compassion Journal

As I mentioned in my talk above, I have Kristin Neff’s new workbook in working with Self-Compassion. This handout is from that workbook and I used it recently in my Self-Compassion class at my studio. I hope that you too find some benefit.


Affectionate Breathing Meditation



Self-Compassion Worksheet #4 – Appreciating Yourself


Our Self-Compassion Month Ends

Our month of self-compassion ends here, but it doesn’t have to end for you. Please continue to use the practices I shared this month to assist you in being kind and loving to your precious self. There is only one you and you are worth the gift of your time and attention. It does take time and attention for all we explored this month.

If you didn’t get a chance to explore it all, the materials will be still be accessible through November. Be sure to save any of the downloadable materials.

What can I say to you but to tell you how loved you are by the Divine Universe. You are whole and complete just as you are. You are beloved by All That Is. You are surrounded by heavenly beings who extol your virtues. You are held high and so too should you hold your head high knowing what you know now.

We all make mistakes but we ourselves are not a mistake, no matter what the inner critic spouts forth. You can continue your journey to peace with a sense of appreciation for the truth about you. 

Some days will be easier than others, but remember to breathe love and affection to yourself. Remember to practice meditation and mindfulness, particularly the Loving-Kindness process. Bring movement and healthy food into your life. Explore who you are and always love who you are.

I hold that Light of Love for you.

Many blessings!

In our next month of October, we will look at Well-Being.

Namaste!


Breathing Compassion In and Out

An article I came across by Kristin Neff with a twenty-minute compassion meditation. https://www.mindful.org/breathing-compassion-in-and-out/


Add your comments or questions at the bottom of the page.

3 Comments

Deb Phelps, C.MI, RYT · September 3, 2018 at 9:19 pm

Feel free to share your thoughts and insights here!

Lrow321 · September 18, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Hi RD
Was unable to get on the secret page for this group. It said it was unsavaliable. I rather read topics you offer through facebook since I find it easier to find.
Linda

    Deb Phelps, C.MI, RYT · September 18, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    I will invite you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *