It’s been a long time since I wrote one of these posts. My hibernation has been well-used but I miss writing here a lot. I usually spend some of my evenings writing these posts and now my nights are full with coaching clients and class. Whatever time I have leftover goes to family. I still miss these because, for me, they are a way to stay connected with myself and with my life. So I will try to find the space to write them again as I find my new schedule. (Which is an altogether different topic for a different day.)
My last coaching class was all about perspective and looking at a particular concern you have from many different perspectives and seeing how each of them felt. And then choosing one. The issue I decided to tackle was self-compassion. I am relatively good at forgiving others (especially people I love) and I give them many many chances. I tend to believe in the basic goodness of people and think that most people do not mean to cause harm onto others.
But I am much harder on myself.
I don’t like to let anyone down. I don’t like to be the cause of anyone’s pain. I don’t like to mess up. And when I do mess up, I am not so good at letting it go. I feel disproportionately disappointed in myself. I beat myself up and then hang on to the pain and sorrow for a long time.
One of my big goals for a few years (and especially for 2013) is to be more present and pay attention to this moment. Not get hung up on the past and not to worry about the future. I really, deeply believe this is a crucial step for peace.
So when I was thinking about all this during my class, I decided to do a daily ritual to help create more self-compassion in my life.
Each night, I sit on my bed, light a small candle and say “I forgive myself for all the mistakes I made today. I am now letting this day go so I can begin tomorrow fresh.” And then I blow out my candle.
Then I write down three things I am grateful for from today. Things that are specific to my life. I was writing them on paper but now I write them on my ipad which automatically emails them to me. This way when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I see is the candle I blew out so I can remember that I let the bad go. And then I go downstairs and one of the first things I do in the morning is check my mail so I am greeted by the three things I was grateful for so I can remember them again and feel the joyful wash of gratitude.
I think letting go of the bad and highlighting the good both go a long way toward self-compassion. I would prefer not to have a little fire but I love the physical motion of blowing out the candle. It feels like letting go. It feels like an ending. And I want it to feel that way. That’s what rituals do for you. They create the clearing you need so you can make space for new things.
I’ve only been doing this for a few days but I do feel its magic and so I wanted to document for myself and also share with you in case it might be something that works for you, too. If you have other ways of clearing the space and welcoming the next day from scratch, I’d love to know them so I hope you share.
In the meantime, I am taking this very small step to being more present. Letting go of each day and allowing myself to welcome the new day fresh and open.
And welcoming the possibilities.