Create room for lovingkindness, self-compassion during this blessed season 2016

heart-792179_1920This year 2016 has been tumultuous and riddled with a lack of civility and respect to many who have fought hard to be seen and noticed and cared for as human beings.

Many of us struggle to comprehend the endless fighting in different continents – and it’s not just the crisis in Syria. The flood of refugees fleeing war, hunger, climate change or drug trade is happening all over the world.

Here in the United States, we have seen this expressed in our election process with many concerned for their safety and well-being. This is a time to be aware and vigilant of how to take care of each other and bring the human touch into our lives.

During this time, it is wise to step back and see how we are with each other as it is in the small things that we say and do that we can express loving kindness and compassion.

It is in gestures of love and simple words indicating patience and awareness of the other. Bringing this loving kindness into your own heart and letting it soak in to a new level may bring a wonderful surprise of compassion into your own being.

I heard an interview on NPR the other day about how language came about due to our need to resolve conflict. As a child psychiatrist, I have seen the phenomenon and miracle of language reduce the anger and oppositional behavior of children of all ages when their language skills improved.

And think about your own children in their toddler years as how the conflict is reduced as they are better able to share what their needs are in the moment. How language is used and what words are shared with the tone of voice matters and impacts those around us always. This is equally true for your internal dialogue! Learning ways to work with the internal dialogue often improves your ability to handle the mood your might be experiencing.

I recently interviewed a woman in her 50s, and she shared about her contemplation practice that she had let lapse. Yet she shared that when she did it, it did bring peace in her heart. I encouraged her to practice 10 minutes twice daily and at the end of her practice, bring that  feeling of peace that she experienced and to let that feeling back into her heart, holding it there so that she could feel the compassion generated by her practice for herself. She was surprised about do that as she would offer it outward but not towards herself.

Each one of us needs to offer love and compassion to ourselves first before we offer it to others. Can you imagine a world of individuals who loved themselves in a balanced wholesome manner? The culture of the world we live in would change.

Consider loving yourself and see if it is possible to hold hate in your heart toward others.a

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