• Claire Sheehan

Learning self compassion during lockdown

I could never have known when I started my 8 week course on Mindful Self Compassion at The Mindfulness Project in London, that before the end of the course we would be completing it over zoom as the UK and the world became more and more locked down and social distancing came into place.



I'd actually wanted to do the course the year before, but with having two boys at school and needing to work around my husbands work, I couldn't make the times and dates work. I instead went to see Kristin Neff speak in London and came back even more determined and hopeful that at some point I would be able to make it work. I'd done mindfulness practice before including the more traditional 8 week mindful meditation course, and somehow always fallen in and out of practice. The idea of mindful self compassion, and the chance to do the 8 week course designed by Kristin Neff and Chris Germer called to something deep within me, partly as Kristin's description of how it had helped her with the emotional side of her childs autism and diagnosis. With twins who are now 7, one diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, it resonated deep within me that here may be tools to help me with my anxiety and worries which seemed to have got more traction since I became a Mum.


I've done lots of self development work and even trained as a coach, and yet I've always felt a little something was missing. One of my recent aha moments has been that I have maybe been working from a wrong supposition, that the answer to all of this was to be found somewhere out there, in some expert and with someone telling me that if I do x y and z all will be well. One of the things I remember sitting up and taking note of during the 8 week course was the fact that though I may have come to mindful self compassion looking for those answers, and fixes, that in fact I do not need fixing, the answers are inside of me. I can treat myself as a dear and much loved friend, both offering myself kindness, being mindful and learning how to sit with just what is in this moment, and knowing that I am not alone in feeling these feelings.


One of the regular things we did as part of the training on returning from a break that I was reminded of yesterday when I did a zoom call with the lovely team at Kind Mind Academy, was the soft landing that helps bring us into where we are right now in the present moment and sit with where we are in that moment. As I've been struggling with a few things this week, the idea of the soft landing has really lit up something inside of me, that we can land gently when we slow down and make time for ourselves in stllness. I imagine myself sitting on a billowing pile of pillows or a soft fluffy cloud, bouncing gently on the love and kindness of not just myself but others around me. I can always return to these practices, both the formal sitting practices and to short informal practices that remind myself to offer myself love and sustenance, especially at this strange time we are all finding ourselves in.


One of the regular things we did as part of the training on returning from a break that I was reminded of yesterday when I did a zoom call with the lovely team at Kind Mind Academy, was the soft landing that helps bring us into where we are right now in the present moment and sit with where we are in that moment. As I've been struggling with a few things this week, the idea of the soft landing has really lit up something inside of me, that we can land gently when we slow down and make time for ourselves in stillness. I imagine myself sitting on a billowing pile of pillows or a soft fluffy cloud, bouncing gently on the love and kindness of not just myself but others around me. I can always return to these practices, both the formal sitting practices and to short informal practices that remind myself to offer myself love and sustenance, especially at this strange time we are all finding ourselves in.


I'm feeling blessed that I was able to learn the skills at this time, now my intention is all about how I can make it part of my rhythms and routines, part of the everyday ways that I can establish a beautiful and joyful practice that fills up my soul and reminds me that none of us are in this journey of life alone, and that we can always turn to ourselves with kindness and love. Follow along with blog posts here and on my facebook page where I'm sharing my thoughts, journey and illustrations, Illustrating Self Compassion. You can alo check out Chris and Kristin and the Center for mindful self compassion if you're intersted in this journey yourself.




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