kindness first to ourselves



“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ~ C.G. Jung

“By surviving passage of doubt and depression on the vocational journey, I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.” ~ Parker Palmer, Let your Life Speak

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

In last week’s group, we focused our attention on compassion. So often, when we discuss the word “compassion” or “kindness” we think first about what we do for others, how we show these qualities to other people. We forget that in order to offer it others we must first give it to ourselves.

And even when we do offer it to ourselves, complications remain. Our hearts, like long-wailing infants, are surprised to be lifted and keep crying out, keep asking questions. In the pieces you’ll read below are two writers’ accounts of this. As they explore the idea of self-compassion, they are confronted with fear as much as their sense of self-love. As a group, we recognized that, just like everything else, to get good at giving yourself kindness and self-compassion, you have to practice.


You never know from one day to the next,
what will happen? Who will you become?
Minds seem to go blank,
I would like a fire to mesmerize me,
maybe the wind will carry me away.
Worry is intense, terrifying, blinding
will that pattern be explained?
All the years, where have they gone?
Waiting to shout: I’m ready, are you listening?
It’s me, I’m here, waiting.
Do you hear me calling?
Am I speaking in tongues?
I’m here, it’s me, are you coming?
I’m ready now to start a new life. Will you come?




The most terrifying thing is trying to
find out who you are when you have
always lived for others. The proverbial
tree in the forest who am I if there
is no one in my life to witness the
paths of my existence.
There are no children to raise
here. Am I am mother?
There is no father to run to. Am
I a daughter?
A husband is gone from this world.
Was I a wife?
If the ones that I live for are not
here, who do I live for?
If you tell me all those things still
exist as part of my being. What about
the rest?
If there are no more drugs.
Am I an addict?
If I am behind prison walls
Am I bad?
If it’s not my fault when things go
wrong, can I take credit when they
go right?
I am who I am. I’m not sure exactly
how to do right by myself. But I know
how to live for love. They may not
be here to see it, but just in case
I will keep with love in all my actions.


. . . and you?

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