If you have been feeling a heaviness, a weight without a discernible reason, then know you are not alone. In the past week, I have heard many clients and community members speak on this theme and I, too, have felt this weight.
My sense is this weight is an accumulation of many variables.
The weight which comes from:
- waiting for the other shoe to drop (worry)
- experiencing and witnessing systemic oppression and the subsequent violent tragedies
- lack of support: both physical and emotional
- inconsistent work and school schedules
- missing friends, family, and activities
- loss of health, a loved one, mobility, security, relationships, a home, or a job
This weight is not only heavy but elicits feelings of overwhelm, rage, despair, frustration, sadness, guilt, shame, collapse, or hopelessness. None of these feelings is pleasant and quite often these feelings cause grief.
Sometimes we don’t recognize the weight as grief, and consequently, can judge our experience. If you have been telling yourself “to get over it” or “other people have it worse than me” or “this should not be a big deal,” then you may be denying yourself an honest expression of grief.
Instead of judging your experience, I invite you to shower yourself with compassion. For some of us, self-compassion feels foreign and may even be a cause for concern. Being compassionate with ourselves may trigger old messages which tell us to be selfless and to put other’s needs before our own.
If you feel guilty, or even scared, to be kind to yourself, then consider this idea:
How will I know how to treat others with love and kindness if I am not able to treat myself with love and kindness?
If you are resisting this idea, then consider how humans learn. Humans learn by doing and by watching. We observe a behavior, then we practice it. When we practice a behavior, we gain an embodied or a felt-sense of the experience. This personal response is how we course correct.
When I was first learning yoga, I would read books, watch instructors, and listen to verbal cues all in an attempt to master a pose. However, it was not until I engaged in a pose and felt how my body responded to the movement that I was able to understand what I had been reading, watching and listening to.
I understood even more when a knowledgeable instructor adjusted me while in a pose. It was as if the instructor’s hands were saying, “Like this.” My body responded instantly without any words being spoken or without any visuals being seen. Embodiment is a powerful teacher and creates a muscle memory which we can rely upon without thought.
This type of learning is what allows us to master skills and to teach. Now imagine applying this logic to the aforementioned question. Experimenting with different ways to love and to be kind with yourself teaches you how to do the same to others.
Self-compassion also gives you an opportunity to experience the sense of relief or weightlessness which occurs when you let go of judgment and meet yourself where you are. Compassion, therefore, is the antidote to our grief. Shower compassion upon yourself, and when needed, ask others to shower some compassion upon you too. Trust that your ability to receive will allow you to reciprocate compassion tenfold.
Just like love, compassion only grows bigger the more we practice it.
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.