Each month at Mindful Therapies we focus on one of the nine foundational attitudes of mindfulness, as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn. These are attitudes we can bring both to our mindfulness practice and to our everyday lives.
The nine attitudes are:
Of course, there are 12 months in the year so October is the month of curiosity, November is the month of compassion and December of the month of connection.
As we’re now approaching November, today’s post is all about compassion.
What is compassion?
I think of compassion as a kindly response to suffering. We experience compassion when we are aware that someone is struggling in some way and we are moved to want to help – even if we know that we can’t. We are usually pretty good at feeling compassion for others but tend to meet our own distress with harshness and criticism.
Kristin Neff describes compassion and self-compassion as consisting of three elements:
Awareness – We must be aware of our own feelings to know that we are struggling. Often we are so busy distracting ourselves that we don’t even allow ourselves to feel our feelings. We also need to pay attention to those around us in order to recognise their need for compassion.
Shared Humanity – As human beings we are more similar than different. When we feel an unpleasant emotion I can guarantee that everyone has felt like that at some point. The details may be different for everyone but the experience of suffering is universal. When we recognise that we suffer because we are human, we can let go of judgement towards ourselves and others.
Kindness – Compassion is more than a feeling. There is an intention towards kindness and the desire to alleviate suffering. This might be the self-kindness of making yourself a cup of tea, speaking to yourself softly or asking for help. This might be the desire to reach out and give a friend a hug, or make a donation to charity. Usually we can’t fix it but adding some kindness makes a huge difference.
Compassion in practice: The Shoebox Appeal
Last year, Rachel’s mum and her school in Liverpool collected for the Shoebox Appeal. 95 shoeboxes were wrapped and filled with gifts and sent to children in Romania. This year she is aiming to double that total and, in the spirit of compassion, Mindful Therapies is going to help. If you are reading this and live local to us (Newcastle) then you can help too!
Please can you donate any of the following items:
Suitable Items :
- SOAP AND SPONGE/FLANNEL
- PENCILS, CRAYONS, COLOURING BOOKS ETC
- TOYS AND GAMES
- DOLLS/CARS/TEDDIES (NEW PLEASE)
- ANYTHING THAT WOULD MAKE A SMALL CHILD HAPPY AT CHRISTMAS!
- EMPTY SHOEBOXES WRAPPED OR UNWRAPPED
- WRAPPING PAPER
We will be meeting in the first weekend of November to wrap and fill boxes.
Please come and join us. Drop in at any time between 12:30pm and 4:30pm on the Saturday or between 12:30pm and 4:00pm on the Sunday.