Barbara has recently had a family bereavement and will not be working for the time being – watch this space.

Loss

Hello dear friends,

My beloved son took his own life last week. He suffering was unbearable.  I do feel that he is now at peace. 

Whilst doing my training I remember Professor Mark Williams saying that Mindfulness doesn't help with grief, but from my own experience right now, I notice that Mindful Self Compassion really does. The warmth, love and courage we direct to ourselves because life is so painful, as well as recognising the common humanity of such experience, is central. Being aware of thoughts and not escalating them, helps firmly and gently, the 'being with' suffering rather than adding to it. When the wave hits, there is precious little awareness but as with all our practice we simply come back when we can, with unconditionally loving, awareness rather than being the neutral observer.

I will not be running the two eight week courses this year that would have started in October. I intend to do so at Hamblin Hall in the New Year. They have the details of the dates, so for all of you who have booked onto these courses, please be in touch with them.

The drop-ins at Hamblin over the next months will continue with Lisa Sturge running them.

I will see nearer the time, but have thought of returning to hold my one-to-one sessions in Oving from November.

No-one wishes to hear this kind of news so please take care of yourself if you notice a strong reaction.  I am enveloped in love with my family and friends and of course this is what every human being needs when faced with such grief. The 3 step compassion practice is a corner stone and you can find it on my website http://www.dailymindfulness.com/sample-meditations.

May we all be safe, may we be peaceful, may we be kind to ourselves, may we live with ease.

Naomi Shihab Nye's poem Kindness comes to mind as I write this. You can read it below.

Love to you,

Barbara

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.