This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to witness 12 women sitting with, walking with and turning towards their “woundedness.” One of the participants said to me, “We are all broken, but we are just here being with our brokenness together!” And that is exactly what we did at the Women’s Mindfulness Retreat at the Rocky Mountain EcoDharma Center outside of Jamestown, a beautiful spot in nature to be touched and opened up by the gifts of quiet, peaceful abiding. We opened up our hearts to ourselves!
What happened this weekend reminds me of this stanza of Rumi’s poem: “Childhood Friends”
“Don’t turn your head. Keep looking
at the bandaged place. That’s where
the Light enters you.
And don’t believe for a moment
that you’re healing yourself.
We all were healing each other as we were turning towards our own brokenness. We created an entryway for healing — our own vulnerability. “This tender softness is a portal,” writes Saki Santorelli,
We hide it, Call it ‘flaws’; never realizing it is the entry point for marvelous possibility.” Saki speaks so eloquently about this process of healing ourselves together in his book about the MBSR programs that he led at the Center for Mindfulness in Massachusetts. His book, Heal Thyself, gives us these lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine.
In order to make sense of our losses, we have to use mindfulness to get closer to them, to allow them to be present in our bodies. When we can do this, we are able to allow the feelings to come and go and emotional processing can move through us. When we push away our pain, we are prolonging our natural process of grieving. However, there are times when we need to resist in order to feel safe from overwhelm, etc. The grieving process is a dance of opening and closing to the pain and allowing yourself to process it through as is best for you.
Self-Compassion practices like Loving Kindness Practice, or Metta, is another way of being with our pain that allows us to feel the healthiness of ourselves as it remains a big part of ourselves along with our wounded parts. When we are able to see that kindness is essential to mindfulness, we can accept what is there and learn to be with it in whatever way is necessary. Learn more about Loving Kindness and other self-compassion practices and how they are the cornerstone of my programs in the Mindful Self-Compassion Group starting in March 2019. These tools are essential for grieving, and they will be introduced in my new book coming out: A Midlife Voyage to Transformation. You can sign up now for the next Mindfulness Retreat: Healing Ourselves, Healing the World which is October 28-31, 2021.