The Art of Self-Love (Part 1) ~ Self-Compassion
I'm lying in bed. It’s 4am. Not an unusual time for me to wake up, and until recently I’ve always resented it. I find it hard to go back to sleep but don’t have the energy to leave the comfort of my warm bed.
My body knows it’s too early to get up. But my brain is like an anxious puppy waiting by the door with its lead in its mouth.
I’ll send the invitations this week
I should just cancel tomorrow's lunch
I’ll suggest we Skype instead
Why do I always double-book myself?
I could call Auntie while I’m walking to the station, ask about her knee
I still haven’t sent that list of Bali travel tips to Poppy
How long would it take to walk from here to Covent Garden?
I really want to write two blogs this week
If I walk more I won’t have to go to the gym
I can’t believe Clare hasn't text me back yet
I'll eat fewer carbs this week, stay off the pasta
Why did Madame Medhurst always pick on me in class?
She had 27 girls to choose from, and she picked on me
How many beans make five, five what anyway?
Did Kate Winslet really say she’s not been airbrushed, deluded!
Okay, send list to Poppy, text Clare again, see if she’s okay
Oh I must make up the guest’s bed for Friday
What time is it now, I could go to morning yoga
I'll get to the gym three times this week
I’ll juice today, the one with lime and mint, did I get lime?
Wonder what those women thought of the Dark Choc face mask
I should ask them for reviews
If I get up now I’m ahead of myself, a bonus hour or two
04:25, is it too early to have a coffee?
It flits, darts, it's capricious, fickle, flicking through memories, picking at old wounds, re-enacting arguments I should’ve won, silly things, serious things, worrying, remembering, listing, thinking, planning, feeling anxious, heart pounding, turning over, desperate to sleep, but can't.
Why doesn’t the brain focus on nice things in life? I never lie in bed at 4am having lovely pleasant thoughts. Well, not until recently.
A few months ago, during a self-compassion workshop - yes, you can pay to sit in a quiet room and breathe and think compassionate thoughts - I was listening to the chatter of my mind, wandering off as usual (it's just what minds do) and decided that when I wake in the middle of the night I’m going to distract my mind so that it doesn’t do it’s tireless negative acrobatics.
Apparently the gemstone Rose Quartz symbolises compassion. I’m a bit of a hippy at heart, and I like that something solid and tangible can represent something so transient. Holding an object while meditating helps bring my mind back from wherever it wanders (it's just what minds do). As my mind is excellent at being drawn to negative thoughts, I use this as a physical cue.
So now, when I wake up at 4am just as I start beating myself up, I remember that I can choose to intervene.
I reach for the small heart-shaped piece of rose quartz laying under my pillow.
As I lie in the dark clutching its cool smooth shape in one hand I am present for a moment, where I’m warm, comfortable and safe. Instead of worrying, I choose to feel calm. Instead of zooming in on the niggly things in my life, I choose to focus on the good things about it. Instead of regretting all the things I haven’t done, I choose to list the things I have.
Instead of beating myself up, I choose to be kind to myself.
I may or may not get back to sleep, and my mind continues to wander off (that’s just what minds do), but now I have a reminder to bring it back and to refocus, leaving me feeling calmer, more peaceful and more relaxed.
Next time you wake between sleeps, and your mind begins to wander (it’s just what minds do) and you find yourself fretting about life, take a moment to think of all the good stuff you have, all the joy and the love.
Be kind to yourself.
You probably deserve it.
So many of us experience this, so I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. What helps you to remain sane in-between sleeps? Let us know in the comments below.
Leave a Reply