Mindfulness Activity #180

Mindfulness Activity #180

Loving Kindness for Loss

The last half-year has been stunning in terms of the number of losses people have faced individually and we have faced collectively as a country. It seems that every morning there are new shocks and new losses. Mass shootings in our country remain the highest in ANY developed country in the world. Despite our best scientific minds, we have not yet solved the problem of COVID-19 and we have done poorer in managing it than most any other developed country. The school year has begun for most children in the most unorthodox of ways and despite the best efforts of teachers, frustration and anxiety has marked the opening of the school year for just about everyone. Top that off with one more monumental loss. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has lost her battle with cancer.

I know this opening is dark and morose. It has been a period of trauma and devastating loss for our country. We can’t change that, but we can change our approach to these experiences. When we allow feelings and reactions to exist without judging them or fearing them, they make room for new feelings. I’m profoundly sad for the loss of Justice Ginsberg. I’m also anxious about the conflict and fighting that is sure to ensue related to her seat on the Court. No matter what your political beliefs, our country has lost an amazing feminist icon. RBG, as she became known to younger generations, defied the saying, “Women can have it all but not all at the same time.” She had children, cared for her sick husband, held up his law practice, and graduated at the top of her law school class. She argued some of the most important legal cases that paved the way for women of my generation and beyond to demand equal treatment and to participate fully in work and family life as they choose. Sadness is important because it makes way for other experiences like admiration. RBG was determined and she was a fighter. She achieved all
that she did by quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) doing what was necessary to keep all the priorities in her life moving. That’s what mindfulness is all about—keeping your eye on the ball. When I read her book, “In my Own Words,” I was surprised how clearly she described being in touch with her emotions. I marveled at how she could experience the discrimination she did without being so angry that she became ineffective or felt hopeless. She was clearly a master of being in the present moment. In her book, she described knowing she had hours of work to do for law school, knowing she had to prepare food for her ill husband, and playing with her child and fully enjoying the time with her child before taking all that on for the night. She said, that was her daughter’s time and her time–and it was wonderful.  So, as I said, I am feeling sad and anxious for this loss—an also inspired by her legacy.

I thought that for today’s practice, we would do a loving kindness practice for loss. This should allow acceptance of sadness and also make room for and help to generate feelings of well-being.

So, today’s practice will be a simple loving kindness practice, play the music clip below for background as you do the practice, breathe deeply and then read the following statements. (If reading for a group, read each line and let the group repeat…)

Breathe in slowly and exhale three times, then begin saying in your mind the following words:

May I be happy, health and peaceful
My I let go of sadness and bad feelings
May I be free from anger
May I be free from pain
May I be free from suffering
May I be happy, healthy and peaceful
May I be filled with loving kindness
May I be at peace

Now, think of someone you feel good feelings for. Notice the feeling it generates in your heart to think of them. Continue to breathe slowly in and out for three breaths. and then say…

I spread this loving kindness out
I send love to those I know
May they be happy, health and peaceful
My they let go of sadness and bad feelings
May they be free from anger
May they be free from pain
May they be free from suffering
May they be happy, healthy and peaceful
May they be filled with loving kindness
May they be at peace

Continue to breathe in and out slowly for three breaths, and say…

I spread this loving kindness out
I send love to anyone who is sad or suffering
May they be happy, health and peaceful
My they let go of sadness and bad feelings
May they be free from anger
May they be free from pain
May they be free from suffering
May they be happy, healthy and peaceful
May they be filled with loving kindness
May they be at peace

Take one last breath. End the music.

May you experience peace throughout the day, no matter what the day brings.

Michele

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