Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Meeting the World with Kindness

Dear KOM-ers!

We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!

Please enjoy this excerpt from “Meeting the World with Kindness” by Sue Schneider.

There are 2 ways to enter to win a FREE copy:

  1. Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
  2. Email us at KOMWriting@gmail.com with the Subject: Meeting the World with Kindness giveaway entry

The winner will be randomly selected on 10/30/23 and announced on our website and social media. *

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Given the state of the world these days, many of us are asking: Can anyone (everyone) learn to be wiser and kinder? Meeting the Moment with Kindness offers a resounding “Yes” as well as a roadmap for cultivating seven aspects of mindfulness that can help us access our inherent wisdom, stability and compassion.

Our effort to develop mindfulness is not a small or simple undertaking, but one that is urgently needed. Many of us desire to slow down, quiet the mind and attain greater contact with our lives; but we get stuck in habits and behaviors that don’t support our aspirations. This book can help us get unstuck by exploring three fundamental questions: How do we develop the inner resources needed to care for ourselves and our world mindfully? What stands in the way of living mindfully, seeing clearly and acting wisely? How do we meet our obstacles with curiosity and compassion?

Through wisdom teachings, personal stories and evidence-based research, Meeting the Moment with Kindness offers a pragmatic framework for developing mindfulness and befriending the inevitable obstacles on our path.

Excerpt: Chapter 7: Freeing Our Compassion Energy

Welcoming Self-compassion

Mindful awareness allows us to recognize the places where we are stuck, afraid and contracted. These places are fertile ground for self-compassion. We can begin to melt our protective shells when we bring some level of kindness to whatever we are feeling. As Pema Chödrön suggests, “[A]s we learn to have compassion for ourselves, the circle of compassion for others—what and whom we can work with, and how—becomes wider” (2008, p. 120). We can’t build that wider circle of care without self-compassion, which is our foundation for loving others. Yet our culture teaches us that being kind to ourselves is indulgent. So instead, we learn self-judgment, how to push ourselves hard and how to beat ourselves up when things don’t pan out. Performance, achievement and competition is rewarded in our homes, schools and institutions, but not self-compassion. Selfless service is particularly reinforced for women in our culture. We are expected to give to others but not to ourselves.

Self-compassion can be learned. It requires that we first observe with mindful awareness how harsh and critical we are with ourselves. From there, we give ourselves permission to do things differently, to approach ourselves with kindness and gentleness. Self-compassion is a practice that may not come naturally at first. But over time it can become a natural response.

The power of self-compassion became evident to me a number of years ago after I picked up Aidan from his after-school program. He was having a rough week; he had been grumpy every day and we were finding ourselves regularly in a struggle. I decided earlier in the day that if another temper tantrum arose, I would come at it with compassion, recognizing that his struggles had nothing to do with me. As the energy began to escalate, I was preparing myself to silently practice lovingkindness and wish him well. But when the inevitable fuss and struggle came, I was surprised with my response. Rather than silently wishing him well, I paused in the moment that I felt myself getting triggered and I wished myself well. I took a minute, sat down, put my hand on my heart and acknowledged how bad I was feeling. There was a surprising amount of tenderness that came over me. I held myself for a long moment. The anger dissipated and I knew what I needed to do. I went to Aidan, gave him a big hug and told him I loved him.

Kristin Neff, a psychologist who researches self-compassion, points out the many ways that our culture negates its value; self-compassion is commonly viewed as self-pity, weakness, complacency, self-indulgence and selfishness. Instead, her research shows that self-compassion is linked to less self-focus, more strength, coping and resilience, more motivation and persistence, healthier behaviors and more generosity (Neff, 2012). The moment of care I gave myself not only helped me deescalate and recenter, but it led to a powerful moment of connection with Aidan. Taking time-out to shower myself with compassion was a far more productive approach than expressing the anger I felt, and it unexpectedly produced generosity of heart. When I teach others about self-compassion, I like to offer my students a reframe; that self-compassion is self-full rather than selfish. I have a lot of evidence in my own life to back this up. As I have found ways to take better care of myself, I have become a better mom, partner, co-worker and friend. It’s just that simple.

Jon Kabat-Zinn offers a beautiful suggestion, a powerful image, that we can take into our practice, “you might try, just as an experiment, to hold yourself in awareness and acceptance for a time in your practice, as a mother would hold a hurt or frightened child, with a completely available and unconditional love” (2005, p. 163–4). When we do sitting meditation or recite lovingkingness phrases or do any number of compassion practices, we can put our hand on our heart to feel a physical connection with ourselves. HeartMath studies posted on their website point to a direct connection between the heart and the brain; the messages we send ourselves can be profoundly impactful energetically, neurologically and biochemically. Small acts of compassion are where we start. But we first need to give ourselves permission to welcome these expressions of care into our lives.

 

* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media. 

NOTE: You can purchase Sue’s book from CollectiveInk or on Amazon.

sue schneider
Sue Schneider, Ph.D., is a medical anthropologist, integrative health coach and certified mindfulness instructor. She has been teaching mindfulness meditation to students of all ages in university and community settings for over a decade. She currently leads community health and wellness initiatives as an Extension Professor and State Health Specialist at Colorado State University, Sue also has an integrative health coaching practice in Fort Collins, CO, where she lives with her husband, son and two dogs. To learn more, visit her website.

Related Posts

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy these

Comments