Compassion or No [self] Compassion That is The Question. Beth D. Weinstein

I had the opportunity to attend a meditation with Alan Lokos (Community Meditation Center in NYC) this morning. His voice was so soothing and somehow he emanates compassion through his presence. A very close and lovely friend joined me. It was what I sometimes describe as a very “fulfilling” sit.

Afterward, we proceeded to go to brunch to celebrate my dear friend’s belated birthday and during our discussion she shared an observation. She stated that her experience of me is one where I am very compassionate with others but lack compassion for myself. This was both hard to hear and great to hear. It was a familiar comment. Just this week in my supervisor (another very wise and compassionate man) who supervises me in my clinical work (psychotherapy training) suggested I go to Central Park this weekend. When I asked why he was “assigning” this to me he suggested it would be a great place to bury the hammer I keep hitting myself over the head with. He was only partially joking.

I am engaging in a new career, which brings me face-to-face with my own “stuff” a daily basis. I am finding that I understand, empathize, have patience and compassion for those with whom I have the honor to work with, clients and peers but when it comes to my own work I do not allow myself much slack. I seem to be lacking in self-compassion. I can tell a peer that I believe s/he is doing the best they can, that they should give themselves a break, I can offer a hug or an ear, I have endless patience to listen but lack these same kindnesses for myself. So, I visualized burying the hammer in the park this morning during my meditation. It was hard with the snow and ice I had to imagine digging through but I did it. This is a reminder for us all that there is an abundance of caring and compassion … so serve yourself a heaping bowlful!

Beth D. Weinstein