Day 3: Breath with Mental Noting

It was clear what I would try today, once I’d settled into my admittedly floppy pose (there are pros and cons to meditating on a couch). I used the mental note of “in” and “out” for a minute, but then I settled on “loved” for the in-breath and “love” for the out-breath. The significance is simple: I want to focus both on receiving love for myself and loving others. As seems true for many people, I find it easier to nurture others and show them compassion than to nurture myself and show myself compassion. But this has been a tragic imbalance in my life—fueling years and years of emptiness and deep depression. I’ve waited for decades for someone to nurture me the way I wanted to be nurtured (that is: to rescue me), and it’s taken me almost 50 years to realize that, although it’s wonderful to accept love from others, I am the only person who is with me all the time, who knows what kind of love I need and when, and can always spare it for me! I’ve embarked on a season of learning and doing self-compassion, and so this mental noting today includes both hope that I may love and that I may be loved (by both others and myself). Either one alone is impoverished by the absence of the other.

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