A good friend of mine recently came to the end of a significant relationship in her life. In her grieving, she reached out for some advice from a trusted mentor regarding being gentle with herself. He told her:
Gentle people never cease reminding themselves to be gentle on themselves. They know that even that can turn into another blame and guilt game. We just practice gently reminding ourselves to be gentle, again and again…
One of the authors who is speaking to me on a particularly deep level right now is Sara Avant Stover, author of The Way of the Happy Woman. She writes (with emphasis of my own):
I’ve met enough women to know that you too have a story. … You too are hungry for a deeper connection with yourself and with those who fill your life; and you too want to remember what’s truly important. You long to return to a simpler way of living, one that reminds you to slow down, simplify, value patient practice over quick fixes, care for yourself first, embrace your vulnerability as your greatest strength, and find true, lasting happiness within.
And tonight, while I was waiting for my takeout order from a downtown restaurant, I read about their Everybody Eats program. Every day, this restaurant offers a simple dish of rice and beans. It’s priced on a sliding scale of $2-6. They ask that those who can afford to do so pay the $6, or more. Any surplus goes to pay it forward to those for whom even $2 is a burden. The sign I read said that if you could not afford to pay, you could take a voucher and “practice being cared for.”
So many good things—some of the best things, in fact—are not good because they come easy. They require practice. I’d like to practice reminding myself of these things.