Mindfully exercising self-love and self-compassion
Not too long enough, I started noticing my hands getting warmer, with a pleasant tingling-like feeling. At the beginning I wasn’t sure why and couldn’t even see any pattern. I just felt them “active” under the skin of my palms and fingers.
The weeks passed, and I noticed the feeling again when I was caressing Marty, not sexually, just patting his back after arriving tired and hungry from work. I guessed this was not weird; he is my love partner! Next time I noticed it was when I was hugging my mum after a year of not seeing her. Again, I thought this was normal; she is my dear mum! But then I even noticed it when petting my old dog, Cherrie. I always talk to her like she is a baby, and the softer my voice, the warmer the hands! One day the feeling really surprised: I felt it when helping a client to soften up his back during a Restorative class. He is a regular client, yes, but with no relation with me, just a person I see every week. Hhmmm!
Mindfulness – Feel what you Feel
I started working as a Yoga instructor a couple of years ago. As a friend says, my classes are “feel me” based. I prefer slow, self-care classes where we can explore passion and compassion for ourselves and others.
“Feel what you Feel”: I borrowed this from teacher Mimi Kuo because I found it so simple and profound. For me it means giving space and time to recognise whichever feeling or sensation arises within ourselves, without wanting to change it or judge it, just being aware it is “there”. When we move and observe from self-compassion, we open a space for energy to travel through our body. We can feel it first in our hands and feet.
So, that’s how it started? Was I creating prana, Qi, energy in my hands by merely moving my hands to caress? My intention of touching from passion and compassion might be giving them the extra loving warmth I feel. I believe many therapists develop this sense in their hands, and that’s probably why they can heal and provide comfort with a touch.
But I am sure we all can do this. We only need to allow the feeling of not-judgemental love and compassion to install in our hands, body, mind and heart. However, I know sometimes it is difficult to feel or show love to ourselves or others. In my classes, sometimes we do something I call Cultivating the Sensation of Love in our Hands, in which we guess and exercise How that sensation might be like and how we might feel it in our physical body. We do so by thinking about someone or something we love or care about and try to recreate the way we feel when we are near them, when we can touch them. It can be anyone or anything able to awaken feelings of love in ourselves. For me puppies are THE best, I can happy-cry watching them (and YouTube knows it!), but it can also be simple things in nature, arts or music.
After cultivating the sensation, we massage our own body, keeping that warmth from love in our memory. We touch our face, squeeze our muscles, brush our skin, or follow the trajectory of one of our bones. I encourage to do it with the eyes closed to keep the energy within, and avoiding thoughts like “this is nonsense,” or “I won’t be able to feel it”. We only need to be open to the experiment of feeling whatever we Feel. Hopefully, with practice and enough dose of self-compassion, that feeling will come easier and stay longer.
Let’s give a go at home. Start by imagining How love would feel in your hands? I made this short video with a few ideas to try.
Let me know how it goes and if you had a different experience. Have a lovely week, and I hope you enjoy watching Cherrie, the oldest dog in the block!