I LOVE my friends! I LOVE knowing they are out there, even when I don’t see them. I SO enjoy creating gifts of kindness for them, and being there during the good and the tough times. But is this simply a smoke screen… do I regularly give myself all this care and attention, am I a good friend to myself, especially my mind?

Many years ago, way before my days of yoga (and re-married life!), I went on several health retreats. On one such retreat in the NSW hinterlands, a speaker asked us to write down and consider overnight the following questions:

  • Can you give, what you haven’t got?
  • Can anyone do to you, more than you do to yourself?
  • Can anyone love you, more than you love yourself?

I came across these questions scribbled on a piece of paper, during my recent recovery on the couch. This prompted me to consider:

  • our expectations of our-Self
  • how we perceive our-Self
  • how we ‘talk’ to our-Self and
  • how much of a hard time we can give our-Self!

I’ve discovered that unconditional friendliness towards yourself, being your own best friend, talking kindly to yourself, takes years of practice. Or maybe I’m alone on this..

As we become more comfortable with the uncomfortable parts of our-Self, not being OK, being human, we start to soften towards our-Self and then the whole world seems to soften …compassion, empathy are there, even for those people and situations that we find most challenging.. Pema Chodron

So how do we do this?

The simplicity is to sit down with yourself like you would with a good friend, listen and accept your human condition. Start with short periods of touching in, mindfulness. Begin a meditation practice, start small and realistic.

Understanding how the mind works and how it influences our emotions, sensations of pain, thought patterns and many other aspects of our being is now the focus of significant research, debate and interpretation. Rather than ‘Googling’ for answers, we can conduct our own little ‘science’ experiment:

For the everyday person

  1. Give your mind (the chatterbox in your head) a break.
  2. Stop comparing yourself on social media, creating the perfect profile.
  3. Be more concerned about your character, than your reputation.

For the regular yoga student

  1. Keep up your commitment to practise.
  2. Observe your habitual excuses, patterns, stories.
  3. Diarise your thoughts/experience after class/meditation, and reflect.

For those on a spiritual path

  1. Increase the length and frequency of your meditation sittings.
  2. Discover Pema Chodron’s work.
  3. Find teachings on the Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita.

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