How to be kind to yourself.
My biggest discovery in 2022 was that I had no clue how to be kind to myself.
I knew it was important and I had no clue HOW.
I used to know how to push through, get over it, bypass my hard experiences and emotions. I did not know how to be with them in a tender way.
While I have been meditating for the past 20 years and had other great spiritual practices/training under my belt, being kind to myself no matter what was not accessible to me.
I remember sharing my discovery with my mindfulness meditation teacher training peer group and everyone had the same challenge and when I started paying attention my family, friends, and clients had the same challenge.
Kindness was my word this year and I will carry over into 2023.
RAIN meditation was a beautiful technique that opened the door to my kindness, universal love that is always there for me.
It became my strategy for finding my way back to myself, to the present moment when I was in the thick of difficulty, when I was caught in emotional reactivity.
RAIN allows me to remember to be mindful with myself which means: being present to what I experience and being with the experience in a kind and loving way.
The acronym is RAIN. And the term RAIN was first coined by insight meditation teacher Michele McDonald. Teachers have been sharing it now for over two decades.
R: Recognize what is happening (roots of understanding)
A: Allow life to be just as it is (grounds of love)
I: Investigate with gentle attention (deepens understanding)
N: Nurture (awakens love)
After the RAIN (realizing freedom from narrow identity)
RAIN meditation can take from 5-20 minutes or long if needed.
Sit somewhere quiet and follow the steps below.
Take a three deep breath. Connect with your body and see if you can gently relax yourself. Meditate for a couple of minutes, relax your nervous system.
Think of a difficult situation that you are currently facing, it can be with the world around you, your personal life, health, your work. The situation that triggers anger, fear, dislike, shame or other hard emotions.
STEP 1. The R of RAIN: Recognizing – 1-2 minutes
In your mind take some time to recognize the primary emotion (s) that become activated. Articulate them for yourself.
STEP 2. The A of RAIN— A: Allowing— 2-5 minutes
Bring your attention to whatever feels most difficult in what you have recognized in Step 1 with the intention of fully “letting it be.”
Allowing is the willingness to pause and stay present with the life that is here, just as it is.
Allowing difficult emotions to be present requires gentleness and tenderness.
Saying to yourself phrases such as “this too” or “yes” or “I can hold this” can help.
This is about opening to your experience, even when it’s painful.
STEP 3. The I of RAIN: Investigating – 5-10 minutes
Investigating is about inquiring into the felt sense of our experience rather than engaging in a cognitive or analytic process.
During this step see where you are sensing in your body the difficult emotions you are experiencing.
While your story and beliefs can be a portal to direct experience, keep returning your attention to your body, to the felt sense and sensations of wherever you feel most vulnerable.
Bring an interesting and kind attention to your experience.
Some of the following questions may be helpful in your investigation. Feel free to experiment with the sequence and content of your inquiry.
– What is the worst part of this? What most wants my attention?
– What is the most difficult/painful thing I am believing?
– What emotions does this bring up (fear, anger, grief)?
– Where do I feel these emotions inside?
– What is the felt sense of these emotions as sensations (clenched, raw, hot, sore, aching, empty, squeezed)?
These final questions are a transition to N – Nurturing. Stay connected with the vulnerable experience inside, and also sense that you are asking
and listening from a compassionate presence.
– If the most vulnerable hurting part of me could communicate, what would it express (words, feelings, images)?
– How does this part want me to be with it?
– What does this part most need (from me or from some larger source of love and wisdom)?
STEP 4. The N of RAIN: Nurturing — 5-10 minutes
Take some moments to breathe consciously and adjust your posture in a way that helps you fully contact your most awake experience of heart and mind (sometimes perceived as your high or future self). Call on this wise and compassionate self or call on another being (such as a friend, family member, pet, teacher, or a spiritual figure), whose wisdom and love you trust.
Offer inwardly the love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, or protection that the vulnerable part of you most needs. You might extend your care through words, touch (such as a hand on your heart), and/or imagery (such as seeing your inner child embraced or surrounded by light).
As you complete Nurturing, you might sense if there is a message from your most awake heart/mind (future self) that will be helpful to remember.
After the RAIN (2 minutes)—This is the time to cease any “doing” and to take some moments to rest in the presence and heartspace that has emerged. Relax and let it fill you. Get familiar with it. If you are feeling some new or residual difficulty, offer this your acknowledgment and care. Before closing, pay attention to the quality of your presence and ask yourself:
In these moments, what is the sense of my Being, of who I am?
How has this shifted from when I began the meditation?
You can take 5 minutes to journal and see what unfolded for you.
RAIN meditation is my favorite kindness method in my toolbox of how to be with myself in a loving way.
I hope you will add to your tool box.
I offer a 1-on-1 RAIN session, reach out if you would like to have a session with me. It is a 60 minute session online.