Resources for Recovering Resilience: What Self-Compassion Feels Like in the Body

Here’s the link to a 6-minute film clip by the equivalent of Swiss Public Broadcasting, part of a series they did last summer on New Spirituality in California. The clip is in German, and it can take awhile to upload, but it includes my teaching mindful self-compassion at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, recorded at my daylong on July 9, 2016.

I’ll be teaching very close to the same workshop, Shift Happens: Learning to Bounce Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, even Disaster at Spirit Rock again on Sunday, November 6, 2016.

And also at
Leading Edge Seminars, Toronto October 27-29

New York Open Center, New York, October 30

Insight L.A., Santa Monica, CA November 12.

Below are the instructions for the Hand Gestures of Self-Compassion exercise that was featured in the film clip (in English!) that help us get a visceral sense of the power of mindful self-compassion to help us bounce back from disappointments, difficulties, even disasters. The exercise was developed by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer in their Mindful Self-Compassion protocol. It takes 1-2 minutes to do; you can feel the effects immediately and carry them into the day.

Exercise: Hand Gestures

1. Please hold your hands out and squeeze your fists. Notice and say out loud what emotions are coming up.

2. Now open our palms, turned upward. Notice and name how you feel.

3. Now extend your palms and your arms forward a little bit. Notice and name how you feel.

4. Now place one palm in the other and slowly bring them both to your chest. Feel the warm and gentle pressure of your hands on your chest. Breathe gently. Notice and name how you feel.

Review each hand position:

1) The closed fist is like the self-criticism we shower on ourselves too often during the day

2) The open palm is like the mindfulness that brings acceptance and equanimity to our experience

3) Extending our hands and arms reminds us of our common humanity – we reach beyond ourselves and include others

4) Placing our hands on our heart helps us feel self-kindness or self-compassion for ourselves. When we care for ourselves, it feels good and we feel save and loved.

You can repeat these hand gestures anytime you want to evoke the feelings of kindness, caring, tenderness in your own body as you move through the day.