A 12-Minute Meditation for Expanding Our Hearts

Sustainable self-care requires us to build community. Just as we offer support to others, we can be open to accepting it for ourselves.

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This practice is steeped in the connection we need when we are practicing self-care. As you take the time for self-observation, connect with your creativity, your self-expression, your compassion, and see what arises for you.

A Guided Meditation for Expanding Our Hearts

A Practice for Expanding Our Hearts

  • 12:01
  1. Find a space where you can give this time to yourself without distractions. As you close your eyes or soften your gaze, whichever feels more natural, get into a comfortable position.
  2. Take a cleansing breath. A long, slow, deep inhale through the nose. Exhale through the mouth and repeat that one more time.
  3. Recall a situation in your life that is challenging or difficult and causing you to feel hurt or stressed. See if you can bring this situation to mind. Feel the struggle, the distress, the emotional discomfort as it arises in your body. Where do you feel it? Become aware that this is a moment of struggle or discomfort. You may acknowledge that this moment hurts. You can even say this out loud: “Ouch,” or “This hurts,” or “I am in pain,” or “I’m stressed.”
  4. Recognize that stress and struggle are parts of life that link you to your humanity but don’t have to overwhelm you. Remember in this moment that you are not alone. All people struggle in their lives.
  5. Show yourself some kindness. With your eyes still closed or your gaze still lowered, place one hand or two hands over your heart, if it feels right in this moment. Take a few deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, relaxing any tension that you’re holding in your body. And each time you exhale, feel that stress disperse and leave your body. Feel the gentle touch and the warmth of your hands resting on your chest. And feel a warm, comforting, kind light building in your hands and spreading to your heart.
  6. Allow this gentle healing energy to flow from you and to you, spreading through your whole body and bringing calm where it is needed. And as you begin to rest in this place of calm and self-compassion, ask yourself: What do I need to hear and feel right now to give kindness to myself?
  7. And now say to yourself: May I be kind to myself. Use the phrases that feel most aligned with your particular situation, such as: May I forgive myself. May I be strong. May I be compassionate to myself. May I learn from my experiences. May I accept myself as I am in this moment. May I be patient. May I give myself the kindness and compassion that I need.
  8. Breathe. Take a moment to lean in to those kindness phrases and let them permeate every cell in your body. Allow this practice to clear away any blocks and open your heart to the experience of more love, compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. Open to building community. Open to supporting others, but also open to receiving support from others.
  9. Take one more long, slow, deep breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Wiggle your toes and your fingers, widen your gaze, or open your eyes.

This practice is excerpted from Shelly Tygielski’s Mindful video course Radical Self-Care: Reclaiming Your Practice and Learning How to Use it in Real Life. Sign up for Mindful’s video course with Shelly at mindful.org/selfcare by 10/31 and receive a free copy of her book!

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