Give Yourself the Gift of Compassion

Explore three practices to open your heart, appreciate your community, and find ways to serve the moment this holiday season.

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This holiday season, we’re all being asked to take on just a little bit more as we attempt to celebrate and connect during a pandemic. The good news is that we all have within us the natural ability to slow down and navigate the next few weeks with care and kindness.

The ability to meet this moment starts with remembering that loving space is available to us even in difficult times. Meditation teacher Vinny Ferraro says, “Compassion is simply a kind, friendly presence in the face of what’s difficult.” The power of compassion is that in allowing us to be with both the good and the difficult, we give ourselves the ability to approach life by turning toward it, not away from it. And when we turn toward life, we can be informed by each new moment and, in that way, meet challenges with skill and experience joy with abandon. 

Vinny Ferraro says, “Compassion is simply a kind, friendly presence in the face of what’s difficult.”

That’s the gift of compassion. Opening up, and knowing that you have the strength and the space to embrace whatever comes your way. As you go about your days, preparing for the holidays, notice how compassion shows up in your life—where it naturally arises and where it might need some cultivation. 

3 Ways to Bring Compassion into Focus

1. Open your heart. To connect more deeply with others, we must face the one person that we’re hardest on: ourselves. There’s nothing special you must do to deserve love. As meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg reminds us, it is simply because you exist. Try this 15-minute meditation to offer yourself generosity, love, and goodwill.

2. Appreciate your community. When we remember what we share as human beings, as well as the beautiful ways we are different, we open ourselves up to compassion in a very powerful way. Mindfulness teacher Mirabai Bush offers this 7-minute visualization practice that invites us to remember that the people we encounter, even the difficult ones, are “just like me”—in this way we invite more empathy, compassion, and kindness into our lives. 

3. Consider how you can serve the moment. Mindfulness teacher Michelle Maldonado asks us to be curious and open not only about what serves you—your self-care, and your capacity for resilience—but what wise actions you can take that can serve others. Explore this lovely 12-minute practice and give yourself the gift of setting honest intentions about how you can show up for yourself and your community. 

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