I clung desperately to, the psychologist and meditation teacher, Tara Brach's RAIN practice this past week. It's fair to say that that practice saved me. It's also fair to say that my clients are probably tired of me assisting them in utilizing RAIN.
But, it's just so calming. And, I love it.
It's the perfect combination of two of my favorite things -- mindfulness and self-compassion. Mindfulness is just noticing the fullness of what's happening at any given moment. So, if I grab my chapstick and I notice what it feels like to touch it, to see its colors, to feel the sensations on my lips, to smell it, and finally what it's like to put the cap on and place it down, guess what! I just applied chapstick in a mindful way.
Self-compassion, on the other hand, represents a caring, loving, supportive, accepting, and empathetic friend who is by your side at all times. If, while trying to mindfully put chapstick on, I notice a pain in my shoulders, self-compassion is the one who rubs my shoulder, asks me what's going on and what I need, and gets me what I need. I'm externalizing self-compassion, but its energy is within us. We just have to do some work as often as we can to grow that kind, curious, and comforting energy.
So now, onto the magic that is RAIN!
I love the acronym. This week, after I practiced makin' it rain on my emotions, I laughed at the expression. I also felt calm. It felt like the RAIN washed away all the tightness, the pain, the anger, the heartache, and the sadness.
I needed RAIN the most when I read and thought about the systems of oppression that are in place in our country that are contributing to Black and Latinx folks being more at risk to COVID-19. Thinking about how unfair and unjust the world can be to marginalized folks rips my heart apart.
I am so appreciative of the folks who are writing articles about these injustices to create more awareness about what's happening and how different systems can help. I am also grateful for the folks who are doing their best to help those of us with less privilege (e.g., finding resources for immigrants and other sources of funding for POC).
Also great to see individuals who are helping medical professionals, whether by saying thank you, offering food if and when they need food, donating supplies and blood, and practicing physical distancing.
I am beyond grateful to those who can and have helped.
Like Mr. Rogers and his mom have said, in times of crisis, it's important to look for the helpers. And, there are many many many helpers. You can witness more acts of kindness through John Krasinski's Some Good News show.
Seeing people practice compassion, empathy, and kindness towards others does feel soothing. But, if you ever need to turn that compassion and kindness towards yourself, know that RAIN is here for you.
RAIN entails recognizing your feelings, allowing them to be present, investigating possible sensations in your body, and nurturing yourself in some way.
In action, for me, the RAIN practice could look like:
R -- I'm angry and heartbroken that centuries of racism, anti-blackness, and classism means that certain groups of people will get sick more often and die more often.
A -- Your anger and sadness belong. It's OK that these feelings are present.
I -- As I experience this deep anger and sadness, I feel that my chest is tight, that my shoulders are tense, and that I'm barely breathing.
N -- I see your pain. What do you need right now? How can I support you in this moment? If your favorite person were here with you right now, what would you want them to say or do? I need to cry. I need to just cry and crumble, and let myself feel this helplessness and grief. And I need a hug. And, I need tea. And, I want to hear: I see you. I'm here for you. I love you, and I believe in your ability to move through this pain. I believe in your ability to hold space for you and to hold space for others.
This practice can be really powerful, especially if you have the time and space to pause and reflect on uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that come up for you. It's also helpful to explore what you need. Whether you're alone or with others, you can give yourself what you need. Say to yourself what you need to hear. Hug yourself. Make yourself tea.
I hope this practice is as powerful and healing for you as it is for me.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for being.