Take a pause. Take a pause from your to-do list. Take a pause from worry, from busy-ness, from production. From being there for others. Be present for you. Just be in your body. Just be in this moment. Experience your breath. Don’t change it. Just experience it.
Where do you feel it? In your nose, mouth, throat? In your upper chest? Your belly? Notice the rise and fall of your belly. Notice the small sound of your presence in the quiet. Notice.
Now notice how just naturally, your breath begins to slow and deepen. Notice your exhale slowing. Notice the inhale dropping lower in your body, all by itself, as you bring your attention to it. There’s no need to take in more air. Your body knows how to breathe. Your body knows how to take care of you.
Now picture your breath travelling from your nose to your heart. And at the same time, bring to your mind the people in your life who have love and compassion for you. Imagine that you are drinking in the compassion of your colleagues and loved ones with each breath. Imagine that with each breath, the centre of your chest lights up and expands. Feel the warmth of their love.
Notice the beat of your heart. Imagine that with each beat, your heart pumps that warm light of compassion through your arteries, spreading to arms and legs, right to your very fingertips and toes. You bring love into your body and your body moves it through. The love and compassion is yours now. It becomes stronger, brighter, warmer. Watch; notice; feel.
Place a hand over your heart. Think about the ways that you have cultivated compassion for all that is, for all beings, for all of nature, for all the people you care for, for all the people you serve. Connect with the feelings of compassion you have for others. Notice how that feels in your body. Imagine what it might feel like for a person to be held in YOUR compassion. The safety. The warmth. The respect. Notice how that feels in your body. Notice that you are filled with love and compassion. It is bottomless; infinite.
Place a hand over your other hand, as if a gesture of comfort. Connect for a moment to the pain and fatigue of this work. Imagine it. Give it a shape, colour, weight. That pain is there, but so is the compassion people have for you and the joy of caring about others. You are loved, and your capacity to care is infinite.
You are able to take that abundance of compassion and turn it inwards. Continue to breathe and imagine the light and warmth travelling through your body. Picture it surrounding that feeling of pain, of fatigue. Notice the comfort and relief it provides. You are held in the compassion you feel for yourself. You are connected to the power of compassion, to your capacity to move aside critical thoughts, to move through the pain of this work, and to quiet the anxieties you carry. Notice the love and respect you feel for yourself. Notice that it amplifies the care you have for others. Notice that the love others feel for you is always a resource when needed.
And when you’re ready, come back to the room. Notice the sounds of the space you’re in, the colours, your butt in your chair.
Continue to breathe, to expand and to move forward in your week with a new sense of compassion for self.