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Self Care Metta Meditation for When the News is Especially Challenging

I’ve been including certain PMs, Presidents and politicians in my morning Metta Meditations for years now.

Some days it’s easier than others. With serious talk of borders on the island of Ireland, even typing this, I’ve paused to take some calming breaths.

Metta can be an advanced practice. Sometimes, we struggle to send that Loving Kindness to ourselves. Sometimes to other people. Traditionally, we send it to someone we find challenging (hence the politicians) and in the trauma sensitive way I was taught, we can choose not to if it’s too much of an advanced practice.

Metta comes from the Buddhist tradition and has been a way of cultivating compassion and equanimity for ourselves and others for thousands of years.

The more at peace we can be in ourselves, the more likely we are to have peaceful interactions with others.

This doesn’t mean a placator kind of ‘keeping the peace’ by silencing our or others’ truths but a real sense of peace and ease.

And again, calming breaths as I think about the potential loss of this peace in Ireland.

After the Brexit Referendum result, I went back to bed and cried because it felt like a blow for the idea of peaceful collaboration in Europe but I had no idea that the UK Government would undermine the Good Friday Agreement by joining forces with the DUP and now THIS….

Maybe you’re struggling to send Loving Kindness to someone you know personally – an ex, a family member, someone who (advanced practice alert) was mean to your child… we ALL bump up against challenges to our sense of peace and interconnectedness with everyone else on the planet.

This is why Metta is one of my favourite meditations and something I do every morning.

If you have my book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing, the index will guide you to all the Metta related tools I dotted throughout the year.

Sometimes, I do this in Restorative Fish pose for added openheartedness.

And even if you’ve never heard of Metta before, you can simply do this:

Start with yourself and say: MAY I BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

How does that feel? What are you aware of in your body? Is it pretty normal for you to be sending yourself love or does it feel alien and scary?

MAY I BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF JOYFULLY.

How does it feel to imagine yourself connecting with all your resources to manage this?

MAY I HAVE THE COURAGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO MANAGE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

How does this element feel for you? With practice, it will help you connect with that inner strength and power.

Then we move onto someone we love.

MAY _____ BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

How does that feel? Any niggles with the relationship? What are you aware of as you wish them well?

MAY THEY BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES JOYFULLY?

Perhaps you sometimes doubt their ability to do this and move into Rescuer mode – how does it feel to imagine them as capable and resourceful?

MAY THEY POSSESS THE COURAGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO MANAGE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

Again, notice how you feel. Sometimes, even when we love someone, we don’t see them as the whole, wise person they can be. I love Metta for when I’m worried about a person or a group of people because it takes away the charge of helplessness (for me) and also, sends that energy in a more empowering way. There’s increasing research about the heart’s electromagnetic field. How we feel has a real impact.

Then we move onto someone we find challenging (this is where Boris and co have been for me since summer 2016).

MAY ____ BE HAPPY AND HELPFUL, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

How does this feel? Sometimes, I genuinely mean it. It’s easier and more challenging with other people, too – sometimes, we know their positive intentions in a way we can’t with public figures so we can be more openhearted. Other times, the charge is even higher and it’s too challenging.

It may be that rather than the person you find challenging (and it doesn’t have to be the person you find MOST challenging) is too much of an advanced practice in this moment so you can send extra Loving Kindness to yourself and choose someone else you love.

We then move on to groups. It can be geographical, it might be an organisation you’re part of… whatever works for you.

MAY WE BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

How does this feel? I am so so happy each morning to be doing my Westport based Metta as it took me so long to get here. Maybe you’re unhappy with your geography or elements of the organisation?

Metta offers us additional mindfulness around what’s working and what might be tweaked or transformed in our lives.

MAY WE BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES JOYFULLY.

Again, how does it feel to imagine this group you’re part of as resourceful and happy?

MAY WE POSSESS THE COURAGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO MANAGE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

How does this element feel? Sometimes, potential solutions may spring to mind but simply seeing everyone involved as empowered can be transformative.

Then we move onto a larger group – maybe the country you’re in or continent?

MAY WE BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

Can you feel your heart’s expansion as you send this Loving Kindness further afield? I’m aware that this may all sound very out there but if you’re drawn to trying it, see how it makes you feel – it’s easier to feel it that have it described. It’s also possible that you don’t feel anything and that’s fine too.

MAY WE BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES JOYFULLY.

How does it feel to imagine solutions to global and political and other issues being resolved with everyone’s wellbeing in mind and with ease?

MAY WE POSSESS THE COURAGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO MANAGE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

Again, when we find ourselves feeling a bit, ‘Grrr’, that’s information for us. Perhaps we don’t trust people to do the right thing but we can come together to work with others to do the little things WE can do to make a positive impact.

I often feel overwhelmed thinking about the climate emergency, cruelty of any kind, systemic racism and other injustices and even typing this, I feel my heart sink and a level of helplessless seep through my veins.

Doing Metta and sending this Loving Kindness to groups impacted helps me feel more empowered to do little things I can do. I was very involved in the peace movement in my 20s and burned out. I got to the stage where I was walking around the office I worked in at the time openly sobbing because the idea of my taxes being used to bomb civillians in Afhganistan and Iraq hurt my heart. Similarly reading about refugees and … it can feel overwhelming.

By sending Metta to myself and others, I then feel more empowered to take action. To connect with others who feel similarly (am heading out tonight to my 5th climate change related event in a matter of weeks).

Then we move onto the world at large.

MAY WE ALL BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

How does this feel? Maybe delightful? One world, interconnected, loving and harmonious? Maybe there’s a sense of, ‘Everyone apart from ____’?

It might be more than enough to not exclude the challenging person you thought of earlier in this penultimate step.

MAY WE BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES JOYFULLY.

Again, how does it feel to imagine that sense of optimism and to think about the amazing people who are doing amazing things?

Do you feel your heart centre exanding as you envelope the whole planet with Loving Kindness?

MAY WE POSSESS THE COURAGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO MANAGE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

Just imagining the whole world being able to do this brings a smile to my face. I still have no idea how we’ll do it but prefer to let my imagination run riot in a more empowering way than its default catastrophising.

And then, having felt (or imagined) the heart energy expanding out and out and out, we bring it back to ourselves.

MAY I BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY, PEACEFUL AND AT EASE.

How does that feel now? Any different?

MAY I BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF JOYFULLY.

Again, notice any insights and feelings.

MAY I POSSESS THE COURAGE, WISDOM, PATIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO MANAGE LIFE’S CHALLENGES.

Personally, I add in a round to include everyone I’m working with each day – clients, supervisees, groups, readers etc – and you might want to do something similar.

I hope you find this helpful.

You can find other meditations, yoga videos and more throughout the site.

And, as with everything I share, you can do it for yourself. Self care. It’s not an easy fix but a practice.

If you’d like my support and my approach appeals, you can get in touch to book a free telephone consultation.

You’re also welcome to email me (eve@selfcarecoaching.net) to let me know how you found this Metta meditation and if you have any questions.

Big love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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