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Online Retreat
Mindfulness, self-compassion and the healing embrace of God
Mindful awareness of emotions

Begin this session with following this guided meditation, by Tara Brach, called Opening and Calming

Length: 13 min 56 sec

At the end of the talk, listen to this beautiful song by Carrie Newcomer, called "It's always love":



Mindful awareness of your emotions

  • During this afternoon or evening, notice when something emotional happens inside of you, such as a clench of anxiety, irritability or anger, or a despairing / down feeling.

  • Start with noticing the thought stream or story-line that has been fuelling the emotion, and try to shift your attention away from that to the deeper level of experience.

  • Try to name the emotion, and tell it that you welcome it, no matter how hard it feels. You could try the exercise of bowing to it.

  • Now even let go of the name of it, and try to locate where in your body you are feeling it. Bring your curiosity to this feeling, and really experience the sensations of it in your body.

The following poem is written by Carrie Newcomer, and is a beautiful invitation to welcome everything that arises:

Note to self when walking

(because I forget)


When walking in the woods,

Or on a path,

Or down the street,

In a store,

Or just upstairs,

When you are intent on going,

Wherever it is you are going,


Stand still.

Notice how the mind can chatter,

Like purple finches in the trees,

Endlessly clicking and warbling,

Rising and falling and rising again.

Notice all your plans and longings,

All the things you got, but didn’t want,

All you wanted, and didn’t get,

All the circular conversations aimed at changing,

What was already said or unsaid.

Notice all the losses you are carrying,

With as much grace as you can muster.

Notice the sky, the feel of the air on your skin,

The sounds or what hangs in the silence,

The hard knot in your throat.

Notice all these things and more,

Because there is always more.

Then let your heart open,

Even just a crack,

A dribble or a dam break,

It doesn’t matter.

Because it is in that opening,

You’ll find a clear space

The one you keep finding

And losing

And finding again.

Remember to love it all,

All of it.

Hold hands and high five

With what’s easy and dear,

Ephemeral and brilliantly ordinary.

Wrap compassion like a blanket

The kind we place tenderly,

Around other people’s shoulders,

When the disaster is done and the worst is over.

Love it all,

Without looking for any way out,

Not condoning, just allowing,

For it all to just live,

Where it lives.

Love everything that broke your heart open

That changed you forever,

That made you softer,

And helped you understand,

What you could not have understood otherwise.

Love what you’ve endured,

Love what you are still enduring.

Love the purple finches and the sidewalk,

The view from the upstairs window,

The brambles and wild asters,

And the click of the keyboard.

Love all of this

Small and fragile,

Big and beautiful,


Then take the next step.

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