“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.”
The wise Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron, explains that the “healing” that follows falling apart comes from giving yourself the space to experience things as they happen—space for sadness, pain, comfort, relief, and joy.
Maitri (pronounced ‘my-tree’), in the Zen tradition, is a Sanskrit term that means “loving-kindness.” When you focus on making friends with yourself, you recognize that basic goodness is your true nature. You accept yourself and your feelings exactly as they are in the moment—the good and the bad. And you acknowledge and accept it all without judgment.
The following exercise is an introduction to Maitri practice that can help remind you to be kind and gentle with yourself.
Begin by sitting comfortable, in a good upright posture. Close your eyes and relax. Move your awareness to the center of your body at your heart level. Say to yourself, “My nature is gold, and I deserve peace and happiness.” Tune into any negative feelings and notice where you feel them in your body. Imagine that, as you breathe in, you gather the negative feelings from all around your body into your heart center where they dissolve. The negative emotions transform into peace and contentment. As you breathe out, radiate that feeling of peace from your heart center to all areas of your body. Repeat this sequence with each in-and-out-breath for a few minutes. Say, “I feel the peace and happiness that I deserve. May others also feel the peace and happiness they deserve.”
About the author: Nancy Parent is a 20-year veteran of Disney Publishing Worldwide, editing and writing hundreds of books for the MouseWorks and Disney Press vertical imprints as well as Disney global publishers. In addition, Nancy has written and edited for DreamWorks, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic, Reader’s Digest Children’s Books, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, Andrews & McMeel, Fox, Suzy’s Zoo, and Lyrick Entertainment. Most recently, she collaborated on THE BEST DIET BOOK EVER (The Zen of Losting Weight) by Dr. Joseph Parent. Her picture book, Holly Bloom’s Garden, was co-written with Sarah Ashman and published by Flashlight Press. Nancy resides in Burbank, CA. She can be reached at Nancy Parent firstname.lastname@example.org.