Spring,  yin yoga

Cultivating Compassion

‘O wad some Power the giftie gie us,

To see oursels as ithers see us!’

Robert Burns

This is a famous quote from Robert Burns, anyone born, raised or living in Scotland will be familiar with it. This quote is even placed on the wall near the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh – that’s how well thought of it is.

I’m not typically a big Burns fan, to be honest you’re more likely to hear me quoting Shakespeare than Rabbie (‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen – Lend me your ears…’) But today the words of the Scottish Bard came to mind as I was planning my yoga classes for the week ahead.

Working with the 5-element theory I try to use this as the basis for my classes, my own practice and as an opportunity to expand my knowledge. I know that we are in the spring season and the wood element, where it’s all about expanding energy. I find this time of year quite overwhelming as it seems to shift from 0 to 60 almost overnight. I can’t keep up with the rapid changes at this time of the year and I feel a bit like I’m being left behind.

Funnily enough this can leave me feeling a little off, and quick to anger – directed mainly at myself but occasionally at others. The reason I say this is funny is because the imbalance emotion of the season is anger. I really do love when these teachings from thousands of years ago find a way to be applicable to my little life here in 2023!

So back to my anger and overwhelm. I can’t pause the changing of the seasons or skip to the beauty of autumn when things start to slow down again. I need to embrace the changes, to be more flexible in my thinking and to adapt. That’s the lesson nature is trying to teach me right now – bend so that you don’t break, just like that tree.

If I were given the gift to see myself as my closest friends and family, do I think I might choose to approach things a little bit differently. Those flashes of anger are a way of my body asking me to slow down, to reconnect with myself and to find some compassion. Emotions are messages from us to us and sometimes we need to get out of our way to process the meaning behind them.

My family and friends would ask me to be kinder to myself, to have patience and trust in the process. They would remind me of past successes and challenges I’ve overcame. They would gently help me see the wood in amongst the trees. And here we go again, clear vision is another aspect linked with the energies of the spring season.

So, my friends, today I invite you to pause for a moment and consider what you would notice if you were given the gift to see yourself as others see you. This would make a lovely journaling prompt – so have a go.

What do others see when they look at you? What advice are the bursting to give you? Where can you cultivate some compassion for yourself?

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