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By Justine Buckley
When starting out on any journey to become happier or healthier it is common to experience lulls in motivation, especially when we come up against plateaus in progress, deeply ingrained habits, cravings or sheer exhaustion from the demands of life. During these lulls, it is also easy to fall into the pesky habit of self-criticism. We can give ourselves such a hard time that we give up altogether...
A beautiful, nourishing and invigorating thing we can do for ourselves at these times is to get in touch with a very basic component contained within our interest to heal ourselves - our 'seed' of Willingness. Even in the depths of self-criticism or giving up, our Willingness to care for ourselves, to stop being unkind to ourselves is always there. Here is a simple practice to strengthen this seed and to get to know it a little better:
1) Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and begin to breathe deeply
2) With as much quiet as you can muster, feel into the Willingness within you to care for yourself, no matter how quiet it may be
3) Visualise the seed of Willingness as a round sphere hovering in a wide open space in front of you
4) Breath in deeply and say 'I RECOGNISE the seed of Willingness'
5) Breath out completely and say 'I ACCEPT the seed of Willingness'
6) Repeat this process for 5-10minutes.
Don't worry that in the beginning (of course) there will be a lot of unhelpful distracting self-talk. Let your peaceful, non- judgemental, 'being with' your seed of Willingness be free from your old stories. Without comment, meet it, feel it, move into a more patient, deeper 'holding' (mindfulness) of it. Be with it with a gentle curiosity, as though for the very first time. This simple, subtle practice can help us create the strongest of foundations from which to care for ourselves, no matter what our chosen path.