Yet here are three treasures 
That I cherish and commend to you: 
The first is compassion, 
By which one finds courage. 
The second is restraint, 
By which one finds strength. 
And the third is unimportance, 
By which one finds influence

Lao Tze, Tao Te Ching: Chapter 67**


Within the practice of Yoga, meditation and other conscious self-care there is great possibility to move out of seemingly impossible circumstances that we have experienced this last few years of Covid’s disruption. One important aspect of how this work on ourselves is designed to heal is by heightening awareness and revealing solutions that come from these new perspectives.

We have had a unique opportunity to learn and integrate the healthier habits and understanding we have developed this last year. We can respond with new and wiser priorities as we rebuild our lives. We can redefine what is important in our lives in real ways. Times of turbulence, stress, and loss have these possibilities built into them.

This is not to minimize any aspect of these challenges or to ignore the fact that is some ways we are, over 2 years into this new world post pandemic still healing and healing from all that has occurred. As we move forward consider that the way to ultimate success in achieving any goal is to persist, learning from mistakes and enjoying the journey amidst the challenges.

In this work sometimes the mind can get in the way. It can turn its healthy and necessary abilities of reason, analysis, assessment and healthy choice making against ourselves in the form of self-judgement and stressful fear-based thinking. This can narrow our perspective, create undue pain and stress that shrinks our world and can erode our sense of self.

The antidote to this may be a faint notion at first, arising in our quieter moments of reflection or in our most difficult moments. It is a sense that that while the mind may limit and seem to turn against us. the heart has room for it all.

In Yoga and related healing and self-care practices the foundation of our work on ourselves is self-forgiveness and an increasingly judgement free acceptance of ourselves as we are. This is often the hardest step to take it seems as we begin our journey there is a pressing need to for change that draws us to these practices in the first place.

We can be more accepting that grieving our losses and rebuilding our lives is is often difficult, filled with ups and downs. Finding ways to mark improvement and progress can be helpful. It can support remaining hopeful and persisting on the journey toward ultimate success more  than wrestling ourselves and reality of the moment along the way. Compassion towards ourselves and everyone on this journey can help.

In the words of Lao Tze:

Compassion is the finest weapon and best defense.

If you would establish harmony,

Compassion must surround you like a fortress. 

Lao Tze, Tao Te Ching: Chapter 68**


When compassion leads the way in our lives it can allow stress to dissolve and our work on ourselves to become more the work effective. That sense of separation and struggle can melt no matter the circumstance. It is a simple and very powerful practice that when we find ourselves in a battle with ourselves and others, in that moment of recognition, we let the mind sink into the heart. This is compassion in action.

With it comes the possibility, even if for just that moment, to be more open hearted and open minded.  We may better arrest the stressful cycle we are in that moment and make new choices or adjust our present actions with more refinement, From the space created with an openhearted awareness we may better understand and appreciate the challenges, accept the losses, and enjoy the triumphs of life more fully.