In a busy world, within the context of our busy lives, it is so important for our bodies, minds, and spirits to be able to slow down, interconnect within ourselves, and connect with the Presence of the Holy One who is always with us, but often goes unnoticed or unrecognized because we simply don't take the time and make the intention to see.  All of us have the ability to connect with God and there are as many ways to connect as there are people in this world.  This page includes some of the practices that I have found helpful for me and that I have felt led to invite others to explore.  Some have audio accompaniments included with the written practice so you can have my voice lead you through it.  Others are simply the written instructions for you to use.  Whether you use the resources provided here or find other practices that work for you, I wish you blessings as you connect with the Holy One who lives and moves and breathes within you, outside of you, among your relationships, and throughout the whole cosmos.  

This practice is helpful in our endeavor to embrace out common humanity which is a wonderful aid in our self-compassion practices and also in our work of peace-making in our world that is so divided between "us" and "them".  When it comes to loving ourselves, it is helpful to remember that everyone fails, suffers, and struggles in this life.  This is part of being human.  The instructions for the first time through focus on the self-compassion aspect of this practice as you bring someone who is easy to love close to yourself.  When it comes to loving others, it is helpful to remember that everyone is human, even if the way they view and act in the world is very different than how you do.  The instructions for the second time through focuses on the "loving the other" aspect of this practice as you bring someone close who is a little more difficult for you to love.  Decide which aspect you want to explore the most and practice it one time through, or practice it both ways. 

- Self-Compassion Workbook for Teens - p. 77ff

First time through: Think about someone you want to draw close as you engage this exercise.   It’s a person who is easy for you to love – it’s not a far reach to sense your common humanity.    

Second time through:  This time, think about someone you maybe don’t know as well.  Or, it could be someone you think of an “other” or even an opponent.  For our purposes today, do not choose the most difficult person in the whole world for you.  You can work up to that, but for today, we are just practicing and we want to be able to stay in this exercise until the end.   

1.     Get into a comfortable, relaxed position.  Close your eyes if that feels OK, or find a soft gaze onto your lap or the floor in front of you.
2.     Get a good picture in your mind of the person you are thinking of.  What does he or she look like?  What the expression on his or her face?  What are they wearing?
3.      Consider a few things about this person.  Say these phrases to yourself, directing them to the person about whom you are thinking. I will say a phrase and invite you to say it back to yourself about the person you are thinking about:

This person is a human being, just like me.
This person has a body and mind, just like me.
This person has feelings, emotions, and thoughts, just like me.
This person has, at some point, been sad, disappointed, angry, hurt or, confused, just like me.
This person wishes to be free from pain and unhappiness, just like me.
This person wishes to be safe, healthy, and loved, just like me.
This person wishes to be happy, just like me.

4.      Now, allow some wishes for this person to arise.  With your person in mind, say these phrases to yourself:

I wish for this person to have the strength, resources, and support to help them through the difficult times in life.
I wish for this person to be free from pain and suffering.
I wish for this person to be strong and balanced.
I wish for this person to be happy, because this person is a fellow human being, just like me.
What else do you wish for this person?  Let those thoughts and wishes arise in you now and direct them towards your person.

5.      Release this practice and allow yourself to be just as you are for a couple more breaths.  Notice how you feel about these people now after doing this exercise.  Has anything shifted or changed?

If you want to be led through this with DanaLee's voice, you can tune into the 6/5/22 Mount Tabor worship service recording on FB. A good place to start would be about 34 minutes and 30 second into the worship.