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Hi <<First Name>>,

Welcome to my newsletter. Each month I'll be sending an article with a supportive tool to help break the trance of self-judgment. This month's offering: The Compassionate Comma. You'll also find a poem by William Stafford that speaks to the power of starting right here, right now.

I'm excited to announce some upcoming events, too. I'll offer my half-day workshop, Love Yourself, No Matter What, twice in October. On October 5, I'll be at Austin Zen Center to give a morning lecture, followed by the workshop in the afternoon. And, on October 12, Love Yourself, No Matter What will be in San Francisco from 1pm-4pm at Cultural Integration Fellowship. 
There's an early-registration discount for the San Francisco workshop if you sign up by September 30. Click the links in the sidebar below for more information about these offerings, as well as my monthly meditation group. 

Please feel free to share this information with anyone who might benefit or be interested.

I hope you have a nourishing week!
~ September 2013 Newsletter ~

The Compassionate Comma
A well-placed comma can make a big difference (just ask Grandpa). Because it's a signal to pause, a comma can also be a helpful tool in awakening self-compassion. When self-critical thoughts arise, they typically cast a spell that takes your attention away from the present moment. Instead, you're in a trance of self-judgment with critical thoughts and indictments swirling around you: "How could I have forgotten to ...?", "Why do I always...?", "When will I stop... ?" Once you're there, you likely feel somewhat stuck and unable to think clearly.

The next time you realize that you're in that trance, see if you can pause. As an experiment, imagine that you're stepping out of the swirl of thoughts and visualize a big comma that you can step into and rest in.
Notice what’s unique about this moment. You can start with your thoughts and judgments themselves. Now that you've stepped away from them, see if you can name them without letting them take over.

Next, notice your breath - how slow, rapid, deep, or shallow is it? Let more details of this particular experience register: location, sounds , temperature, weather, time of day, day of the week, season, year, who's nearby, the sensations you feel in your body. What's the fullest view you can have of this moment?

By pausing within a compassionate comma, you can get specific about what's present, and allow your senses to bring you out of the trance. Once you're out, you'll have more clarity about your experience, and you can make wiser choices.
Upcoming Events
Self-Compassion Circle
Monthly Meditation Group
Next Meeting: Sept. 30
Love Yourself,
No Matter What

(morning lecture and afternoon workshop)
Austin Zen Center
October 5
peony petal heart
Love Yourself,
No Matter What

San Francisco
October 12
You Reading This, Be Ready 
William Stafford 

Starting here, what do you want to remember? 
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor? 
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened 
sound from outside fills the air? 

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world 
than the breathing respect that you carry 
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting 
for time to show you some better thoughts? 

When you turn around, starting here, lift this 
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening 
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent 
reading or hearing this, keep it for life - 

What can anyone give you greater than now, 
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
Lea Seigen Shinraku
I'm Lea Seigen Shinraku, a San Francisco-based therapist and writer, and I'm passionate about self-compassion because I witness its power first-hand, on a daily basis. I have helped scores of people live with greater ease and joy by guiding them to transform self-limiting beliefs and wake up from the trance of self-judgment. I draw on my professional training, client work, more than a decade of daily meditation practice, and my own experience of awakening and cultivating self-compassion. Learn more about me at

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist: MFC51836
Copyright © 2013 Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, All rights reserved.

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