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Hi Community,

I hope you're all well, and staying warm and dry. It's February, winter sure is with us, and here comes Valentine's Day ~ a day that tends to evoke a wide range of feelings in people. It can be a time for joyful, sweet expressions of love and connection, as well as heartfelt loneliness and disappointment. Some may feel pressure to feel and act in a particular way, while others resent what is sometimes perceived as a Hallmark holiday. 

However you feel about February 14 ~ you're not alone. And if you're finding it hard to remember that, I hope this month's tool will help. It's a practice I share at every workshop and group that I lead. Sometimes I describe it as "calling in your compassion tribe." Today, I'll call it "Seeing the Love That's Here." It's a way to remember what you already have in your life ~ the people, places and beings who support and love you

I'm also including some links to recent blog posts I've written ~ so you'll find more tools there for breaking the trance of self-judgment.

And, if you scroll down a little further, you'll see a link to a Valentine from me to you. I hope you feel nourished by it!

The next Self-Compassion Circle will meet on February 24. If you're looking to meditate and connect with a  community of like-minded others, please join us! Note: At our last meeting, most folks preferred the cozier, downstairs room at Cultural Integration Fellowship, so we're now meeting there. It's accessible through the side entrance on Third Avenue. Signs will be posted. 

Sending warm wishes for an easeful, wakeful month,
~ February 2014 Newsletter ~
Seeing the Love That's Here

If you're in a trance of self-judgment, you tend to feel utterly alone. You forget the fullness of who you are, and you easily get stuck focusing on your perceived shortcomings or flaws. Remembering who and what supports you can help break the trance and bring you back to a sense of wholeness and connection. 

For this practice, start by closing your eyes. Bring to mind anyone by whom you have felt supported: teachers, friends, loved ones, family, mentors. These could be people who are living, or who have passed away. You might also have felt supported by spiritual figures who you have never met. And there may be artists, musicians, writers and activists who, simply by living their lives and sharing their work with the world, have nourished you in a powerful way. Let yourself remember them.

You might also feel supported by certain animals ~ maybe a much-loved pet, or an animal you feel a strong connection with; a spirit animal. And let’s not forget plants ~ maybe a favorite flower or tree has really felt nurturing for you.

Also, see if there are any places where you feel especially at home ~ a country, a city, a town, a landscape, a specific location by the sea or in the mountains or woods; a house, a building, or a place that you may know only in your imagination, but
 where you feel at peace.

If you have difficulty bringing to mind any of these types of resources, you can put your hand on your heart. Take a few breaths and let it register that your own heart is always here with you: 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. 

Pause here for as long as you like, and notice how you feel as you allow yourself to perceive and receive the love that's present in your life right now, in all its forms and expressions.
Upcoming Events
self-compassion circle
Monthly Meditation Group
Next Meeting: Feb. 24
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Lea Seigen Shinraku

I'm Lea Seigen Shinraku, a San Francisco-based therapist and writer, and my life is devoted to supporting people in loving themselves, no matter what. Through my writing, clinical experience, workshops and groups, I've helped hundreds of people live with greater ease and joy by guiding them to meet self-limiting beliefs with loving presence, 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 © 2014 Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, All rights reserved.

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