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Hi Community,

Here we are in July! I hope you have been able to enjoy some time this summer relaxing and doing what makes you happy ~ listening to yourself and following your internal compass.

Maybe it has something to do with the longer daylight hours, this time of year typically offers more opportunities to slow down. With that in mind, this month's tool ~ Mid-Year Check-In ~ encourages you to take some time out time to pause and recognize ~ without judgment ~ what your life looks like right now, and to consider how you would like to proceed for the rest of the year.

In the last few weeks, I've been reflecting about the importance of attuning to one's internal compass. The Mid-Year Check-In gives you an opportunity to do that. It's a way to remind yourself of what your intentions for the year may have been and see how you feel about them, and about how you have lived them in 2015. If you didn't set any intentions for the year, you can still check in with yourself. It's a chance to assess and recalibrate, if you need to. 

I recently wrote a blog post called Where does self-judgment come from?. Many of the people I work with struggle not just with self-judgment itself, but with feeling confused and ashamed by the fact that they struggle with it at all. Often, this shame and confusion come from having an incomplete understanding of what self-judgment is and how it develops. If you've wondered about this question, I invite you to click the link above. I discuss some of the ways that an inner critic is formed, as well as the power of curiosity in coming into a more empowered relationship with it.

Early next month, I'll be attending a Mindful Self-Compassion teacher training with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer. I'm really looking forward to learning from them and then offering the 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion course in San Francisco this fall. I took an intensive version of the course earlier this year, and it was supportive and powerful. As soon as I have the details and dates finalized for the course, I will let you know.

The next Self-Compassion Circle meets a week from today, on Monday, July 27, from 7:30-9pm at Cultural Integration Fellowship in San Francisco. It will be the two-year anniversary/birthday for the group. This means that in addition to self-compassion practices, discussion and meditation, there will be cupcakes! So, if you would like to cultivate self-compassion and enjoy a celebratory cupcake in a group of likeminded folks, please join us. 
Also, please pass this newsletter along to others who are interested in relating to themselves more compassionately.

~ July 2015 Newsletter ~
Mid-Year Check-In

Each December, I look back on the year that has passed and notice what each month brought. I've written about that practice before, and I recently realized that it can be helpful to do a mid-year check-in, too.

You may be very familiar with the mid-year review process at work, and it may be a source of stress ~ whether you are the reviewer or the reviewee. The practice of doing a mid-year check-in with yourself is not meant to be a source of stress; it's about coming into a more attentive relationship with yourself.

Most of us have ideas about how we hope and would like the year to unfold, yet it rarely happens that way. We all are faced with surprise situations that require us to respond and adjust our expectations. This check-in is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and your intentions, recognizing that there will be curveballs.

Set aside some time where you can reflect without being disturbed. You may want a notebook, tablet or computer, so you can organize your thoughts in a way that feels supportive. It can also be helpful to have your calendar nearby, as a way to remember what happened each month.

Consider the different areas of your life and what you have experienced. Perhaps there have been changes or developments in your work, finances relationships, family life, and health. You will likely notice that you've had some challenging times, and some times that were nourishing and/or exciting. You've probably also had some experiences that you expected, and some that were unforeseen.

One way to reflect on what you notice about the last six months is to remember that you often cannot control what happens; but you can decide how to respond to it. See if you can let that mindset inform your reflection, and help you orient in a more compassionate way.

In checking in with yourself, you may realize that your intentions have changed since the start of the year. Maybe you had certain priorities in January that no longer seem as important. Just let yourself notice what's true now. You don't have to hold on to an intention that doesn't seem as relevant; you can hit the re-set button, if that feels right.

At the same time, you may notice that you have lost track of an intention that is still important to you. If that's true, see if you can acknowledge that and re-commit to letting that intention guide you in the next six months.

You are the only one who can know what is right for you, and you will likely know what is right by getting a little lost and finding your way again. It's easy to fall into habits and forget your intentions, so notice if you start to criticize yourself for forgetting. Know that it's just part of the process. 

In creating space for reflection and taking stock of the year so far, you have the opportunity to be both honest and compassionate with yourself, and to find a sense of dignity and aliveness in how you respond to your experience in the next six months.
Upcoming Events
self-compassion circle
Monthly Meditation Group
Next Meeting: July 27
Recent Articles
Speaking of
"Only when [she] no longer knows what [she] is doing,
does the painter do good things." 
~ Edgar Degas
"To be fully alive,
fully human,
and completely awake, is to be continually thrown out
of the nest. " 
~ Pema Chödrön
"Lie is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. " 
~ Voltaire
"No masters, only you, the master is you. Wonderful, no?" 
~ Ikkyu
"Our actual ultimate root is in our humanity, not in our personal genealogy." 
~ Joseph Campbell
"It always makes me proud to love the world; hate's so
easy compared." 
~ Jack Kerouac
"Each person in the world is a unique human being, and each has unique human potential. One of the important tasks of growing up is the discovery of this uniqueness." 
~ Fred Rogers
"Start where you are. Use what you have.
Do what you can." 
~ Arthur Ashe
by Miller Williams

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don't want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.

Lea Seigen Shinraku

I’m Lea Seigen Shinraku, a San Francisco-based therapist, writer and group facilitator, and I believe in the power of self-compassion to change the world, one person at a time. Through my writing, private practice, groups and workshops, I help people live with greater clarity, joy and meaning 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, 15 years of meditation practice, and my own experience of awakening and cultivating self-compassion. 

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist: MFC51836
Copyright © 2015 Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, All rights reserved.

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