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Hi Community,

I hope this newsletter finds you well, and that you're enjoying the shorter, cooler days of early November. Thanksgiving will soon be here, and for many people, the end of the year brings both festive times and challenging ones. This pre-holiday time is an excellent opportunity to remind yourself of what nourishes and renews you. 

I grew up in New England, and this time of year reminds me of jumping into piles of raked leaves, drinking hot apple cider, and watching V's of wild geese cross the sky in their autumn migration. That memory inspired this month's self-compassion practice ~ Meet Your Wildness, and my hope is that it helps you find new, accessible resources for navigating what arises as 2013 begins to wind down.

I'm also sharing a favorite Mary Oliver poem. You may be familiar with it, but see how it strikes you this time, as you experiment with awakening self-compassion through contacting your own wild nature.

Also, I want to remind you that the Self-Compassion Circle will not be meeting in December, so this month's group on November 25 will be the last one for 2013. Our first meeting of the new year will be on January 27, 2014.

Wishing you a generative, easeful month.
~ November 2013 Newsletter ~

Meet Your Wildness

An immediate, powerful way to awaken self-compassion is to make contact with something wild and unconditioned; something not made by human minds and hands. This could be a plant that grows in the earth uncultivated - a blade of grass, a tree, a flower. Or you might stare at the sky and watch the clouds, or visit the ocean, or notice the shapes of shadows.

Last year, I wrote a
blog post about Anne Frank's Chestnut tree. Coming into relationship with that tree and the sky beyond it seemed to give Anne strength and resilience, and to remind her of her connection to something much vaster than her extremely challenging circumstances. Learning about her experience helped me to remember that we all have access to wildness, no matter where we are.

When you're stuck in self-judgment, it can be hard to remember that you have a trustworthy wildness about you. Self-judgment is an expression of the conditioned mind, and it's a kind of trance. When you knowingly make contact with something wild, you have the opportunity to break that trance, and to come home to your timeless true nature. See what happens when you consciously give your attention to something that’s unconditioned. Even five minutes of staring at the sky can shift your perspective and help remind you of who you truly are and what you belong to.

Upcoming Events
Self-Compassion Circle
Monthly Meditation Group
Next Meeting: Nov. 25

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
       love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
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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