Psychologist Kristin Neff describes four steps to self-compassion:

  1. The with the pain. “This is a moment of struggle.”
  2. Connect with our shared humanity.
  3. Make a gesture of kindness.
  4. Put words around what you are feeling.

This week, I returned to reading poetry and felt the call to join in. In honor of my promises to “be tender with weaknesses,” I decided to forgo narrative blog posts this month in favor of poetry.

Gaze unflinchingly at your life.
Here we are in the pandemic meantime.
Not the before times, when we gathered in groups
and danced and sang and wailed.
Not the after time, when we will have found our way
past these strange days into
a new normal.
Here we are in the meantime and we
don’t remember doing this before
though we have
your grandmother’s grandmother
knaw all about it.
It hurts to be alone.
It hurts to be so far away
even though, now, far away may be
the approved six feet.
It feels like 600 miles.
Imagine I am stroking your hair.
Pretend my arms are around you.
Feel the pressure, the gentle squeeze?
My breath is against yours
and it is pathogen free.
There are no words.
just know I am with you.