How are you doing?
Beyond the 'I'm fine", what's going on?
- How is your body? Where are you aching? What do you need to soften?
- And how is your heart? What is it holding? What might you release - or forgive yourself for?
I am learning that self-forgiveness is a vital part of self-compassion.
This is not a brush-it-under-the carpet kind of forgiveness - a 'say sorry and move on' rush-job - or a 'get out of jail' card that allows us to do terrible things on a regular basis.
It's a way of seeing ourselves. Of being present with the reality of whatever has taken place - something that feels less than ideal, and which probably, you wish had never happened in the way that it did; and yet also, present with the truth that you are not defined by that moment or behaviour or choice; and that, in fact - truthfully -you did the best you could with what you knew then.
You are defined not by what went before, but by what comes ahead. By how you pick yourself up. What you learn as you do so.
And by your courage and compassion in facing the next challenge when it comes - knowing a little more than you did then. Probably not enough to avoid making some very similar mistakes in the future, but enough to keep you moving forward, a little more aware, a little more adept each time.
I got to practice this a few days ago... lucky me.
... In a long term loving relationship, there are moments - especially when you're both exhausted and over-stretched, and ironically, missing each other - when you both say entirely the wrong things, in entirely the wrong tone of voice. Moments when you become furious and unable to see the world from anyone's perspective other than your own. And in which, everything feels unforgivable.
Yup. We had one of those days. And it was painful.
Fortunately, along the way, I have learnt - once the fire has died down - to find somewhere quiet, to soften, release, recalibrate and eventually, to forgive...
These days, I know that when it goes tits up, it helps to go tits down, and swim it all off in the sea...
In search of the cold shock that I know will whisk through my body, straight into my mind. Immediately pulling my focus from everything but the water.
Stilling the shakes, calming the breath, softening my body to accept the cold.
Breathing into it.
The softening spreads - heart, gut, mind - begins to melt through my emotions. Sadness, frustration, anger, whatever it is that I need to let go of.
Bubbles of tension rolling away in the ripples that I leave behind.
As the softness spreads - a little more with each stroke of cold water against my skin - I can open to the beauty. The clouds growing ever pinker, then grey, as the blue of the sky deepens into indigo. Seabirds soaring low and fast over the water, waltzing with their reflections.
Just me and the water, reflecting my own human tenderness back to me.
The sea can't take it all away, but for the time I’m in the water, it holds it all - it clears and it softens.
Embraced by water, I can begin to accept that as humans, we mess up. We get it wrong. Sometimes, we even get it wrong in front of the kids. And then we get to teach them how to recover from their own mess-ups... by awkwardly, imperfectly, persistently, getting up again from our own.
It's a painful truth, but a valuable one. It's also a reminder to tend to ourselves gently as we move through it all.
Now, you might not choose to jump into the sea when those moments occur in your life... but there will be something else that helps you when it all gets too much.
How do you take care of yourself?
What moves you towards forgiveness - when that's what you most need? What allows you to soften, and shift perspective? To release the voice of self-criticism and blame when it comes? And replace it with beauty.
What helps us to release and... just be?
The answer is different for everyone.
For some people, it's a walk, a run, or writing it all down (as you can see, that's another one I love...). It's being heard by a kind friend, a crazy dance round the front room, or a hardcore yodel at the top of a mountain (maybe).
At the heart of any of these choices lies self-compassion. There is kindness in letting go of your inner judgement - of yourself and others - and simply allowing yourself the space you need to recover and reset.
There is kindness in believing in your capacity to be resilient, and forgivable.
There is value in taking a moment to soften into forgiving yourself - for all the imperfect moments, the distractions and wasted time, the sharp retorts, the lost promise, the decisions you wish you'd never made, the lessons learnt the hard way, the things that didn't turn out as you hoped, all the things about you that don't work 'properly', all the ways in which you don't feel enough.
Yes, for all of that. All of it.
Because you are so much more than all of those things.
You are love.
Forgiveness is love in action. And love, as mothers, is our specialist subject.
We just sometimes forget to direct that immense beacon of love towards ourselves - especially when we mess up.
There's a lot of talk about romantic love in February. But this mama-lovingn mail is a gentle reminder that loving yourself - especially through the moments when that feels hardest - is the most vital love of all.
Join us in Mamas' Everyday Retreat for our monthly get together on Wednesday 13 February from 8.30 to 9.30pm - and we'll remind you again.
Coming soon... Sea Soul Sessions.
I've been developing this new offering over the past few weeks, and I've had some wonderful feedback - see below.
20 minutes of one to one soul connection - from my sea soul to yours. We come together online, using the Sea Soul Blessings as guides to reflect and respond to whatever you're facing right now - with self compassion and gentle encouragement to move forward. If you'd like to find out more, reply to this message, and I'll get in touch as soon as we go live.
“My Sea Soul Session with Pippa was my first time having someone pull cards for me. I found it an insightful, encouraging, and intuitive experience - highly recommended!” Jennings
"I really loved how you applied the cards to my question. It was like chatting with a really wise friend who wants to see you feel better. I felt relaxed after and more sure of some choices I was debating - and energized by what's to come instead of sad and overwhelmed! I would highly recommend a session to anyone! It would be a very lovely gift for yourself or a friend going through a hard time and in need of some extra gentle love and kindness." Lesley
“I so enjoyed today. I appreciated the tender, intentional flow of the session, and came away with some encouraging insights that I was able to put into action straight away. Thank you.” Nichole
May you FORGIVE
The sea clears the mind and heart of resentments and guilt. It soothes the harsh ache of blame, and absolves failure. In the water, the tenderness of human vulnerability cannot be concealed. Each wave recalls our ability to release and renew.
May you find safe spaces to release anger. May you allow that you did all you could with what you knew then. May you gently rewrite the stories that bring you pain.
Monthly Retreat Party: Our next monthly #somum Mamas' Retreat Party in Mamas' Everyday Retreat will take place on Wednesday 13 February from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.
Mamas' Everyday Retreat is a safe kind space for mamas to connect and support each other. You can expect much me-time encouragement, compassionate conversation, gentle motivation, and surprise treats.
If you're not already a member, ask to join the group and we'll add you.
Like this mama-loving missive? You can sign up to receive Mama-Loving Mail addressed directly to you over here.