Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is based on research by Kristin Neff, integrated with the clinical perspective of Christopher Germer. MSC teaches core principles and practices that enable participants to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding.
The three key components of self-compassion are self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and balanced, mindful awareness. Kindness opens our hearts to suffering, so we can give ourselves what we need. Common humanity opens us to our essential inter-relatedness, so that we know we aren’t alone. Mindfulness opens us to the present moment, so we can accept our experience with greater ease. Together they comprise a state of warm, connected, presence.
Self-compassion can be learned by anyone, even those who didn’t receive enough affection in childhood or who feel uncomfortable when they are good to themselves. It’s a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others and be more authentically ourselves.
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional well-being, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships. And it’s easier than you think.
What to expect
There will be guided mindfulness, loving-kindness and self-compassion practices, and the retreat will remain mostly in silence so you can deeply explore and learn as much as possible from your own experience of these.
The first evening will be an orientation session. For the rest of the four and a half days, the practices in the mornings and afternoons will include alternate sitting or lying and movement practices that you will have learned and practised on your mindful self-compassion course. For this time on retreat, we will be practising meditations to enhance and deepen our mindfulness, loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.
In addition, there will be a silent early morning practice before breakfast. In the evenings talks will be offered to help you relate experientially to the following day’s practices. You will also have at least one individual interview where you can discuss your practice, and how you are finding the retreat.
How will this retreat help to deepen self-compassion?
The emphasis of the retreat will be on looking after ourselves, and on nourishing our compassion both through our practice, and through time for relaxation. We will be spending plenty of practice time outside. You can also take advantage of free time after lunch to walk in the beautiful surroundings.
Who is the retreat for?
This retreat is for those who have already completed a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) course, either over eight weeks, or in an intensive (usually five-day) format. You could be either an MSC teacher or an MSC practitioner.
The retreat meets the requirement to have sat a five-day, silent, teacher-led retreat before taking the MSC Teacher Training course. Please note: The next MSC teacher training in the UK is scheduled for March 2021 hosted by the Sussex Mindfulness Centre.
It would be beneficial, though not essential, to have also taken a mindfulness-based course such as MBSR or MBCT. It is required that you have a regular and frequent practice of mindfulness meditation and/or loving-kindness/self-compassion meditation. It would also be helpful if you have already experienced a silent retreat of at least one day (or the half-day mindful self-compassion retreat), but if not, please apply, and we’ll discuss your application with you.
Requirements to attend:
Completion of an MSC course either over eight weeks or in an intensive (usually five-day) format. You could be either an MSC teacher or an MSC practitioner.