New Years Message
By Chris Germer
Co-founder, Center for Mindful Self-Compassion
January 9, 2019
Dear MSC Teachers,
Dear MSC Teachers,
I had the privilege of hosting the MSC Circles of Practice on New Year’s Eve day with MSC graduates and teachers from all over the world. It was so touching to practice as a global community on the cusp of the new year and to hear the participants’ sharing afterwards. I was left with a deep feeling of gratitude for what we are creating together.
We did a little reflective exercise for the new year based on core values and loving-kindness meditation. It went like this:
- First we connected with the core value that we would most like to express in 2019, such as living with more balance, connecting with others, finding one’s voice and speaking up, seeing our own beauty, and so forth.
- Then we explored the many little ways that we are already doing this, often without realizing it.
- After that, we allowed ourselves to feel in our bodies how it is when we’re not living in accord with this core value.
- Then we asked ourselves, “What would you say to a friend, knowing how important this core value is to them and how it hurts to ignore it?” For example, you might say, “I love you, please give yourself this gift. You are worth it!”
- Then we practiced saying those same words to ourselves, in the same, loving way, bathing in the words and the intention behind the words.
- Finally, we wrote this message down on a slip of paper to be reminded of this core value during the year, especially when we find ourselves off track.
After the exercise, participants shared how sensing their own preciousness is itself a precious gift, how feeling valued and valuable is the foundation of meaningful personal change, and how self-appreciation is only possible when we realize that we arise out of the earth and are inseparable from one another. Also, how making a difference in the world requires tapping into a deeper appreciation of what truly matters to us and speaking up even when we’re trembling in fear. As a community, I think we stepped beyond the usual new year “fix this and do that” and into a shared space of potential and power.
As an MSC community, we are also rich in personal resources. Probably over 60,000 people have taken MSC thus far, either face-to-face or online, and about 1,900 MSC teachers have been trained since 2014. We have a well-functioning center for supporting our teachers and practitioners (thanks to Steve and the team!), and we are determined now to bring self-compassion training where it is needed the most, which means underserved populations wherever they may be. Our finances are often precarious but we are careful to balance our dreams with our resources. Multiple adaptations of MSC are either happening or in the works. The MSC workbook has been published and is selling like crazy, multiple translations are underway, and a professional textbook will be released in August 2019—all to share the gift of self-compassion with others and promote self-compassion training.
Indeed, there is great hunger for self-compassion around the world and the wave of interest in self-compassion has only just begun. Fortunately, we have a remarkable community of inspired and committed teachers to meet the challenge (thank YOU!) and our administrative infrastructure is in place for rapid growth. Our CMSC Board of Directors also provides wise and innovative guidance to our efforts as an organization, adding the viewpoints of Joy Huang from China, Marta Alonso Maynar from Spain, and Kristin Neff and Jim Douglass here in the U.S.
The commitment of the Center for MSC and the founders is to become increasingly decentralized, steadily diminishing the focus on Kristin and myself, by recognizing and supporting each MSC teacher’s talents and interests, and by helping MSC teachers support one another. Our CMSC Board of Directors also provides wise and innovative guidance to our efforts as an organization, adding the viewpoints of Joy Huang from China, Marta Alonso Maynar from Spain and Jim Douglass from here in the U.S. Therefore, we hope that you will stay informed about new developments, and keep the Center for MSC informed about your needs, as the future unfolds.
On behalf of the Center for MSC and the Board of Directors, sending warmest wishes for the new year,