When you might really want to have your therapist to talk to, but she’s not available, share with yourself the mindful practice of RAIN – as developed by Tara Brach. Give yourself a sense of gentle rain when you notice you’re feeling the stress of being irritated with your children; feeling critical of your boss, stuck in traffic, tired and overwhelmed, frustrated or angry with your partner, etc., by tuning into the acronym and what it means. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Non-striving.
Here is the five minute recording to listen to: RAIN- free
Or you can read the following paragraph, to learn how to practice this mindfulness skill, and then close your eyes and pay attention to what’s going on, using these words as your guide. You can take from 30 seconds to 30 minutes (or more) to do this practice – however it suits you. Actually, you can apply this acronym alongside any stressful or difficult experience you encounter, and with repetition you’ll gain more ease with you difficult feelings and be able to move forward in your life more fluidly. You’ll get better at being present in the moment (which is where the real source of your peace and contentment in every day life lies) as well as attuning your attention.
The R of Rain is to remember to simply recognize what is going on for you right at this moment – right here; right now. Notice your feeling and name it (is it sadness, frustration, joy, impatience, disappointment, etc.?)
The A of RAin is to allow whatever affects (feelings) or assumptions (thoughts) or anatomy experiences (body sensations) there are, to just be present. Accept them; acknowledge them, just be with at this moment, without avoiding or attempting to change them. Yes, this feeling is what I am having at this moment and I allow it.
The I of RAIn involves investigation or inquiry – with intimacy and interest. Identify how this experience feels in your body. Inquire with gentleness what this might be connected to or what it reminds you of; when have I felt this feeling before? What might have led up to this?
The N of RAIN is for not (over-) identifying with this hard experience and instead nurturing oneself with the sense of non-striving to make changes; not needing to change anything; not identifying with the narrow sense of oneself – not judging, not correcting. Connect with your natural sense of who you are as you move more freely into the next moments of your life.
Take a few moments noticing your breath and pausing to think about your mother, grandmother, aunties, or anyone else who has been an important mother figure in your life. Someone who helped you to be here. Notice what you think and feel about them. Send your appreciation, love, kindness to them for two to three quiet minutes, whether they are currently present in your life or not. While thinking about them, place your hand on your heart and see if you can feel the warmth of the love you have for them. Feel how that feels in your body, heart and mind. Now imagine them sending their love to you through that same hand-heart portal. Notice your feelings.
Now, take three deep, slow long breaths in, and three deeper, slower longer breaths out. Close your eyes, if you haven’t already. Take a few moments to reflect on these questions about yourself as a mother. Ask yourself each question; pause and sit quietly, mindfully considering the answers for one to two minutes each. If you like, you can privately reflect on them, or free-write your answers in a journal…
- What personal strength are you proudest of as a mom?
- What in your relationship with your kids brings you the most joy?
- What words describe how you want to be as a mother? (What’s your intention for mothering?)
- What things are your children most grateful to you about as their mom (whether they say it or not)?
- What do you love about being a mother?
Take the time to savor the answers to these questions. Let the feelings flow through your body, and notice how you feel. Offer yourself the following gift of loving kindness:
May you be honored for the beautiful mother that you are. May you have peace in your heart about your role as mother. May you be happy. May you be blessed with the love you’ve shared, returned to you a thousand-fold. May you know you are enough just as you are. May you feel loved and special. May you be filled with loving kindness.