Putting the MS in MSC: in which I undertake some mindful self-compassion

I’ve never been the most consistent blogger, but a five month gap is a lot even for me. Thinking back on the time that’s passed I can’t quite figure out how it has happened. Each quantity of time in the pandemic is hazy as days, weeks, months melt into each other like a temporal fondue.

In addition to not writing, I’m not doing most of the “shoulds” that stared me down from to-do lists and habit trackers until my negligence caused even the most persistent app to stop chirping at 9pm to ensure I didn’t forget to write in my journal. Exercise? Barring getting a semi-impressive-for-progressive-MS 1,000 steps a day, I do nothing regularly. Diet? Ha. (The macaroni and cheese I scarfed down last night was homemade, at least.) Reading often is rejected in favor of podcasts, which demand less from my brain and eyes. I recently watched an entire season of an intense Korean zombie show in a week(do subtitles count as reading?), but that’s about it for recent personal accomplishments.

Ugh. Just writing that, I’m ready to settle in for some self-flagellation.

Lazy *crack*
Unhealthy *crack*
Time-waster *crack*
(Bonus points to you if you heard Jesus Christ Superstar as you read the above.)

And the whip-wielder above, while not nice, is not wrong. I shudder to think how much writing I could have done if I hadn’t watched every episode of The Great Pottery Showdown (or worse, Too Hot to Handle).

Luckily tonight was the first session of a course I’m taking in Mindful Self-Compassion. Our small group was welcomed as “beautiful and messed up humans.” We were encouraged to feel whatever we were feeling and to greet even the ickier feelings with curiosity and acceptance. Does this sound woo and squishy? Well, it is those things, but it’s also science.

When asked why I joined the MSC group, I initially thought it was for my coaching clients–and you, dear reader. Spread the wisdom! Spread the self-love! That’s my plan! But really, it’s for me. Each day is death by a thousand “Neal, could you please… ?” cuts. I haven’t a clue what challenges will come in a month or seven. If I am going to survive with my wits and humor intact, I need tools to help me face the ick head-on and accept whatever comes with an “oh hi, there you are” rather than a “what fresh hell is this?!”

My hope is to loosen my grip on the whip. And maybe the remote, too. Just don’t make me put down the mac and cheese. I promise to share what I learn.

Book cover reading "The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook" over an image of a wooden walkway leading to a beach
True story: when Neal saw this in the kitchen he said, “What loser asshole ordered this book?”