Gissele: Welcome. Another episode of the Love and Compassion Podcast with Gissele. If you’re listening on audio, don’t forget to write a review. And if you’re watching us on YouTube, don’t forget to like, and subscribe to our channel for more exciting content. Today, we’re going to be chatting about divorce and compassion.
If you know someone who’s going through a divorce or another challenging time, or if you yourself are going through a divorce currently then this podcast is for you. Please stay to the end to hear a special treat from our guest. Our guest is an educator author, mother, curriculum designer, and founder of Wholly mindful, her classes and curriculum creatively integrate the science and practices of mindfulness, self-compassion, emotional intelligence and the growing the good.
She teaches private mindfulness and self-compassion sessions as well as group classes to individuals and families. Please join me in welcoming, Jamie Lynn Tatera.
Jamie: Hi Gissele.
Gissele: How are you.
Jamie: I’m doing well.
Thank you. Glad to be here.
Gissele: Well, thank you so much for being here. We’re really, really, grateful. I know that you are a self-compassion mindfulness teacher.
I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how you got interested in compassion work.
Jamie: Sure. Absolutely. So, I used to be an elementary school educator. And then when I had my daughter, I worked for continuing ed and then eventually I. Started to teach mindfulness to educators as continuing education.
And, and that was kind of my, my, my thing, if you will, and in compassion is kind of embedded in mindfulness, but what really got me into compassionate work is actually my daughter, my older daughter had, she has a sensory difference. She has really, really big emotions. I, when she was around four. I just, I, she kept having, she would have big meltdowns, actually that this was a little on, but by the time she was four, I thought, what am I doing wrong?
You know, like what, because every time I tried to calm her down, she’d actually get bigger emotions. And so, I went to see a therapist. I thought maybe it’s my childhood stuff. And the therapist that I think you need, self-compassion. And I said, how do I get that? And she didn’t know, but, she planted seeds of that’s what I needed.
And then, and then eventually I was taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction course, and there was a, a guest presenter, like Kristen Neff. It was actually an online course I was taking. And, and then I found mindful self-compassion training and that really became kind of almost my purpose in life.
Really just how do I, how do I learn to love myself and how do I learn to help others to love themselves? Yeah.
Gissele: And did you find it helped with your daughter’s tantrums?
Did you find it helpful?
Jamie: That’s funny. It did. It did, but this is why before self-compassion training. When I was a mess, I would try to fix myself and where my daughter was a mess.
I would try to fix her. She didn’t need to be fixed. She needed to be held. And when I learned how to hold myself, when I was messy, I was more equipped to hold her when she was messy. And it didn’t, she’s still actually, she’s now 12 and she has, she’s almost 13. She has her own type of tantrums. But I do know that that the solution is not fixing the solution is, you know, of course I want to resource her and I want a resource myself, but we got to love each other.
We got to love ourselves. We got to be present.
Gissele: Yeah. Thank you for that. What do you think the message has come from for kids around the need to just kind of subdue their own emotions?
Jamie: Well, we definitely live in a society that is, you know, a left brain. If you will be left brain dominant where we’re rewarded for doing, for achieving for, you might even say like, being able to kind of control our emotions.
And so, there’s this idea. I think sometimes actually it can even come into shame. And an adult can feel ashamed if their child is sensitive. And so then they try to control it so that they feel comfortable and their child has, has, good esteem and then they feel esteemed as a parent. And so, it, it really, we have to break them cultural mold in order to create space for, for the emotional sides of ourselves.
Gissele: Yeah. That’s very, very true. Yeah. Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your childhood since we’re talking about childhood and about some of the adversities you faced.
Jamie: Sure. Yes. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with ACEs adverse childhood experiences, but I definitely had a few, I will say too, I had some really wonderful things about my childhood, so I just want to start off by highlighting that, you know, I, I, my family had a house that was by a forest.
I got to wander during the, in the forest during the day. I had a mother who. You know, very, very much loved me and nurtured me. And I had a father who, you know, brought us camping. And so there was a lot of goodness in my childhood that being said, there was also some non-ideal ness and part of it, actually, I know that this podcast is about divorce was the dynamic between my mom and dad.
They, as I grew older as my, my family grew bigger. My, I think my mother was more stressed. She, she worked part time and she stopped working part time, so she could focus just on the kids. And I don’t think that was, I mean, she’s so grateful she did that, but I think that the working outside the home kind of balanced her and she just became, oh, I think overwhelmed, angry.
She wanted my dad to be somebody that he. I don’t know, just, it just the dynamic between the two became worse and worse and worse and worse. And the, in the environment in our home became toxic. There was other things going on too, which I want to we’ll get into or kind of outside, but, definitely there was, there was trauma, there was definitely trauma.
And so I had, I had a number of adverse childhood experiences that, you know, I had to go to therapy for a lot of years to work through. Yeah, yeah.
Gissele: Did your parents’ relationship actually lead to a divorce or did they actually just continue together? Cause I do know relationships where there’s a lot of friction, but people choose to stay together and that’s also not necessarily kind of the best outcome for children.
Jamie: Well, and that was actually what my parents did for a really long time. My dad was my, you know, both of my parents they’re at work. We come, I come from a Catholic family. There’s this idea. You stay together forever, and my dad thought the best thing to do was to stay together for the, for the sake of the children.
And I think it was when I was around 14, he said, this isn’t good for the children. And so he actually, it’s interesting because my mother was, was the one growing up. who would say “I want a divorce, I’m going to leave him”. And we cry and he say, no Mommy, no don’t leave him, you know? Yeah. That he eventually said, you know what, this is, this isn’t healthy.
And so it was actually for the kids and to some degree that he initiated the divorce. And so,
Gissele: Yeah. Yeah, yeah divorce can be really challenging for children. Were they able to do so amicably or was there a lot of?
Jamie: you know, so my, my, my father had a divorce attorney who had been working for 25 years. He said my parents’ divorce was the worst divorce he’d ever seen in the history of his 25 years. Oh, my gosh, it was toxic.
And actually, that partly goes into my own story because when I got divorced, I thought this will not, I will not repeat the toxic, you know? Cause they fought over us. My mom wanted to have us only, you know, or like mostly my dad didn’t think that’d be what’s best for us. And so it was a fight and I was in the middle and I’d had to testify for what I thought was better for my younger siblings.
I mean, it was. It’s still one of them probably, you know, it might be like one of my bigger traumas in life was that divorce. But even, even with that, I’m still glad that, that, that, that the divorce, because it was at least I would have respite between the, the intensity and I had a, I had at least one stable parent at that time.
So that was a blessing.
Gissele: Yeah, thank you for sharing that. And I think, you know, some of these systems really aren’t made to be. Supportive of kids going through the divorce, right? The fact that you would have to testify or have to pick one side over the other, or sometimes even the attorneys get very adversarial towards one another, instead of realizing that everyone should have a child centered perspective.
So yeah, that can be very, very challenging. Did your parents’ divorce impact your future relationships and if so, how were you impacted by that?
Jamie: Absolutely. I mean, their marriage impacted my relationships, you know, like everything that we experienced in childhood gets imprinted upon us.
It’s just, it’s our nervous systems. We take things in. And so, I actually, I was married and divorced two times. And so the first, the first marriage was, it was actually, it was a very, very loving man and, but he, he tried to be who I thought, who he thought I wanted him to be.
And then we were married for a period of time. And at some point he realized he wasn’t that person. And then he actually wanted to leave. And I’m not sure, actually, if I try to think of back, like how did my parents. I don’t know. And I was very, I’m still Catholic actually, but I was very, my, my brand of Catholicism was more, tight.
Let’s just put it that way. And so I was, I was going to try to stay in that as long as I could to, you know, I was going to therapy by him. I was going to like counseling, like, marriage counseling by myself in my head. After a number of sessions, my therapist was like, Jamie-Lynn you can’t
Like one person can’t do this. So that’s when, I don’t know. I don’t know that they’re there, that they, that their marriage influenced me terribly much in that one. That was just one that was, you know, you, you, you don’t, you don’t know what you don’t know, you know, you just don’t know what you don’t know, but I think with my second marriage, I was, I was actually attracted to somebody that wasn’t going to be, there for me in the ways I need it. And I think my parents’ relationship made me attracted to it to some degree to something that was not optimally functional. And then, and then even actually my decision eventually to, to, to end that marriage was, I remembered from my childhood.
Staying in something that is not optimally functional is not good for the children. I’m in there getting imprinted with the idea that this is what a marriage is supposed to look like. And I thought I don’t, I don’t want it. I know that divorce is devastating. And I think it’s probably still the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to my children.
But. I thought, you know, it’s it was, it was the best thing to do given the givens.
Gissele: Yeah, and I think sometimes we’re so caught up, there’s a lot of stigma in divorce that there’s that worry about, you know, what will people think and the impact on that. And then, you know, you try to kind of keep this relationship.
Going when really it has it’s past it’s due, as you say, um, I want to kind of circle back a little bit to, you mentioned the concept of self-love and self-love is also giving yourself what you think you need and being able to voice your needs and I wonder how self-love actually could have been the connection between your first and second marriage in that the first in the first marriage, your ex-husband didn’t really realize what he needed.
He was so busy being what other people expected them to be instead of. Being his authentic self and enabling you to be your authentic self and in the second one, really understanding how your own needs, what you need in terms of relationships and being able to give up to yourself, because you had had, experiences where people didn’t vocalize their needs, your mom’s need to, for example, work and so on.
Jamie: Right. Well, and you know, what’s interesting is actually I contemplated this a little bit before our podcast, because I was, I knew I’d be talking about divorce. And so, my brain, my brain went through everything and I actually went through to my first marriage.
I didn’t really, even, I kind of just blamed myself actually, even though I didn’t realize it wasn’t my fault until when I got divorced from my children’s father, I thought, you know what, let me. Let me give my first marriage annulled, as long as I’m in pain, let me just, you know, I feel like I never really processed the first one.
And so I thought let’s just let, just, you know, get it all out and I think I kind of just blamed myself, even though it wasn’t my fault. I mean, of course we all have contributing factors. I was not perfect in that relationship, but like those situations were beyond my control and I do think what self-love does is, self-love says, let me see myself clearly and let me see my partner clearly.
And let me see this dynamic clearly and I think sometimes people can, can err on one side or the other, like it’s all my fault or I’m perfect. It’s all their fault. And neither one is really going to benefit us. And really going to nurture our wellbeing. And so I think self-love said what I need matters.
Right. Like my desire, like what was really absent when it, my children’s father was, he was actually a really good provider. He cared about the children. Even though I was the one who was like the, the, the, I was the hands-on one. Right, but he, he didn’t really have an interest in, in being connected with me.
And I was trying to force it because I knew I needed it. And, and what finally self love said is that one, the fact that I need this, these matters, right? This need for connection, this need for companionship, this matters and also, my need to be able to say no, when I need to say no, that matters. And then the second thing was, I didn’t want someone, I didn’t want to try to make someone to give it to me anymore.
And that was kind of like a growing self, a growing self-respect that I’m, I’m done begging for this, you know, I’m not trying to like force you to give me attention when you don’t want to, because I value myself. And so that was self-compassion absolutely helped me to want to just say, I guess, in some ways, all my power, but also value myself enough.
To know what, what I need, what I want and, and to see things clearly that, again, in this situation, this person wasn’t able, and it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t, he didn’t, he didn’t love me. It’s just like he didn’t have this to offer. And so, yeah, I was able to see that clearly
Gissele: that’s beautifully put, because then we move away from that world where there is,
You know, monsters versus victims. We moved to, we are just hurt people that have needs, and sometimes we can’t meet each other’s needs. So, I find that really helpful. You had mentioned before that, you know, when you, when you had gone through your parents’ divorce as a child, you said to yourself, that’s not, I don’t want to do that.
That’s not going to be me. Can you mention how compassion helped you with your second divorce and ensuring that it was. You know, compassionate,
Jamie: right. And I guess, I guess for me with my second divorce, my primary need, if you will, or like value, I’d say my primary value was the children’s wellbeing and how can I do this?
And I knew that in order to do that, I mean, actually the truth is in some ways during that divorce, I, I, wasn’t the best version of myself in terms of, I didn’t look empowered because I let him. Have a lot of, you know, I deferred a lot. But I didn’t differ about the most important things.
So even though sometimes I would placate and not, you know, like not, the most important things I wouldn’t. So, like the most important things for me is that the children’s placement was based on their wellbeing and not dollars, you know? Like that was very, very, very important to me. Who had the house.
I’m actually still renting a duplex. You know, it’s, that’s not what matters. love actually can, can be a part of a divorce. You know, and so, and again, there was some, there was, you know, like I’m, I’m actually, I’m healthier in that relationship now, because now that I, I would have been on the other side, I can say you’re acting really poorly. Like I, you know, I can show my, my fully empowered self.
Whereas at that time I was kind of, you know, I was doing a little bit of placating to just make sure that he, you know, was able to. Give the thing, give in the ways that mattered most to me, let’s put it that way. Yeah.
Gissele: It’s interesting that you mentioned that because as you, as you were talking, you know, from your perspective, I think you’re talking about placating.
As they were talking though, I felt that that’s, that might’ve been true power in the sense that you were not getting so caught up in the things that I should be doing. I should be trying to get how I should be trying to do all these things. You were focused on what mattered the most. And those were your non-negotiables everything else could just be because.
You could see yourself potentially beyond the divorce, right? Your success is not tied to this divorce. My happiness is not tied to this divorce. And I think by maintaining yourself child focused, I think that does show an element of true power in the sense that I’m not going to get caught up in all of these other things.
I’m just going to keep my vision in, see the, see the outcome in terms of a positive divorce for the children and for each of us. So, I think that actually shows true power.
Jamie: Like. Yeah. Well, I appreciate that. Well, it, it did. I mean, there is absolutely an element of power and true story there was elements of, of, of true placating also, because what it was for, I was clear about, I guess, it’s like, what is your, why, what is your why?
And is it conscious or is it unconscious? So, in those moments where I was allowing, cause sometimes I allowed poor behavior, right. Poor behavior, because, one, I don’t control it. Two, If I’m going to push back, it’s going to erupt. And I saw growing up what that looked like. And so in my decision was I’m going to pull myself out of this dynamic, right?
That’s why my empowerment was actually in leaving it in saying I’m going to continue to allow, you know, this kind of behavior. What for this moment? For this moment, I will allow this because it’s better for the whole. So yeah, there was an empowerment in it and there was also some, you know, acting in ways that I didn’t want to act long-term because it wasn’t, it didn’t, it didn’t model for my children.
What I would an empowered woman would, how about an empowered woman would respond to somebody acting in a way that was not appropriate.
Gissele: I understand.
Um, can we talk a little bit about the stigma in divorce? It can be really challenging. People can feel a lot of shame. People can feel really lonely and our loss of identity.
I was wondering how, self-compassion in particular can be really helpful for those individuals who are kind of navigating a lot of those emotions.
Jamie: Absolutely. And actually one of the reasons I said yes to doing this podcast is because I have empathy for all of you that are suffering from that stigma.
That stigma is. It’s real it’s there. People will judge. So, I guess that’s, you know, that’s the first thing sometimes when we have a fear about being judged, it’s like, it’s helpful to say, you know what, there’s a reason I have a fear. Right? There’s because some people will judge. And especially when there’s more than one divorce, right?
Like they say, Oh my God, what’s wrong with this person and so that is more self-compassion is absolutely necessary and there’s actually, some of you might be familiar with Brene Brown, she does a lot on shame, but one of the things she says is that the number of people who matter should be able to fit on, like whose opinions matter should be able to fit on like a one inch by one inch sheet of paper.
And so it’s like whose opinion of me really matters. It’s mine. And it’s the people whose opinions and values are aligned with mine. Like people whose values are aligned with my values. Right? And so, you know, my best friends, they, they supported me. They said, I hear that. You’re just, you’re not thriving staying in this.
And, and we, we love you and we want you to thrive. And so, letting go of letting go of the peoples who are going to judge and also being selective about who you’re going to talk to about it. And one of the frames I like to, I like to ask myself, it’s not that I’m hiding the fact that, you know, this is my X number divorce or whatever.
This is, you haven’t earned the right to know. Right? Like, I don’t view that your values, that our relationship, like you don’t get to hear my story and so being selective about who we talk to about these things, because we want to tell people that are going to be supportive of us and people who aren’t like they haven’t earned the right. No?
Gissele: that’s great. I was just thinking, one of these quotes that I’ve heard, which is what you think would be is your business, which is like, you know, like, you know, what people think of, we use their business. Like it’s really, it’s not anything. It really shouldn’t shape kind of what I think about myself. So, what you said I feel was so spot on,
Jamie: We had another, another frame for that is.
Is other people’s opinions of me is none of my business.
Gissele: That’s, that’s right. Thanks that differently.
Jamie: But for some reason that way, you know what I mean? Like not my business, not my kid, not my farm
Gissele: not my circus, not my monkeys.
Jamie: Exactly. Yes.
Gissele: Oh, that’s funny. As you were talking, I was also thinking, I wonder where this.
Perception that these relationships, that the quality of a relationship is determined by its length. Right? Because when I w when I see it as all relationships are temporal, some are more temporal than others. Right. So, for example, You know, like, you know, I I’m currently married. And so, you know, if, if I’m my husband and I are 90 and one of us dies, that’s still temporal.
Somebody is going to have to die first, potentially, unless you’re one of those people that died at the same time or whatever, or there might be another, but all relationships really are temporal in there. From my perspective, I think they’re supposed to be mirrors of ourselves so that we can realize what we need to heal within ourselves.
And so, this concept of longevity equaling quality, I don’t know where that comes from it. I’m just curious as to, you know, where we might have kind of gotten this concept.
Jamie: Absolutely. Well, and I’ll even say from the concept of Catholicism, when I got my divorce annulled, they were able, like, it’s interesting, the annulment process, they were able to say, you know, what, what a true marriage is, you didn’t have that.
So even within the realm of Catholicism, there’s a recognition that like, A true marriage is two free people who see each other clearly coming together to, to, you know, to unite their lives. And if those elements, if there’s not free choosing, if there’s not disclosure about who I am, if there’s not love and respect, that’s not even a marriage.
Right. So even within that realm. And so, I don’t, as far as longevity or not longevity, I guess for me, it’s not, it’s less about longevity or not longevity, more about health. Yeah. What is the health of this relationship? And if it’s a healthy relationship, that’s supporting my growth, that’s supporting the other person’s growth.
That’s nurturing each other. Then I think it should last as long as, as, as it as it’s beneficial for both parties. And if those conditions are not present, I I’m not going to. I mean, everyone has their own values and their own judgments, but to me, that’s not the wisest way for me to spend my life. Right.
Like, I want to spend my life with, with wisdom. I want to grow in love. And if my partnership is not helping me do that, then. I don’t think I have; I have a concept of a higher power. God, the universe, like, I don’t think that that’s my higher power wish for me. Right. So, but again, everybody, everybody has their own opinions and I’m, and I’m deeply respectful of people that think, you know, if people judge me negatively, according to their values, I’m okay with that.
You stay married because your living in accord with your values in my job is to live in accord with my values.
Gissele: That’s beautifully said, thank you. Um, compassion requires boundaries, right? And its people have this kind of perception that it’s soft and fluffy, and then people will walk all over you, but boundaries are really helpful in relationships.
So I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about compassion and boundaries for healthy relationships.
Jamie: Absolutely. Yes. And so, there’s, there’s a yin self-compassion so yin self-compassion says, Oh, I’m here. I love you. I hold you. And there’s yang self-compassion and yang, self-compassion says I can do hard things.
Yang self-compassion can also say no. Right. And we actually want yin and yang. And like, even if, you know, like for people watching the podcasts, like if you, if you, if you put out your one hand and say, no, it feels one way. If you put one hand on your chest and then you say, no, it feels another way, feels loving, empowering.
And so that’s the kind of boundaries we want to have in relationships is that I’m going to, I’m going to sometimes say no, because I love myself and I love you too, it is not kind to another person to allow them. And this is what I was saying about, you know, my marriage with my children’s father, when I was allowing him to treat me poorly.
That’s not kind to him. That’s not compassionate. I’m not allowing him to be the best version of himself he had. It’s not kind to me, and I’m, I’m in a, I’m in a relationship now. That’s a, that’s actually a very healthy relationship, but occasionally he will. My partner will, you know, he’ll, he’ll.
Step on a boundary in particular. It’s my right to have a different opinion than him. You know, he’ll just trample. I’ll say, you know what? No, no, no, no, no. I have a right to have different opinions to take different actions than you and he’s, he’s growing in his capacity, but partly because I’m able to be so clear if I say I have a right to my opinion, and you don’t think I do, you could have all your feelings, you can leave the house, you can do whatever you need to do, but I’m owning.
I’m owning that this is. This is w this is where I, I get to choose. Now that being said, I also need to do that for my partner or my friends. Right and even if somebody has stepped in my boundaries and I wanted an apology, I can’t say you have to apologize. That is outside of my circle. That’s outside of my own choices, but I can say I’m going to request an apology.
I can also say I’m going to do acts after I received an apology, right? Like these are, these are my choices, my actions, and I don’t have a right. I don’t have a right to, to tell you what yours are going to be. But I do have a right to behave accordingly with my values of my choices with my boundaries.
Gissele: wow. I love what you said there’s so much there. I appreciated you mentioning the fact that. Allowing people to hurt us is really not kind to themselves and that’s so true.
but people don’t see that about compassion. They tend to have those myths, you know, attached to them. So, thank you for that. Yeah, if you could share a little bit more about what a healthy and compassionate relationship could look like or may look
Jamie: Absolutely. So, yeah, so it’s going to be definitely different for different people to some degree, because for example, I’m a high energy person, right? So, my current relationship, I have a high energy partner and there’s a lot of actually a lot of passion in it. And that’s actually something I’ve discovered that I needed and so, and not everyone, you know, some people want something that’s a little bit more, you know, parasympathetic dominant. Let’s put it that way. You know what I like, I like, I like excitement and fun. So, it’s going to look different, but I guess the elements, the first element that needs to be there, is respect, right?
I, again, you’re not going to agree with every choice. They’re not going to respect every aspect of you. But like, I, I respect who you are as a whole. I respect your values. I respect how you behave in the world. And if that’s not there, that’s going to be a problem for the relationship. Right? So, I’d say that’s the first alphabet is like respect of the person’s values, how they operate in the world and that it needs to be two ways, right? Like there’s, this has to go, has to go two directions. Another element which people might not realize, and this is also linked with compassion is allowing the person to be imperfect. Again, one of the ways that actually probably fell short in my, in my first marriage was I tried to be perfect and there is this tendency that when I want to be perfect.
I expect you to be perfect and there can be a lot of slicing that goes on. And there sometimes with our tone, you know, sometimes it’s not even what we say, but it’s our energy. And so, you know what your partner is not going to be perfect. And neither are you. And if you can remember that you’re going to have a much, much, much healthier relationship and then knowing to your love language, you know, for me touches one of them, you know, so physical intimacy is actually really important for other people to touch is not such a thing.
But knowing, knowing what is your love language, knowing what your partners is, and then being, being multilingual, you know, my partner’s love language is predominantly acts of service. Anyways, I make that face like it, for those we’re not seeing
I’m a quality time and touch person, but if I can translate, he’s loving me through these acts of service. Like, can I let myself receive it? You know, then I’m going to, again, I’m going to be much more satisfied in my relationship when, when, when, when we’re, when we’re speaking different languages. Yeah.
Gissele: So interesting.
We tend to give people what we think. What we would want or what they think they need rather than what they say they want. Right. And that’s why I appreciate that book, the love languages that you’re mentioning, because it helps you gain perspective in terms of what does this person need from me, according to what they need, according to what they say, rather than what I think would be helpful or what I would find helpful if I was in their shoes. Right.
Gissele: And also thank you for mentioning
slicing. I’d never heard of that, but it’s so true. There’re so many different ways that you do kind of make these little cuts and it’s sort of death by a thousand cuts at times when we act or say stuff that is hurtful rather than approaching it from a compassionate and loving way so yeah, I think that’s something to reflect on in terms of how are we slicing and how are we slicing the relationship? How are we doing things that may be kind of hurtful?
Jamie: Yeah, and actually, if I, if you don’t mind, if I add something before, the other thing that’s helpful, and this is also, Brene Brown touches on this, the story I’m telling myself.
And so that’s, the other thing is sometimes we can be so cautious in our relationships that we’re not honest and that that’s going to create another. And again, I don’t need to tell my partner everything. There’s some things that I talk about with the girlfriend and I don’t tell him because he’s. It’s like, it’s not going to be helpful, you know, like what’s he going to do with information, whether it’s other things other times where I’ll speak from, I don’t know if anyone’s familiar with internal family systems therapy.
And so it’s this idea of, talking from parts and it’s actually some of the work I did in my own therapy to learn to the truth is for a long time, I was attracted to people that were not healthy for me. And so like, it wasn’t that I was, it was a part of me, right. A part of me that had been imprinted in a certain way.
And so, learning how to say, okay, a part of me thinks this. And so, like with my partner, sometimes when, when he, you know, I’ll take things personally, and my rational brain says, this is not personal. You pick the guy who’s really busy, who loves to serve, but like I’m taking a part of me. So, I’m able to say to him, you know, what a part of me is thinking, you don’t love me, you know, which is totally irrational.
Of course, he loves. But when I’m able to name it in that way, He can receive it without getting defensive. And so that’s another, another way to approach relationships is to be able to say, you know, what the story I’m telling myself, but to really actually notice the irrational parts of ourselves that are part of ourselves too, and then to be able to speak for them rather than to be kind of, kind of consumed by them or completely othering them.
You know, just being able to say this is a part of me,
Gissele: For sure. That actually leads to my next question what maybe two or three things that people can do today to be a little bit more compassionate towards themselves if they’re not taking the training, but they should, towards themselves, what if they’re facing a divorce?
Jamie: Right. So, if you’re facing a divorce, like the first thing I want to say, it’s like, you’re not alone. You know? Melody Beattie wrote this book called the grief club and I really, I really liked it. And she actually wrote it when journaling when her son died and she felt like all the books on grief, she just wanted to throw across the room, but she said, every time an adversity happens, you’re part of a group and you might not want to be part of the group, but you are.
And that idea that you’re not alone, you know, it’s not. And, and, and so I guess that’s the person that just like, no, and that’s actually part of self-compassion, self-compassion has three elements. Right, it has, it has mindful awareness. It has a sense of connection or common humanity, and then it has self-kindness.
And so, realizing we’re not alone is actually a tremendous act of self-kindness. So, anyways empathy to you. But now rephrase your question because now I just, I like flew away like a little okay.
Gissele: It’s about two or three things that people can do to be more compassionate, a little bit more compassionate towards themselves.
Jamie: Yeah. So, and I guess, partly again, I can actually maybe go on those three elements. Right. So, mindfulness like, so it’s knowing that it’s not all your fault and yet you probably do have a part. So, it’s, it’s, it’s playing with and again, maybe your part is that you, you got a broken chooser, you know what I mean?
Like this could be your part, but it’s actually kind to ourselves to see things clear. And so really finding, finding your friends that are going to love you, but also help you to see your situation clearly so that you can learn from that you can learn from this. So, I’d say that that’s like, that’s one thing that you can do is just.
Not blame. And even, even the ways we’re imprinted poorly, not our faults, our childhoods are not our fault. And so, Paul Gilbert, who wrote the book, mindful compassion, he says, whatever it is, it’s not your fault. And yet it is your responsibility. If so, you know, like, like just liberating yourself from self-judgment and yet wanting to learn.
So you can grow. Then, the other thing you can do to be kind to yourself is to find those people that support you. It’s really hard. I know my first two years of even being divorced, I live in a suburb. All of my friends are married, you know, but like, luckily, I thought friends who would invite me to their family parties, even though I was single.
You know what some people, that’s another way. That’s another ouch, but finding those people who, whether they’re, they’re getting divorced too, or they’re married people that just don’t have judgment and let you come in where you can feel loved and held that’s super important because there can be, sometimes we can isolate because we feel ashamed.
Please don’t isolate and then I guess the last part of the self-compassion equation is, is self-kindness. What do you need? You know, maybe what, what can you do that would bring you joy? Do you like walking in nature? Like, dancing, like, no, it’s a pandemic. You can’t go to a club, but can you like in your living room, you know, like self-compassion, it can be kind of words.
They can be in touch, but it can also be kind of actions. And sometimes when there’s a lot of pain, it’s those actions that we really need because the space between our ears is really hard. And so what can you actually do an exercise or, I don’t know, like letting yourself lay in bed for 20 minutes, you know, like whatever it is that feels like self-kindness.
Can you do that for yourself?
Gissele: Thank you. That’s wonderful. Um, can you share a little bit with the audience? What you’re working on right now? What courses do you have coming up?
Jamie: Oh, absolutely. So, I have I’ve, I’ve got a curriculum that I’ve created called the path to resilience. And so that is actually I’m teaching that class currently.
And people could actually join in at any time. Cause it’s also available as an on-demand course, but I teach it incorporates mindfulness, self-compassion and emotional intelligence. Positive neuroplasticity growing the field. So it’s really, it’s, it’s a robust curriculum and I do teach that to adults, but I also teach it to children, families.
I’m, I’m starting a parent teen class next week. So, I do that to all different levels. And I’ve got a photo book that goes along with that. So that’s one thing that I do. And then the other thing that I’m currently working on a lot of self-compassion for families. So, I’m, I’m writing a self-compassion for kids, for families like, a book, a workbook.
I have, a course that I teach self-compassionate like parents, parent child. I also teach parents teen self-compassion, it’s all like, they’re actually one of them there’s research being done on the children’s one so that I can be approved as an official, mindful self-compassion adaptation. So, I teach mindful self-compassion for adults and then for families, for adults and children and adults and teens.
Gissele: Hmm. No, it’s awesome. I was wondering if you could do a little practice with us to close out, the podcast?
Jamie: Absolutely. Okay. So how many, like five minutes, or what kind of timing would you want for this fracture? Five to 10 minutes. Five to 10 minutes. Perfect. So short. So I will say that when I was getting divorced, there’s like a lot of different, so for mindful, self-compassion, there’s three core meditation.
There’s loving kindness. There’s, affectionate breathing, and there’s kind of. You know, breathing compassion in and out, and I’m going to be doing now the breathing compassion in and out or giving and receiving compassion. That being said, when I was getting divorced, there’s something called soften, soothe and allow that was my hip.
That was my practice because I was in such acute pain, but that was the only practice that was helpful to me. So, anyways, if, but I wouldn’t, I probably wouldn’t, I don’t know if I do that. What if I wasn’t taking a mindful self-compassion course because it is kind of intense, but. Just, just a little side note.
That’s a good practice. If you’re just in acute pain where you just feel like you’re going to lay on the floor because it’s so hard, it’s Soften, Soothe and Allow. So, but the process that I’ll do it right now is called, giving and receiving compassion or breathing compassion in and out.
If breath focused meditation is not your thing for some people. It’s not your thing. You can imagine just compassion coming in and out of your heart are flowing in and out of your hands or your feet. I just want it from a trauma sensitive lens, sometimes the breath has not, but I will guide this as a breath focus meditation.
Oh, I would invite you to just take a moment and ground yourself, maybe feel your feet where your feet are touching the ground, feel your bottom, or it’s touching the chair and you can close your eyes. Or if you feel more comfortable, you can gaze down. There’s not a right way to practice.
Maybe opening yourself up a little bit to the sounds of the room, you’ll likely notice your mind. Our minds are oftentimes really active. So, I think you can actually embrace that. We can be mindful of our thinking
and you can also bring awareness to your hands. You feel like you can move your hands a little bit in your lap. Just feeling your touch.
Like you could clasp your hands together or place them on your belly or your chest, or one hand on chest. And one hand on belly, just feeling the touch of your hands. You can allow our hands to be symbols of kindness
and then noticing the body breathing. You might feel some movement in the chest or the belly with the breath coming through the nose. There’s an interconnectedness with the breath. The trees give us oxygen to breathe. We breathe out carbon dioxide, which is the trees converted to sugars. And so there’s a natural giving and receiving. With each breath, which is noticing how you don’t have to try to do that. It’s just, it’s innately part of our being to give and receive, okay.
Feeling the breath, coming in and feeling the breath coming out, knowing the mind will wander that’s normal. And we can just come back for another breath and then bringing awareness to your in breath, releasing each out-breath, but focusing your attention on the sensations of breathing in
allowing yourself to be nourished by each in breath.
and if you like, you can breathe in a little something more. You can breathe in kindness, compassion, love, whatever you need.
you can let the word or an image, or just a sense of this quality flow in with each in breath.
And then shifting awareness to your out breath…
Noticing the ease, the relaxation of breathing out
the effortlessness of the out breath,
and then picturing another person, person who you care about. Or maybe someone who’s struggling and could use some compassion
and offering this person the ease of breathing out
and if you like offering them a little something more, some kindness care, compassion. Just letting it flow out to this person with each out breath.
and if you prefer, you could do a group of people or even others in general.
And then allowing the breath, allowing yourself to notice the breath flowing both in and,
one for you.
And if you need a little extra compassion, you can breathe in a little more for yourself. Three for me. And one for you, or maybe you want compassion to flow out a little more one for me, two for you, or maybe you just want it to be an equal flow,
whatever you need being responsive.
Allowing yourself to be just a part.
The flow of compassion flowing in, flowing out
a limitless and less flow.
An ocean of compassion.
and then coming back to a sense of your body in this room, kind of noticing feet or feet are touching the floor and your bottom in the chair.
broadening to notice the sounds that are happening.
And before you open your eyes, just noticing how you feel. If you’re feeling a sense of peace, you can soak that in.
If your mind was really active or you were agitated, you can give yourself a little compassion for that. Just allowing yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling, just be as you are.
And then if you have closed your eyes as you’re ready, opening your eyes, thank you for, by the way. That’s a good one for a daily life. When your partner, your friend is irritating your kid in for me, think out for you 5,000 for me two for you.
Gissele: That’s really great. Thank you so much. That was really, really helpful.
I felt good. I should have mentioned that, please do not do this practice while driving. If you’re listening to the audio podcast.
Thank you so much. Jamie Lynn for being here today as our podcast guest, please go check out Jamie’s website, www.whollymindful.com for more information.
Jamie: The Wholly is W H O L L Y. Thank you.
Gissele: Yeah, if you’re interested in the transcript of this conversation, please go to www.maitricentre.com. Thank you everyone.
Jamie: Great. Thank you.