Ch-Ch-Chain of Hearts: Cranking Up Compassion

Can you hear your compassion? It's time to crank it up.

One of the most difficult challenges we face in our quest to be compassionate is dealing with conflict. Those we love most tend to be the ones most likely to engage us in sparring that cuts the deepest.

Why do we allow ourselves to use our harshest words and most acid tone of voice with the people we love most?

Precisely because we love them most. We're counting on unconditional love. We know we are likely to be forgiven. We feel close enough to let our true ugliness shine.

Blindingly.

We wouldn't dream of lashing out at our colleagues at work in this way. That would be way too risky. Instead, we bottle our daily frustration and dump it all over our loved ones when we get home.

Many of my clients struggle with showing compassion for their partners, children and parents when they are feeling stressed. Instead of relaxing into affection, they respond to requests or confrontation with anger.

Most frustrating of all is the fact that, while they are lashing out, they recognize that they are alienating those with whom they most want to feel a connection and find comfort. It's as though they are watching themselves lob grenades but are powerless to stop.

One of the best--and easiest to remember--triggers for changing behavior is thinking of a particular song phrase. I teach clients to use the "ch-ch-chain" part of Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" to kick off a remarkably simple visualization exercise that is very effective in diffusing escalating conflict. It's based on a traditional loving-kindness meditation, but it's a lot more fun!

Visualize a chain of hearts--an extended valentine, if you will--connecting your heart to theirs. Remember that you are linked by this shared affection.

In our best moments, we do whatever we can to protect our loved ones from pain. If this person had an injury or illness, you would be gentle, soothing and kind, right? You've probably spent hours caring for this individual with great tenderness.

Tap into that.

Look at the chain of hearts. Your sharp words slash through that chain like a machete. STOP. Let the words drop away as you focus on that connection. Feel your anger and frustration being replaced by compassion.

"Ch-ch-chay-ay-ay-ay-ain...." It's hard to stay cranky while mentally chanting the "ch-ch-chain" mantra and visualizing that valentine.

Can't feel the love? Try another Aretha Franklin song. Instead of focusing on that ch-ch-chain of hearts, dive into "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" and replace that poison in your words with civility.

Not into Aretha? Pick your own song. Let your mental radio play, and use it to crank up your compassion.

[Bah-oomp] Makes me feel like A Natural Woman...

About The Author

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse offering specialized mindfulness training in Portland, Oregon. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 90 countries. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, visit http://mindmasseuse.com.

maya@mindmasseuse.com

More Resources

Unable to open RSS Feed $XMLfilename with error HTTP ERROR: 404, exiting

More Coaching Information:

Related Articles

Several Red Flags for Spotting a Phony or Scam
The world is full of phonies and scammers these days. They use various mediums such as phone solicitation, spam email, magazine and newspapers ads, TV infomercials, and plain old snail mail.
The Harvest: Shared Power
The fall harvest comes upon us once a year. The farmers collect the sometimes-scant rewards of their heroic efforts begun months before.
Poise, Posture, and Performance
Good posture is seen to have many advantages. From an aesthetic point of view it can enhance image, sending out the right signals (body language).
Curbing the Public Nuisance (Part 2)
Yes, that pillar of society that has been with us since that slithery dude threw humanity for a curve in the Garden of Eden - that cornerstone of society has been automated.I am speaking, of course, of the public nuisance ( I wrote about him in Part 1 at http://www.
The Power of Visualization
Professional athletes and other highly successful people use the power of visualization technique on a regular basis. Why? Results of a 20-year study of the effects of visualization on results revealed an amazing discovery.
What Rules!
There are things that we do automatically internally that we don't even realize are the things that make us who we are. Our own rules for living that we hardly ever question, and even less frequently examine.
Words That Inspire - PEACE
WORDS THAT INSPIREA monthly quick shot to motivate you, in less than 45 seconds, from Julie Cohen CoachingHow might your PEACE impact the world?Dictionary*says:State of tranquility or quiet, freedom from civil disturbance, a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war.What it REALLY means:The feeling of contentment with your life at present; your state of being when things feel comfortable, at ease, light; time in which you feel centered, calm and well.
Executive Coaching - Finding a Coach and Understanding the Process
Nobody in business can fail to have noticed the recent rise in the number of coaches and consultants offering their services. But how do you go about finding a coach who will give you a return on your investment? Executive coaching might be an option for you if you are running your own business or are in an employed management role, and have aspirations to achieve more.
Do You Want to Make More Money as A Life Coach
There's a lot of coaches out there not making any money, looking for opportunities, trying to model what others are doing, networking like crazy, researching, visualizing, affirming and hoping? yes, hoping that the clients show up before the bailiffs.I've been involved in Marketing and PR and worked with and met the good, the bad and the ugly of the coaching world and can honestly say if you are not making any money there is probably a reason why that I can help you with.
Why Daily Planning is So Important for Adults with ADD
For adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), details are a drag. We tend to see the big picture and want to jump straight to the finish line, wishing we could skip all the steps in between.
Whats in it for me if I Hire A Coach?
1. An unshakable foundation:Create and build your life from the ground up.
Why Bosses Dont Get All the News
Not long ago, a friend who works in television complained that the industry has no interest in real business stories. And, I had to agree with him, since we don't see much coverage that doesn't involve stock prices or some sort of scandal.
Purpose
Many people go through much of their lives without really thinking about their purpose. I don't mean a lofty, philosophic, and often unrealistic purpose that has us striving to save the world or solve the challenge of poverty throughout the world (although these are both admirable for those whose true purpose is to do so).
Why a Coach is NOT a Consultant
Often while talking to people about my coaching practice I get asked what the difference is between a coach and a consultant. Many people believe they are either the same thing or very similar.
The Incredible Rightness of Being
An Age-Old QuestionSearching for more meaning in our lives has been an age-old preoccupation for us humans. Why am I here? What am I meant to do? What's the point of it all? And, most importantly in the modern-day world, what is it that will make me happy?Dissatisfaction, or "Gimme More!"It is human nature that when we feel dissatisfied with something - be it our jobs, our homes, our relationships, or even our lives in general - we feel there is something missing.
Context is King!
If you've been around the Internet for more than two hours, you've probably heard someone say it or write it. If you haven't, you will.
Plug in Your Systems for Success
Have you ever noticed that so many of us who work diligently and ethically rarely achieve our objectives? And, why is it that those who-seemingly-work half as hard and half as long experience one success after another?The answer is twofold; successful people succeed because they implement proven, systems for success. Secondly, successful people have mastered the art of making time, work for them.
Pecked to Death By Ducks
Ever been in a situation where it seems like minor criticisms are all you hear? Sure, there are things you could improve, you know that . .
Beware of Psychic Vampires
I am often asked how I stay happy and motivated all the time. The answer has two parts to it; positivity and self-talk.
Communicating Anger Compassionately
Whether it is irritability or unmitigated rage, anger is an emotion everyone knows about. Unfortunately, few people have been taught how to mange this feeling in an assertive and compassionate way.