I’m a lover of petrichor; the smell of rain on dry earth. There’s nothing better, and it’s a good thing living here in the great Pacific Northwest.
There are also times that are not so inspiring to our senses. Difficult emotions, limiting beliefs or situations can feel overwhelming. The rain comes down too hard.
It’s a good time to remember this great acronym to help navigate through these squalls.
R.A.I.N. is the acronym for a mindfulness practice developed by Michelle McDonald, a senior mindfulness teacher, to summarize a powerful way to expand self-awareness. It has been popularized more recently by Tara Brach psychologist, author, and founder of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C.
R = Recognize: Notice that you are experiencing something. Common instances of awareness may be around something that triggered us, a critical inner voice, feelings of shame or fear, the squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression in the body. Whatever it is, just recognize it.
A = Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations you have recognized simply be there, without trying to fix or avoid anything.
Allowing creates a pause that makes it possible to deepen attention.
I= Inquire: Inquire means calling on our natural curiosity—the desire to know truth—and directing a more focused attention to our present experience. Simply pausing to ask, ‘what is happening inside’ can initiate Recognition, but Inquiry adds a more active and pointed kind of investigation. You might ask yourself: Why is this bothering me? What’s going on here that I need to pay attention to? Is there more I need to know to understand this situation fully? Am I reacting rather than responding? Am I being honest with myself? Ask these questions with care and genuine interest.
N= Nurture: Nurturing means to choose the next best step to support yourself with kindness. Don’t over-identify and ruminate on the story. Letting it go without judgment is mindfulness; then, nurture yourself by telling yourself what you need to hear right now, which adds self-compassion to the mindfulness piece.
Further exploration: https://www.tarabrach.com/radical-compassion/
To view last week’s Mindfulness on mental well-being, click here.
Lisa Wellington is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher who writes about integrative practices that downshift stress, increase insight, and jumpstart joy.
She is best known for her work with law enforcement professionals as well as those challenged by housing instability and addiction. Trained in the Fine Arts at Washington State University, she specializes in group training that engages participants’ inherent creativity.
If she is not under a stack of books about psychology and spirituality, she can be found at a Puget Sound beach or nearby trail, always searching for the absurd, which is her superpower.