“Into each life some rain must fall.”
These words are more than song lyrics or a familiar expression to Cheryl Van Demark, PT, C-IAYT, Physical Therapist and Yoga Therapist at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). They’re part of a self-compassion practice Van Demark teaches in the YRMC Self-Care Program for Chronic Pain called RAIN—Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nurture. RAIN is from the work of psychotherapist Tara Brach, PhD.
Sprinkle Some RAIN into Your World
During Practicing Self-Compassion, a YRMC Healthy Conversations presentation, Van Demark teaches you how to practice RAIN and introduces you to the benefits of self-compassion.
“RAIN is a template for a self-compassion practice that can either be brief or lengthy, according to your individual needs,” she explained.
Van Demark also notes that self-compassion literature suggests employing the “Golden Rule.” This means treating others as you want to be treated, but directing it inward to yourself.
“To quote Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh,” said Van Demark, “compassion is a verb. It’s the action we take to relieve suffering in ourselves or others.”
Be Kind to Yourself
How do we put self-compassion into action? It could be, for example, by recognizing your personal need for exercise in order to maintain your physical and mental health. The nurturing, or action, could be to carve out 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk.
“Today in particular we’re confronted with global and individual suffering—social, economic, psychological and more,” said Van Demark. “This calls out loudly for us to practice self-compassion.”
Self-Care Program for Chronic Pain
Van Demark also oversees YRMC’s Self-Care Program for Chronic Pain. Through this program, participants learn to work in concert with their bodies and minds to understand and ease chronic pain. Self-empowerment techniques and physical therapy are also important components of the program. For more information, contact Cheryl Van Demark (firstname.lastname@example.org).