Turning Inward: Cultivating Self-Compassion

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by Rev Michelle Scott-Huffman

The Poet Derek Walcott wrote in “Love After Love”

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome

How might we cultivate a practice of smiling at ourselves and offering compassion instead of always being our own worst critic?

Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Words adapted from Rumi
Music by Lynn Adair Ungar
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir

All of Who I Am

by Amanda Udis-Kessler
used with permission
performed by Rebecca Holt, Paul Phariss, Marilyn Day, and Emily McKinney

This is yet another gem from UU composer Amanda Udis-Kessler and I had so much fun pulling this sound file together. One silver lining of this time of virtual worship and distant music collaboration is that it’s giving me lots of new ideas of ways we can make music together in church once we are all back together again. It’s always a pleasure to jam with our talented church musicians and I can’t wait to do that live again.

I chose this song for its lyrics and the way they support our message of compassion for ourselves this week. I think they speak for themselves and I’m very excited to share this with you on Sunday. For those curious, you’re hearing a piano, a guitar, an autoharp, and a flute in the accompaniment.

– Emily, Music Director

How Could Anyone

Words and Music by Libby Roderick
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir, accompanied by Eva Riebold

Description: If this sounds familiar, it should, as we enjoyed this song together two weeks ago during our first service on Compassion. I chose to include it again because the first time around, the message was more about compassion for others regarding housing and healthcare access. This week, I’d like us to listen to these words again with new ears, this time turning that compassion inward toward ourselves. How could anyone (including ourselves) ever tell us that we were anything less than beautiful? Notice how the tone of this song changes when it’s heard as a message from our truest inner self to all those parts of us we so often cast aside. It’s worth listening to again this month.

– Emily, Music Director

Children of Earth

Words and Music by Sharon Scholl, used with permission
Performed by the First UU Virtual Choir, accompanied by Eva Riebold

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
– Carl Sagan, Cosmos

“The glory of God is the human person, fully alive.”
– St. Irenaeus

These quotes really speak to what I was getting at with choosing this lovely piece by UU composer Sharon Scholl. I love that this song leaves open the possibility that you are a child of stardust and evolution, or a product of the hand of the Divine, or perhaps some beautiful mix of both, and that either way, you are here – you are a child of this earth. You belong here and you are precious. Millions of years of struggle for survival have resulted in this moment – this you – this one expression of the Universe made conscious – it is nothing short of incredible. I hope this song reminds us what a special thing it is to be Children of Earth and to treat ourselves with the compassion we are due.

– Emily, Music Director

Categories: Sermon