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Wash Away Cravings and Self-Limiting Behaviors with RAIN

Karen Gillingham

Tara Brach is an American psychologist, author, and proponent of Buddhist meditation. Her teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, bringing mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world.

I was recently chatting with a client about cravings and self-limiting thoughts and behaviors, and thought of Tara's R.A.I.N. practice. I thought about it again in a New Beginnings class discussion as I was encouraging clients to notice when they reach for the handle on the self-contempt door and instead reach for the door labeled "curiosity." Tara calls her R.A.I.N. practice "radical self-compassion." Who doesn't need more of that?

R ~ Recognize what is happening

A ~ Allow the experience or thoughts to be there, just as it as or as they are

I ~ Investigate with interest and care, get curious about the experience or feeling

N ~ Nurture with self-compassion: with words "It's okay.", with soothing music, with gentle movement like stretching or a walk in the fresh air, with a warm cup of tea, with a relaxing soak in the tub or with breath work

This practice helps us redirect when we're emotional or stressed and reaching for comfort food. It brings awareness and respect to our feeling and emotions and gives us a chance to inquire about what our body is telling us. It's like listening to a friend share her struggles. The last step gives us permission to let it go and the power to refuse to identify with the negative experience or feelings that were flooding us. "It's a moment. It will pass. I will love myself through this."

For more about Tara Brach, visit her website:

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