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Opening the Heart of a Child

The following imagery script is part of a blog written for Psychology Today by Imagery Person of the Year for 2012 Dr. Charlotte Reznick.  To see the entire article Opening the Heart of a Child: Cultivating Compassion in Children and Teens Published on December 4, 2012 by Charlotte Reznick, Ph.D. in The Power of Imagination click HERE.

Dr. Charlotte Reznick

Dr. Charlotte Reznick

Does compassion need to start with oneself?  A profound example is how kids can torture themselves when it comes to body image. At a conference, “It’s Our Turn,” this past February at the private Brentwood School in Los Angeles, Lady Gaga, one of the biggest pop icons of this generation, revealed that she was bulimic in high school, desperate to transform herself from “a voluptuous little Italian girl” to a “skinny little ballerina.”  She couldn’t appreciate her naturally curvaceous body and almost permanently damaged her vocal cords and her health. Through the support of her yoga teacher she announced on The Ellen DeGeneres show, “My yoga teacher … says ‘Please try every day to have 15 minutes of compassionate thoughts by yourself.’” When she added: “Love yourself. Love who you are,” the idea of self-compassion catapulted to her massive fan base.

Here’s a short heart-centered and heart-opening meditation. It’s a great way to shift a child’s attention from her buzzing head-brain into her calmer and more intuitive heart-brain. The physical touch can also bring great comfort. Adjust the wording for age and developmental level. You can read the script to a child or teen, make a recording for them, or they can make their own recording.

“Breathe in and out slowly… sending your breath two to three inches below your navel. Focus on your Heart Center, the area in the middle of your chest at heart level. Place your hand over your Heart Center, allowing yourself to be comforted. As you breathe, continue to bring awareness there.”

“When you’re ready, notice if any thoughts… pictures… music… or messages come from your Heart – from your Heart’s wisdom… Ask your Heart what it wants you to know today. Listen… You can even have a conversation with your Heart and ask anything you want. Take your time.”

“When you’re ready, be aware of your breathing, your body, your heart remaining open, and, remembering everything, slowly return.”

More suggestions from different traditions are offered in the article

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