Envision a pink cloud, roughly a hand’s length radius, gently steaming, turning, floating. The cloud is made of the belief and the understanding that every human being, every person, is due a certain regard, respect, and acceptance.
I am not talking about morality. This is something more fundamental than our ideas of right and wrong. You may be a terrible person. You may have betrayed a friend out of cowardice and greed. You may have failed at everything you have attempted in life. You may be estranged from your family. You may have witnessed terrible crimes and done nothing, or you may have commited the crimes yourself. Maybe it is good and right that you should be banished, or thrown in gaol for the rest of your days. Even if you are such a monster, there is a certain basic respect and regard that is due to you, because you are a person, because you have a soul that the gods gave you, and the gods know you and will remember your name even when no-one else does.
So, think of a pink cloud. It doesn’t have to be pink, some people prefer different colours, or none, it doesn’t matter. Mine is pink. Now think of the cloud moving through your body, slowly and gently. Remember the cloud is made of acceptance, of the fundamental regard and dignity that is due to you as it is due to all human beings. The cloud is also made of compassion, for the gods have compassion for all of us even when women and men do not.
Allow the cloud to gently massage every part of you. Some people like to do arm movements, like so. Flowing and graceful. Some people like to sing quietly to themselves. Some people dance – if you dance, it should be a slow and comfortable movement. It’s not exercise, it should be comfortable and gentle. Move the cloud through every part of your body. If there is some part of you you feel like skipping, spend extra time focusing the cloud on that spot. It should feel relaxing and soothing. Remember that the cloud is made of acceptance, and that acceptance includes every part of you, even the parts that are weak or shameful or corrupt. The cloud is a manifestation of the unconditional compassion and acceptance of the gods.
This is not narcisism; the great goddess Arthma herself instructs us to develop compassion for all people, and now you take your first step toward completing this task,for you cannot have compassion for others until you have compassion for yourself.