Celebrating Tara’s new book, Radical Compassion on Wednesday, Jan 8 -- You're Invited!

Dear IMCW Friends,

May you be entering 2020 with full and happy hearts! My new book is just out, and I’m excited to share it with my home meditation community…you! It’s called Radical Compassion -- Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN. To give you a taste, the opening part of the preface is below. I hope you’ll join us at the first Wednesday night class of the new year, Jan 8, where, in addition to our annual Refuge Ceremony, we’ll have a book party with music, refreshments, socializing and book signing. (The class will be live-streamed on the IMCW Facebook page for those who aren't able to join us in person.)

With Loving Blessings,



Many years ago, I read a moving article by a hospice care‑ giver who had accompanied thousands of people during their final weeks. One phrase in particular has stayed with me. After countless hours listening to the thoughts of the dying, the caregiver summed up their greatest regret with these words: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”

I started asking myself questions like these: What does it mean to live true to yourself? Do you feel that your life is aligned with what matters to your heart? Are you living true to yourself—today? Right now? A few months later, I began asking the same questions of my meditation students.

What I found is that this regret of the dying is also true for many of the rest of us. My students tell me that being true to themselves means being loving, present, and authentic. They speak of being honest, serving others, serving the world. They talk about expressing their creativity, believing in their own worthiness, and working at what they love. And about having the strength to grow beyond their insecurities and to reconcile troubled relationships.

They also say that almost daily they lose sight of these aspirations and intentions. Instead, they get caught up in reactivity—self-judgment, blaming others, pettiness, selfish‑ ness, living on autopilot. As one student said, “Each day there’s a big gap between what’s possible and how I’m actually living my life. And with that comes an ever-lurking sense of personal failure. “

I know the suffering of “that gap” intimately. Even though I’ve now been teaching and writing about self-compassion for almost forty years, I still can turn on myself at times of stress. For many years the “trance of unworthiness” kept me feeling deficient as friend and daughter, partner and parent. It fueled doubt about my capability as therapist and teacher. And when I faced severe physical illness, it initially fostered a sense of personal failure. 

Yet this very suffering — feeling deficient and disconnected — has also been my most fertile ground for waking up. It has led me to a spiritual path and practices that I cherish. And when I get stuck in painful emotions, it brings me to a repeating realization, an insight that has profoundly changed my life: I have to love myself into healing. The only path that can carry me home is the path of self-compassion.

There’s an image I love that shows mindfulness and compassion as inseparable dimensions of awakening. It depicts awareness as a bird with two wings: When both wings are unfurled in their fullness and beauty, the bird can fly and be free.

Finding a way to practice radical compassion brings alive the wings of mindfulness and compassion when we most need them. Practice helps heal and release the painful beliefs and emotions that keep us from living true to ourselves. And for me and so many of my students, that way in is called RAIN. The name is an acronym that stands for the four steps of Recognize, Allow, Investigate, and Nurture. Working with these four steps has given me—and can give you—a reliable way to find healing and freedom right where you are in the midst of emotional pain. 
They will help you respond to life in a way that expresses the truth and depth and spirit of who you are. This is the gift of RAIN: living from your full potential.

Radical Compassion -- - Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of R.A.I.N.

Radical Compassion Challenge: A 10-Day Journey to Awaken Our Hears and Bring Healing to Our World

It is the mission of IMCW/The Insight Meditation Community of Washington is to support the awakening of hearts and minds through the direct experience of the Buddhist path, and the integration and manifestation of wisdom and compassion in all aspects of life, for the benefit of all beings.

P.O. Box 3
Cabin John, MD 20818

Phone: 202.986.2922

Email: meditate@imcw.org