Discovering Maitri by Janet Gallagher Nestor

My co-leader Camille and I spent weeks trying to find the right words to describe our first Nurturing Wellness through Radical Self Care group. We wanted to find a “manta” to reflect the essence of our work and create an immediate positive energy for the participants.

Maitri (MyTree) is an ancient word that represents a concept found in Sanskrit, the religious and classical literary language of India. Maitri exquisitely embodied what we wanted to say to perspective group members: Nurturing Wellness is a personal learning experience that leads to positive change, positive self-talk, self-love, and the emotional freedom to be happy and free.

If you are familiar with the work of Pema Chodron, an American born fully ordained Buddhist nun, author, and teacher, you know she has the ability to speak simply about very complex ideas. She explains, in a Sounds True video, that Maitri is the basis of compassion for self and others. To enrich the meaning she continues to explain all that Maitri encompasses: • Unconditional friendship and acceptance within oneself for oneself • A knowing that all answers come from within, not from outside of ourselves • Being able to relax with yourself • Feeling at home within your mind and body • Feeling glad to be alive • The feelings of well-being that come from your gladness • Your relationship with pain and various difficulties and how you handle the complex feelings they bring • Accepting that within all life there are struggles and difficulties

The eight points above outline the basic concepts each student encounters as they work to find their authentic and beautiful smile.

The Nurturing Wellness program was largely developed sitting on a bar stool at my kitchen counter. Each morning I’d sit down with my laptop and bring up the list of affirmations so I could practice with them. I’d work with one or two of the affirmations using the Radiant Energies Balance rapid release technique and sometimes my work would take me right to the heart of my own inner conflict and move me through it.

Some days the release was so deep I needed to soothe myself. The shift in awareness was so important that I had to integrate the perceptual shifts and forgive myself for the mistakes I’d made. On those days I’d take a meditative walk or do a chi gong standing form in the little woods behind my house. Sometimes I’d just walk around inside my house stopping occasionally to breathe, shake out the kinks, and breathe some more. Sometimes I’d go to my meditation area and spend time in silence. Because of my own experiences, I built meditation and an energetic balance into the program.

The release work helped me increase my level of positive thought. The changes led me to a new understanding of old issues and the healthier behaviors allowed me to support my mother physically and emotionally through her final illness. Because of this gift of grace we were both able to heal some of the suffering that challenged our relationship, and we both found some much needed inner peace.

The power of the Nurturing Wellness program was now obvious to me. I knew the possibilities were limitless. I knew what our group members could expect to achieve if they stuck with their work. I understood they needed some tips so they could remain comfortable, balanced, and hopeful as they found their confidence and self-acceptance.

It is often true that the teacher learns as much by teaching as the student learns by listening and participating. This is certainly true for me. I’m still learning and growing. Each time I write an article like this one or organize for an interview I am led to a deeper level of understanding.

Life is a process and so is Radical Self-Care. I wish you Maitri.

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