On each day of the 6 day retreat participants receive an email with the day's lesson, readings and a video from Mary. The focus of this retreat is the 'miracle of kindess'. And for me the most powerful thing I have learnt is this metta (loving-kindness) meditation:
As you breathe in, cherish yourself.
As you breathe out, cherish all beings.
Mary recommends that this be practiced as part of a seated meditation, as well as at opportune moments during the day - while waiting in a queue, when your alarm goes off in the morning, while sitting in traffic.
There is so much written about the importance of self love, so much advice about how to love oneself more - but for me this simple suggestion has had a most powerful affect on my ability to be gentle with myself and others. Each time I feel irritated or stressed just one round of this metta meditation returns me to a sense of calm and clarity. I think it has a lot to do with the word cherish - it seems to encompass so much - gentleness, kindness, respect, honour, forgiveness, appreciation, joy and deep unconditional love. When I say the word I feel a softness around my heart, an opening, a creation of space. And gradually with repetition that flow of love and energy becomes as natural as breathing.
Try it. You are worthy of cherishing!