Two weeks ago I took myself to the lake on our land for a few hours to drink cacao and meditate in nature to harness the often insightful time just before my period arrives. At this time I often overflow with ideas, insights and understanding, so it can be a potent opportunity to get clear on life. As I meditated one word came through over and over loud and clear... Soften.
Like so many I was not shown or role modelled the value of softness. I was taught that to be safe I needed to be hard, to be healthy I needed to be strong and to be successful I needed to be in control. These qualities were passed to me for protection and for that I am forever grateful. They have served me well in times of danger, violence and challenge but the barriers I once needed for protection soon began to suffocate and hinder my growth. I had survived but I was not living, instead I was teetering on the edge of life looking in and using anger to defend my borders.
'Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.' ~ Rumi
In order to move from surviving into thriving I needed drop my defences, expose my weaknesses and risk vulnerability. I needed to remember how to breathe deeply, learn how to feel fully, dare to express truthfully and risk loving completely. I needed to offer myself the softness I had always needed so that I could in turn learn to offer it out to others. I needed to hold my inner child* and tell her that she did not deserve what was done to her but that she is safe now. We are safe now.
I needed to notice and deconstruct each and every voice of comparison, criticism, judgement, resistance and defence and to get curious as to the origin of these voices, to seek out their source, unearth the roots and distil down to all but the essence of the message. In noticing the voices that keep me tethered to old patterns I open up the choice to step from the hardened and familiar time worn paths onto unmapped territory and in doing so open up the potential to experience something new, forge new routes and soften into the possibility of the present moment.
Some of the most profoundly healing and interesting experiences of my life have opened up to me when I have been able to fully soften into the possibility of the present moment. In order to do that I have to consciously notice, deconstruct and release the barriers of judgement, resistance, attachment, preference and expectation that hold me hostage to my habitual patterns. As I let down my drawbridge of protection I surrender to that which I cannot control, which is often terrifying but it also enables to me soften and float downstream, rather than trying to rigidly hold on to swimming against the tides.
To step into softness with myself is step into softness with others. When I am soft I am permeable, receptive and open and life is able to move through me. When I am hard I am rigid, closed off, shut down and life happens outside of me. When I soften to the possibility of the moment I shift from the limits of my reality into the limitless possibility and potential that life has to offer.
‘Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life’
~ Eckhart Tolle
When I soften my roots they become permeable to give and receive
When I soften to my emotions I open to the flow of creativity, sensuality and intimacy
When I soften my will I surrender to the flow of all life and learn to swim downstream
When I soften my heart I let love flow in and out
When I soften my voice I open to truth, passion and connection
When I soften my opinions, ideas and judgements I open to the possibility of wisdom, insight and learning
When I soften my borders I soften into interconnectivity with all things
*Inner child work has been suggested to me so many times but it never felt right or made much sense until one evening deep in meditation on cacao I found myself spontaneously holding myself at all of the ages that I had encountered the most challenge, danger, abuse and violence and was shouting at and kicking the perpetrators. A practice that combines the ventilation of rage and self-compassion essential for overcoming trauma