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Change Maven Musings: On Gentleness
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Why is there something uncomfortable about gentleness?
Is it too vulnerable, too unguarded, too raw in some way that we’re just not able to do?
The irony is I both desire gentleness for myself and want to extend it to others in those achingly intimate human moments we allow ourselves from time to time because true connection lives in those exchanges. If we can get past the chateau-fort defenses we’ve constructed over a lifetime(s). Because the few times we’ve ventured into that tender territory, we’ve often encountered flaming arrows coming at us out of nowhere, comprised of trauma and triggers that have nothing to do with us.
Even so, gentleness draws me today.
Harshness, wariness, and scenario-running (“what if thinking”) is exhausting. Like, soul-exhausting. It takes us out of the flow of kindness, of receiving, of the abundance that can await us in those intimate exchanges, whether it’s with other people or with ourselves.
One of the books I’m reading right now is Danielle LaPorte’s, How to Be Loving: As Your Heart is Breaking Open and Our World is Waking Up, and there is a section on loving-kindness and gentleness that is resonating hard with me right now. Her take - again, ironically, because it’s the opposite of what I’m inclined to do - is that we experience loving-kindness and gentleness when we lean into our suffering, take an honest look at our hard things, and let ourselves have - embrace - that moment of suck.
Now I don’t know about you, but I often find myself leaning away from those hard things when they get too close to the bone for me because I’m afraid/ashamed of what’s actually there. The things I have worked mightily at containing, kept in a dark corner, ignored, discounted as no big deal. Except…well…they are a big deal. Like beneath-the-surface-of-an-iceberg big deal.
So…the idea is…for gentleness to come…we must acknowledge the struggle, the suck, the mess? We must explore those dark corners and potentially slip and crash-land on the muckity-muck that’s accumulated there? Do you know who you are speaking to, Madame? Do you see the stylish shoes I wear, the articulate manner in which I speak, the polished version that I present to the world? And how fucking hard it is for me to do what you are asking me to do?? HUH??
Yet this line sticks with me: When you relax, the solutions come.
There is a longing within me to relax. To stop pushing so damn much, to question if what I’m pushing for is even right for me. If it ever really was. To see what it is that I truly desire at this stage of my life…to discover another mode of making progress that’s more on soul time, rather than our by-the-clock human time.
To find ways to bend so I don’t always feel like I am one step away from snapping in two like a break-your-teeth gingersnap cookie my grandma used to make.
To build comfort and okay-ness in receiving acts of kindness and not deflect them away or pass them off to someone else I deem to be more deserving or worthy. To accept that they were intended for and extended to me. To figure out how/where I can ask for and receive help. To see gentleness an an opportunity to say no to the next thing on the to-do list, to take a deep breath and relax in, and see what comes into that space.
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