When Life gets Hard… Soften & Read Rebelle Society & Emerson.
“For me, in showers, in sweeping showers, the Spring
Visits the valley; — break away the clouds —
I bathe in the morn’s soft and silvered air…”
I don’t remember the exact moment when I realized that softness tills the soil of the soul — that the motion of softening takes me closer to the subtle streams and pulses of the heart’s beckoning, flowing into a river of healing that runs deep and red.
After reading Tanya Lee Markul’s Yoga interview: A Total Trust in Life Without Intensification — But Softness, I began an intentional and holy meditation on softness as it relates to life’s trials. This seemed timely and needed, as while taking this on as a practice, I lost a family member whom I held dear and sacred.
I would like to claim a powerful moment of revelation, but it was nothing of that romantic ideal.
Instead, I watched the world meet the toughness of life with shields and swords, biting tongues, clenching fists, throwing punches in the air, hardening gazes, staying busy, wringing the pain out of the heart like you would the sweat from a discarded towel during a boxing match.
“I got this,” we say, as our legs weaken, eyes puff, and knees buckle. “Put me in, let’s go!”
And yet, everyone watching cringes as they observe our blind hubris, our exhausted stumbling, our crazed path to some sort of self-induced destruction.
But what if we changed our mantra during life’s toughest moments?
I. do. not. have. any. part. of this. Take. me. out. Please.
We rest. We retreat. We become like the poets. We soften. We listen. We talk to nature. We bathe in the morn’s soft and silvered air. We sip our coffee. We stay present with the ache. We breathe. We wear the sorrows on our changing faces. We express.
There is something to softness that lets the world in, that nests around the ache within like a delicate egg.
It is amazing how naturally the heart becomes a cradle, how — somewhere — we understand that if we nest around pain, it will eventually hatch, providing us with a new birth, a new life.
Indeed, Emerson, in sweeping showers, the spring visits the valley.
And the valley soil has been softened and prepared. It holds pockets of openness.
We ache for the rain, and yet resist the temptation to spit on the ground in our impatience. We wait. We trust. And when we don’t, we soften into our lack of trust. We talk to it. We ask why it has come.
We seek the wisdom of the rain-dancers, who ask without expectation, who know and work with the divine cycle, the rhythm of things, who spend their days in receptive invocation.
We swallow the pain gently and direct it, slowly and intentionally, to the alchemical vessel of the heart. The cradle. The incubator. There it shall remain for its transformation. We let it be.
We draw our sorrow in the air and offer it to the gods.
We take off our shoes, put our feet on the Earth and feel our roots.
We wander a bit.
We quietly whisper of our pain to the wind. We let it go. And return. And go again.
We look around the world with swollen eyes. We visit the apothecary of Beauty, who has been awaiting our arrival.
Behind the veil, he holds the elixir. We reach out, hand open and soft.
The drops of beauty melt into the heart.
And something hatches.
Break away the clouds, I bathe in the morn’s soft and silvered air.