To Be Called Soft: Thoughts on Integrating Power.
Last night I was called a soft and powerful leader after holding space for a beautiful circle of women.
And I woke up with the word soft rolling around my mouth and dripping off my tongue heavy with sweetness and gratitude.
I have always been soft, but I tried for many years to run away from this. To cover up my curves and smooth edges, to hide away tears and emotions, to wield anger as a sword when I wanted to say I am hurt, I’ve abandoned again and again the soft parts of me. And in doing this, I’ve also abandoned the Divine Feminine.
Now to be called soft and powerful, it feels as though my work has integrated. That I’ve come back home to myself. That I can breathe easy, and rest in the knowing that the world is safe, my body is safe, my heart is my home. It feels like a sense of arriving on the other side, although I know healing is never linear and the path of the Feminine asks us to spiral.
And all of this is not to say that softness is without power and strength. To bare your heart to a world that has tried to erase, burn, and push away every soft thing, is a radical act. It is medicine the world desperately needs.
We’ve also denigrated the meaning of softness; creating a disempowered flavor of softness that is limited to white women and girls. And in doing this, we’ve erased women of color and created evidence to perpetuate white supremacist storylines that have justified racism, violence, and so many other crimes.
We’ve shamed and even killed men for their softness, especially those who are queer and trans, those tender warriors of love who fight for the collective liberation of our bodies and hearts with every breath of their existence.
We’ve erased softness from the world around us, replacing grass and feral fields with concrete, and cut down trees. Covering up the voices of Earth-keepers and sacred warriors who have cried out for the protection of the Earth’s most tender parts.
We as a nation deny, disown, and abandon our softness because if we were to be soft, we have to feel. To feel the impact of our actions. To feel the wounds we have inflicted against so many. To feel the heartbreak and grief we have caused. To actually feel the humanness and connection to every being that we have ever harmed. And this would break us — break us open — and demand a change.
To be soft is to be willing to feel.
To be soft is to hold your heart and other hearts in your hands, and recognize these precious and powerful gifts.
To be soft is to stay past the point of discomfort and to truly hear someone.
To be soft is to be with your humanity and others — we cannot erase the messy or the soft.
To be soft is to find and to honor the strength and courage of vulnerability.
To be soft is to bruise your knees when you risk falling, and to rise back up when you feel tender.
To be soft is a radical act, a potent medicine.
To be soft is to offer the world the healing it so desperately needs.
In Buddhism, to be soft is to be a Bodhisattva, a warrior of the heart.
In Hinduism, to be soft is to walk the path of the Tantrika.
In Goddess traditions, to be soft is to touch upon the heart and womb of the Divine Herself.
In Christianity, to be soft is to mirror the willingness and devotion of Jesus as he hung his soft human body on the cross and handed over his life to God.
Whatever the language and imagery you use, to be soft is a spiritual path. Soft is the willingness to be dive deep into our human experiences and emotion, and to swim ourselves into the middle of it, allowing an experience to wash over us. And in this middle, we so often find the Divine.
It is a gift to be soft.
It is a challenge to be soft.
It is a privilege to be soft.
It is a calling from your soul to be soft.
So please stay there for just a moment longer. Drink in every drop of your softness that is sweet like honey. Hold every child and tell them their softness is a gift, tell them it is okay to cry, tell them that this is what it looks like to be brave. Wear softness on your hips and sleeves like a badge of honor, and let others see this. Because when we choose to stay soft in the face of so much pain, we make room for others to do the same.
And I want to see that soft, powerful, revolution pouring out from hearts, souls, lips, and hips of tender humans.
Caity Flanagan has been in deep communication with the plant & spirit world since a young age. Her passion and connection to nature has lead her down the path of becoming an herbal practitioner, plant spirit healer, and modern day medicine woman. She speaks sutras of the heart and is in total devotion to the divine feminine, using the modalities of reiki, tantric meditation, and coaching to connect people to their own hearts and divinity. Caity is the creator of Love & Alchemy and the founder of The Wild Calling, a 9 month initiation into the sacred feminine. At the core of all she does is a profound reverence for finding the sacred in the ordinary, the power of desire, and the extraordinary alchemy of the world around us. You can find out more about Caity and her work at her personal website, Love & Alchemy, and The Wild Calling.