As I meditated just now, listening to Dr Brad’s guided meditation, he asked:
What would it look like to do the above?
As someone who often finds herself holding her breath without realizing it, or rigidly breathing in an attempt to “be perfect”, softening into my breath means relaxing into it. Letting go. Letting my breathing, my actions be easy.
With my body, which when I really think about it, has been tense and constricted for much of my life, softening into my body would also mean letting go. Not holding onto muscles, ligaments, tensely as if bracing for a car accident. Now that’s not an easy way to live! Instead, how can I relax into my body? To breathe into a tight chest, a constricted belly, to relieve the weight of my heightened shoulders? Softening my body means taking myself for a walk. It’s putting my warm hand on my tender heart and holding my emotional pain, whether it’s fear, grief, anger, envy or shame. Seeing it, holding it with tenderness like a loving parent without any judgement. Just pure unconditional love.
Softening into life means not “should-ing” myself to death about work, health, finances, parenting or anything. Softening into life is letting go of perfectionism. Letting go of rigidity. Softening is about trusting in life. Trusting that things will work out. Trusting that you will figure it out. Softening into life is slowing your pace, not rushing yourself, not pressuring yourself. Not blaming or shaming yourself for where you are now. Softening into life is focusing on the Now. Just this beautiful moment you are here, reading or writing. It’s me listening to the ocean beach waves on my “llama life” timer, where I had written “Write blog post” for 15 minutes, feeling held by the gentle structure I have given myself before diving back into client work.
Softening into life is me showing up to do the things I say I want to do, like practicing publishing. Like practicing the craft of writing. It’s submitting to a Medium publication (note: I got accepted!) even though I’m scared as hell but doing it anyway, practicing self-soothing techniques like tapping or havening. Or just plain slow walking.
Like I did earlier this morning after I went to the 6am Warrior Sculpt class at the gym. I knew I still needed more before facing all of the big client deadlines today, so I took myself out for a long slow walk past the beautiful Central Austin Library, along Ladybird Lake, where I strolled pass other walkers, joggers, kayakers, dogs, turtles and squirrels. As I listened to sad songs (my favorite!) I came across my favorite green leaves. Past the pull-up bars and before you get to the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue facing the new Google sailboat-shaped building are little trees, almost shrubs, filled with tiny fern-like leaves. These leaves just make me happy. The world could turn to sh%t and if I just softened my gaze onto these perfect green leaves, my heart would sing with bliss.
This is what softening into life feels like to me. Just you gazing at verdant green leaves, enjoying your morning walk before the hot sun arrives overhead.
Today is also Day 30 of my 30-Day Challenge to show up here everyday on my blog to publish and write. I’m really proud of myself for doing this for myself. It’s a gift to show up for yourself, to do the things you say you’re going to do without beating yourself up. To soften your heavy gavel, your rigid ways, and just let yourself be.
Softening into your life is a matter of intention. It’s you deciding to soften your gaze, to soften your stance, your usual negativity and put on a different pair of glasses. To stop making life be so hard.
You get to choose how you live this life!