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At Kripalu, in the midst of a really challenging pose, our yoga instructor asked us: Where can you soften here?
The idea of softening in the face of discomfort stuck with me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
In my mind, the word firm means focused, controlled, tight, strong. It’s willpower and intelligence and motivation and control and organization.
And the word soft means useless, weak, doughy. It’s messy and loose and feelings and chaos and overwhelm.
There is very little softness in my life nowadays.
Whenever I’m in an uncomfortable situation, or a conversation, or even sometimes sitting on my therapist’s couch – I tighten up. It’s a reflexive, protective movement, and I’m sometimes not even aware I’m doing it. But it happens, every time. I get tight before I yell. When I’m tight it’s nearly impossible for me to actually listen or be present, because I’m about to go on the offensive to avoid being hurt. When I’m tight I cannot see joy, all I see is negatives.
When I’m tight, then, I’m mad at myself for being a jerk, and I feel crappy, and I stay tense because really, Karen, can’t you just bite your tongue already?
So I’m seeing it, right here.
Hard is not helping me. It’s not helping anyone.
I need to soften, a little bit at a time. And I’m thinking it’s time I start experiment with it.
The first step, I think, is reframing my association with the words soft and firm. And here’s where I ask for help from you all – because I’d love to hear other viewpoints in the hopes that maybe I can shift my perspective on it.
What do you associate with the word Soft?