July 8, 2010
When there is pain in your life and your heart wants to contact to protect itself, rather than tell yourself you need to buckle up and face life head on, simply use the word “soften” and notice how you are opened to a sense of peace you may have thought impossible a moment before.
In her last ezine Marci Shimoff, author of Happy for No Reason, writes about the experiences she has had in the past year when she had a divorce (“mutual and loving, but a loss, nonetheless”), the selling of her family’s home of 58 years, and the deaths of four people very dear to her, including her mother. Then she says, “Add to that the economic and planetary challenges (including the Gulf oil spill), and life seems shakier than ever.”
How has she handled this? She writes:
At first there’s pain, pure and simple. But, as I relax into my feelings rather than resist them, they bloom into something else: Gratitude wells up for the past and present; peace emerges about the future; love fills me with a beautiful depth and sweetness. And I feel a tenderness for all of us here on this earth, facing the uncertainty and inevitable changes of life.
The Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron writes: “We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us.”
The part of her message that struck me as important was this emphasis on “softening” your heart. As she says, when your heart is “feeling contracted, think of the word ‘soften.’ Just that little reminder can make a hard place inside melt.”
Try it. It works. It’s not a miracle word. It’s just the right word to use when your heart needs it.
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