Take a breath and imagine yourself becoming soft. Imagine the hard shell of resentment starting to ease and bend. Imagine the ice of rejection melting into your heart. Breathe in those irritations and distractions, invite them into your field of awareness. Let your focus become soft. Breathe and notice the subtle sensations: what is in the corner of your eye, the gentle sounds in the background, the feeling of air on skin. Let your awareness settle on what matters but gently allow the rest into you. The energy and frustration of trying to push those things away can ease into a calm sense of openness. It needs space. Become soft.

Not to deny your own needs and values, not to sacrifice your hard-won boundaries. Not to deny your limits. Only let yourself become soft. Notice the irritation that comes with noise and distraction, that frustration when things do not go as you thought they should. Some part of us wants to deny reality, reject our senses, refuse what comes at us from our environment. We grow harder, rigid, we become angrier and lash out, we make ultimatums that we regret, we criticize or snap at people when a soft word might get us what we want.

“Lilly” by Tom Collins

We might find ourselves ruminating on something said or done around us, some misspoken word or faulty opinion, some secret fear of being disliked or hated. Let that soften, that need to control what others say or do. Let soften that part of yourself that responds to the opinions of others. Not to push away, not to fix, not to say it’s unimportant. Imagine how it feels in your body to be distressed, and imagine that beginning to thin, to become soft and fluid.

Resilient, soft, responsive flesh and skin contains the human organism. A thin membrane separates our environment from our sensitive organs. The hardness of our bones gives us structure and form, but our softness enables us to move and flow through life, to adapt to constantly changing climates and circumstances. When we become hard and constrict, our fists and teeth clench, we shut down around suffering or anger, we close in upon ourselves. This shuts down possibility and potential. We lose the ability to respond creatively and make choices in line with our own truth. We become responsive, avoidant, combative. Tense muscles become more prone to exhaustion and injury. Constant  and worry anxiety drains the nervous system. Constant anger raises blood pressure and harms our relationships.

We can remember how it feels to be in our soft bodies now, to breathe into what is clenching and imagine it relax. If this is not enough, we can breathe in and clench ourselves even more tightly, breathing in all that hardness and constriction, and then exhale completely, allowing the muscles to relax and loosen. With softness, we might feel vulnerable but we touch our true power in the moment. Not the power to force things to happen that we insist on happening. The power of recognizing what is, recognizing my true limits and potential, and the power to act from my whole self, in a way that feels correct.