Soft AND Strong


I’ve had a few days when I feel like 2020’s unpredictability is shaping me to be more creative, more spirited and stronger in my body and mind. But, most days–not so much. My tendency on the harder days is to brace myself from the inside–trying to make all my soft parts hard enough to withstand the blows of uncertainty and the weight of pandemic decision making. The bracing keeps my head above water…for a while. In those moments the idea of letting go and allowing the soft matter of my muscles, heart and brain do what they do best so together they can buoy me in the water–oof, that’s the hard part. I’m working on it, though.

While studying the biology of living structures (bodies!), an instructor told me, “A property of the component can’t predict the property of a group of those components.” What?? A bundle of soft things can be something other than soft? Maybe I need to step back and stop trying to stiffen my soft parts to make them strong. It suddenly occurs to me that cultivating the wisdom of my soft parts, rather than bracing them beyond recognition, might be a better way to avoid breaking under the current stress. The component parts of me might be soft or fragile but, taken together, they could be something else entirely. Maybe if I nurture the fragility of my heart, mind and body, together they can fortify me in ways that my brave attempts at bracing can’t.  

So how do we bring out the wholeness and wisdom of our soft parts so they can help make us strong? Below is a list of workshops being put on by some of my trusted teachers. They offer opportunities to use breath, conversation and your own senses to get more buoyant. These wise folks are Seattle-based and all have helped me and others soften, laugh and, even swim.  

Open Your Senses – Carolyn Rodenberg, Caring Presence
Any time I am with Carolyn, she reminds me to open up to laughter and learn from the knowledge already in my heart. 

From Carolyn: We come alive as noses smell, tongues taste, eyes gaze, ears attune and soles (souls) ground. Each evening of this workshop series includes a focus on one of the senses. 

  • TOMORROW! July 21st, 2020, 7 to 8:30 pm, $12, Open Your Eyes for Visual Delight
    Invite a friend to join you for these creative and fun evenings. Each is an opportunity to learn, discover, and share. Today, July 20, is the last day to register.

Art of Breathing and other workshops – Jenny Hayo, Wise Heart Yoga
In Jenny’s classes, I feel seen and heard. Her knowledge and approach is deeply informed by yoga, but her classes have no prerequisites. I am not a yogi, and the teaching lands and sinks in deeply for me. 

  • Art of Breathing Level 1, starts September 10th
    4 week on-line series with 8 Limbs Yoga Centers. Thursdays 5:30-7pm 

    Engaging with the breath has been known for centuries to promote concentration, energetic balance, insight, self-study, and altered states. Establishing a foundation in basic breathing techniques provides a valuable resource for our respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Want to know if you should take this course? This radio interview with author James Nestor might help convince you. Click here to open Fresh Air interview.

  • Opening the Wise Heart and other workshops

Connection Feast – Alexandra Friedman
I met Alex right before my trip to Morocco in March. She immediately inspired me with her vision for creating events where people could set aside cell phones, cliques and dull small talk to really connect through conversation. Connection Feast Virtual Dinner Parties happen almost weekly. Alex is always quick to point out that some people connect by listening, not by talking. Feel free to come as you are. 



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