After ramp up, after showing up, after readying,  s o f t e n

( just so… )

Like an apple in an orchard in October, ripe for picking and feeding, we, too, require preparation and maturation to be in season, of service. There is a choice state to find and access for facilitative work. Too hard, inedible, not useful in a recipe. Too soft, on route to compost for breakdown and renewal.

Unlike nature ripening in its time, we must learn to soften ourselves appropriately in any given moment. It requires inner work – not always in sync with outer demands – to be poised in a receptive way.

A rigid stance blocks, separates, reinforces a dualistic mentality: you – them ; you – content ; you – YOU ; your “show up and do good, concerned with impression and reward” self – your true self, the one with the most to actually offer a given situation.

With barriers in place, we do protect from possible negative scenarios, such as (insert anything you want here: misunderstanding, complaints, unmeetable scope creep, etc.) We keep projected disappointment in check. But we also risk living with a closed-off sensibility. There is a correlation between what we let in and the fineness of our perception, which then informs our choice and output.

If we only went outside on sunny days, our understanding of weather would be vastly limited. We would not know what it is to be drenched to the marrow, to see earth shift with liquid saturation, steam rise from pavement after a shower on a hot day, to have snow touch an eyelash and melt on impact, to hear the attack of pelting hail. We also would not know dawn’s mist, the grace of the delicate and sublime, indicating morning’s ascent.

As we “steal up” we stand guarded, sectioned off. As we soften, we open, we are touched.

Touched, we feel. Additional senses come online. Defenses relax. Attunement amplifies. Range expands. Listening increases. Insight opens.

We meet a knowing – beyond literal understanding of words, concepts, and impressions – as we immerse in the Field. Because we are activated through sensory and mental relaxation, we receive and join as porous beings – not sponges, where are we only absorb, but as an enhanced conduit for flow through of meaning. An intuitive muscle comes online, and sometimes we can even anticipate what is about to be said, to transpire. It’s an absorbent place, where – because of our shifted relation to self, others, room, system – we can facilitate a group from monologic to dialogic interaction.

Soften assumptions, beliefs, judgments, preconceptions. Name them. Own them. Check them at the door. Step in front of the board, the wall. Pick up a marker and slightly lower your arm, towards lowering your guard.

Soften to see another’s point of view. Soften to let yourself be moved (even to tears.)

Soften to hear the hum of the room, to take in and let out your alive breath.

Soften to notice the beat of your heart, to notice another’s.

Soften to feel joy, grief, anger, confusion. Soften to hear and acknowledge these emotions, then facilitate transformation by inquiring beyond and inside them.

Soften to be strong. Yes. Through an ability to bend, like a reed in a gust, we retain core strength, increasing our capacity to draw and hold truth in a conversation.

A certain confidence is required to trust the container, that in softening we will not dissolve or be hurt; rather that we will expand to meet what comes our way, to hold all kinds of weather, to further  o p e n .

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