As I looked back
on the long journey,
the thought came
that if I had to choose
a place to start again,
I would go back
to the first time
I was moved
my own heart —
when there was nothing
left to try
except to drop everything
and find out
what was left.
I would start again
— Laurie, What Now
There was a continuous movement within the stillness of my true Self. It was the softening of all parts of me that had felt separate and lost in repetitive cycles of emotional pain.
I had reached the place of enough is enough and decided to find my way to tenderness. Tenderness came out of the realization I was reliving the exact same old pain I had vowed to never feel again. It came out of the last bit of gathered strength to try one more time to hold and honor it instead.
I found it was possible and simpler than I had imagined to soften my experience in my heart and in the world.
I began by taking the reigns of my own healing journey, while dropping the struggle at the same time. Help showed up as needed, but it was when I really began to live from my inner heart space that I began to experience tenderness.
I focused on being my inner healer and living out of a formless, creative space,. My inner experience immediately became a place of reprieve. After a while, I understood that trauma and past patterns could be held and transformed in a natural, organic way. I learned to trust my inner healer to show me just enough in each moment and to catch all the pieces of my heart each time I tossed them up or whenever life became too heavy.
I began to notice small moments of natural tenderness and a faint whisper of a wordless prayer in my heart. It was the opposite of the struggle to push away pain and impossible to ignore because I had known such huge contrast.
After a while, it was most natural to remain open to experiences and the slightest sign or hint of the beginnings of tenderness.
After a while I learned to be in my heart and in the world. I learned to extract all that was beautiful and all that was tender from each experience. I learned to stand with the part of me that was most healed and let go — holding the door of my heart for all that was not quite beautiful — daring to continue on with love.
The new chosen path was an unbelievable contrast to the old. From the outside, it didn’t always appear to be all that different, but from the inside it was clearly new. Instead of being pulled under by thoughts and experiences, all that appeared in my mind and in the world was seen as raw pieces of one continuous prayer.
It took a little practice to become willing to walk a new path. Finding it meant reaching inside for the light needed to take each step. It meant remaining willing to listen to life and feel my way, even through uncomfortable experiences. It meant trusting a whisper of truth to become louder and the most chaotic experiences to soften and be used to create something beautiful, but not all at once and not all alone.
There was something about walking through a big enough challenge, the kind that forces the choice to go all the way, to put all cards on the table without a guarantee that it would be enough — trusting it would be met by a greater power.
And there was something about no longer needing such extreme challenges in order to live out this kind of deep surrender. At a certain point, every moment became a prayer of hope — that the path of tenderness might be a little clearer.
There was a tenderness in the careful merging of the most difficult, painfully raw parts of the journey with the equally raw beauty of having found a love pure enough to match it. It was this newly unfolding path I learned to trust in each moment with all my heart.