Recently a fellow traveller asked me about my favourite place of travel. I don’t have one but I gave a special mention to Bolivia. Rarely on my travels have I been more touched by people’s resilience and tenderness. I learnt much from them (see my little photo of the girl and child).
In an article a couple of weeks ago I talked about developing resilience and catching your thoughts. Following on from that I ponder the question – how do we develop resilience without toughening up and compromising our innate sensitivity?
We are completely vulnerable when born into this world. But because of an inimical upbringing and/or unhealthy choices many become numb to the innate tenderness they once felt. If tenderness freezes we lose our sensitivity. We then don’t get to participate in the kinship, the camaraderie of the world. It’s disheartening that so many live a life of forsaken distance from humanity.
But how do we not capitulate to the pain when dancing about and at times unavoidably stepping in puddles of cruelty and heartlessness? We develop both resilience and tenderness.
Resilience gives us a strong base from which tenderness and vulnerability can flower – (and resilience is not toughness). Without it tenderness becomes like a great glob of jelly jiggling and wobbling about. This attracts what I call the Pillage People who hover around pilfering our energy which leaves us feeling drained.
With resilience and tenderness we can participate in life without being afraid of things getting messed up from time to time. We learn to understand and move through our fears – fear of being hurt when people take advantage of our vulnerability, or fear of events that may ride roughshod over us.
All well balanced people have tenderness in their hearts. Tenderness is the expression of love, warmth and compassion. I don’t want to sound trite but it really is that simple. It’s a sensitivity to our surroundings which comes from a mindfulness about our presence right here, right now. We can allow things to be without concern for them dominating us.
Cultivating and sustaining tenderness means we are resolvedly working on ourselves. Society and the media are most adept at keeping people in fear coercing them to be rivalrous. There’s a steady stream of manipulation trying to convince people they are victims and have been badly done by. It’s very important that we are constantly refreshing our ideas and energy and not allowing ourselves to be taken in by the nonsense.
The simple three step plan for tenderness:
- Practice heartfelt acceptance.
- Have a cup of tea.
- Go back to step 1.
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