Softening…

I feel this is a beautiful quality that often gets a bad wrap.
I have noticed how often I have heard people being condemned for being emotionally ‘soft’, seen as ‘weak’. How often I/we have been praised for being emotionally ‘strong’ and opinionated (read not feeling my real feelings, numb, not expressing real feelings, stoic, etc). I notice that in Australasian Culture there are many sayings such as ‘go hard or go home’, ‘no pain, no gain’, ‘don’t be a pussy’ (I either think of vagina’s or fluffy cats), ‘toughen up’, ‘tough love’, ‘harden up, go drink a glass of concrete’, ‘don’t be a girl’ (I am one so this has always been a bit disconcerting as it has always felt like there is something wrong with me and half the world’s population)… There are so many and in the past I have either tried really hard to live up to these to gain approval or I have rebelled and been angry about it to avoid feeling the grief, sadness, loss and lack of emotional softness in my environment and self. If I am honest with myself I am really sad about the fact that ‘softness’ and being ‘soft’ is so crapped upon.
I have had some events in my life over the past year that have highlighted just what it feels like to be around people who are ‘hard’ and also had feedback on what it feels like to be on the receiving end of ‘hardness’. I actually allowed myself to FEEL what it feels like.  It doesn’t feel good, often accompanied with judgement and a lack of compassion, lack of understanding and absence of love.
I was brought up in a house of ‘strong’ women. I was brought up in a place where harshness was ‘normal’. I didn’t even realise just how harsh and hard my environment was until recently.
 
I have locked my heart up and been hard hearted. I am beginning to feel the heart of stone that I have in my chest and am beginning to wonder what a heart of flesh would feel like.
A soft, supple, compassionate, real loving, Open heart.
That, I feel, could be beautiful!
So I just wanted to ‘talk’ with you and mention that it is worth softening, to grow the desire to soften: to be softer with self, others, God, my emotions, all the experiences that are within me, it helps. 
In my experience:
Being hard hurts, me and others
Being hard puts up walls and creates barriers
Emotional hardness creates separation
Emotional hardness creates judgment
Emotional hardness comes from repressed fear and rage,
Emotional hardness causes pain and isolation
Emotional hardness creates a jail that you convince yourself is a ‘safe’ place when in fact it is dangerous, you can’t feel when you are hard, not even yourself.
 
I feel I have softened a little, beginning with intellectual decision and sincere prayer which has ended up with changes in my heart. It was just a gradual thing that happened and I could actually feel some compassion I reckon for the first time around some issues. It has been through being treated badly and with hardness – feeling this – and having attracted genuine love and kindness into my life (feeling the comparison of these two feelings), that I have realised what it feels like to be around me when I am emotionally hard. I have seen in others what I am myself. It was confronting and a yucky feeling to own that I have been like that to others and I thought it was okay, ‘normal’ even. 
 
I have seen the effects it had on those who I met and treated harshly, it is not love. I have noticed that what we are exposed to as small children and in the environments we live becomes ‘normal’, no matter how harsh, scary and violent it is. I see that while we remain conditioned and holding onto these crazy so called ‘norms’ we cannot feel what love actually feels like, and we act out what we feel to be acceptable. The process of feeling how it really is has caused me to question a lot of things. I have often prayed for more sensitivity and as it comes I see the stark contrast between what I see as normal and what I am learning about God and God’s love and Way. 
I was writing to a friend the other day and have included some of my thoughts below from the email I sent as I feel they relate to this topic:
“I realise that when I am ‘hard’ and judgmental (read don’t want to feel or even own my fear, don’t want to feel my feelings and want to change others instead of myself) that instead of opening up an opportunity to heal it actually closes, shuts down and hinders healing or even realisations in self or another. I see how it is through owning my own feelings and lovingly or even just kindly talking to someone else about things noticed or felt that this can create an opportunity to heal. I see how fear creates such pain, judgement, criticism and distance between my soul and another soul (I also see how I have wanted this in an effort to feel ‘safe’. I don’t feel safe one little bit). 
I feel the lack of connection, pain and fear etc between women & women and women & men is a source of pain and sadness for many souls. The relationships we have had with our mothers and fathers, other women  growing up have not set ‘healthy’ or loving precedents of how to relate in love, or even be truly kind with others. For me I am terrified of judgement and generally avoid interactions where this might happen at all costs where possible or placate something chronic to get people to ‘like’ me and be nice to me, sad smile, or just throw fear or rage their way and project ‘don’t get angry at me, don’t make me feel afraid and I will do what you want’. I feel I have used this as an ‘excuse’ to avoid or treat others badly. I am realising this isn’t the basis for and doesn’t build true, beautiful, close, growing friendships. It is also not based on Truth as God sees it. 
I am starting to feel if we can actually heal each other with kindness and love rather than harsh words and critical gestures this would be a beautiful way forward. I don’t feel I am there yet, my old patterns and addictions come up often especially when I feel uncomfortable and afraid, but I can see now the effects of these states and the pain that both women and men are in (including me) is a result of the actions we each choose to take.
I am realising how much and how many people I push away due to fear.
It is exciting I reckon how change is possible. I have so often felt that no-one changes and no-one becomes different. I am loving how this belief is being challenged at the moment and I am being shown how change is possible and that unloving actions can be healed and even intention begins a desire to heal!”
I cannot say how beautiful it is in the soft moments and the contrast to emotional hardness is very noticeable! I wish you well with softening into what ever the Law of Attraction brings you to heal your soul and become at one with God!
 
*******
* I am still grappling with being in a place of softness all the time on every issue, I am not there yet. I have gotten emotionally hard over the last weeks due to wanting to avoid my terrors and this is what has highlighted (or glaring showed up) the difference between softening and shutdown/emotional hardness.
 
 

Video Link

I was sent this link some time ago and it entered my mind today as thoughts about learning were passing through.
I don’t endorse everything on this video personally but when I watched it there were some parts that I found really exciting and made me think about how much I love learning new things, finding out about new things and also possibilities that I didn’t and don’t feel apply to me (due to some false beliefs I need to let go of.)
Anyway I thought if you are interested in education and learning you may enjoy watching this too.
If the link doesn’t work below I have also added the link you can put in the URL bar and search for it too: http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html?source=email#.UTo5KoN1Bis.email

Have a wonderful learning, playful* day!!

* I write that purposefully as it makes me feel uncomfortable. Playful? what is that? I realised sitting on the loo reading Brene Brown’s ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ that I don’t play much and I am not very comfortable playing. Pete has also highlighted this to me. I feel I need to investigate this somewhat.

Living Systems

Environment day today was about creating: Living Systems. Thank you Jesus for teaching us about love. Thank you to everyone who gave their time today to create a ‘worm hole’ and an experimental ‘worm mound’. We are grateful for your efforts! We are excited!

A worm found already in residence.
They were few and far between
So grateful for the tractor – what a great hole digger!!!
It was a really great day learning about the earth, ourselves and how to create abundance through giving love and supporting the intelligent life systems without expectation* that support us.
I feel that one of the greatest gifts was the fact that if want to take and we want for everything to be given to us from the earth; If we do not desire to give and love the earth, land and all the intelligent life – the fungi, bacteria, microbes, micro-organisms, worms, insects, and all the creating things – then it is really best to not begin in the first place. The whole exercise is an exercise in giving for the pure desire to give to that which creates. To give without gain.
The hole
What I learnt today is that I need to be like a worm hole.
To stop expecting and demanding** from the earth and the land and to trust God’s abundance and her way of creating and see the way she creates and help out the best that I can by providing food, water, shelter to everything that sustains life. To all the insects, fungi, bacteria, microbes, micro-organisms etc these are our friends and our desire to erridicate them reflects how much negative, self serving desire we have and how little we understand about the way that the world operates as God designed it. We create more and more problems that then need fixing. We are exhausting ourselves with meaningless things that could be done so much more easily if we were more humble, more logical and actually understood what God has gifted us in the first place. We humans claim to be intelligent but I am beginning to wonder, smile. What I saw today is that God’s way is best*** and it is beautiful, magical, abundant and can create wonderlands…. We are excited about the experiment and to see ‘who moves in’ and what happens.
Thank you to all ye who volunteered your time!
Thank you Jesus for showing us ‘how’, for
explaining the principles, the logic and love behind the
whole system!
Thank you Lena for your time and expertise
in filming and documenting the entire process.
making clay creations
preparing the hole for minerals
adding minerals to ‘help’ the soil
Our dear friends and leaders in Love and logic – Thank you!!
jostling the bale into place
cardboard packing
the more cardboard the better –  food
more  food
and more food
and more food
and more food
add manure, add worms
cover with mulch to keep moist
what a lovely ‘bug’ palace
cover with woodchips
add some homes for other fauna
taking a wee rest
The beginning of the worm ‘mound’
Bale of hay wedged into a bit of open soil
and separated to create decomposition not composting.
‘Bugs’ don’t like too much heat
the beginnings of worm food slurry/brew
make a worm food slurry/brew water, poo,
decomposed hay, small bits of cardboard
fill the gaps with cardboard and manure
put the slurry/brew under the newspaper in all the
holes and cracks so that there is moisture
thank you for all your efforts!
Put it all together
cover in manure, mulch it with hay, cover with wood chips and
then put fallen branches  (ones that have not been on the
ground long and that have not begun creating habitat.) To
hold the mound in place and create habitat and encourage other
fauna and flora to come and make their homes!
The mound
encouraging what is already there – feeding a white ants nest,
adding cardboard and wood chips to encourage the
life and support it where it is.
pretty exciting
Can’t wait to see what happens!

* Today I learnt how much expectation I have about things giving to me in order for me to get what i want. I learnt how much demand we have and how much pressure we put on the earth rather than giving to the earth abundantly and without expectation to encourage intelligent living flora and fauna to create it’s own living self creating systems. 

** This is an emotional change not just an intellectual exercise that we can think into existance. It takes us emotionally releasing the demands and expectations that we have on things to sustain us. To grow our desire to love, grow our desire to give and our desire to find out about all the intelligent life that God has created and support it purely because we desire to support it and for no other reason. 

*** In my arrogance I am not always humble to this fact and try to force my way, but when it is logically explained I wonder why I thought there was any other but God’s way. Much to learn and how exciting!