Tag Archives: fear

Truly Living is Risky Business

It’s risky to put yourself out there and decide to truly live. The idea that we can live fearlessly is a misnomer.  The trick is how we respond to fear.

Fear can keep you on the edge of the diving board, never taking the leap.  It can paralyze you in a moment of opportunity that slips away while you deliberate.

I’ve been on that end of fear and that’s where most of my regrets reside.

Lately I’ve been viewing fear from the aspect of “feeling excited and ready.”

That nervous bubble in the pit of my stomach is simply a reminder that I’m alive.

That’s a good thing.

A few Saturday nights ago, Mark and I were invited to a going away party for a mutual friend. She was taking off to start a new life in Sweden with a new love she met on vacation a year ago.  At the party, she was surrounded by the love of friends and family.  People offered toasts and well wishes, and there was an unspoken acknowledgement among us that this was indeed a risky move.

A new country.

A new relationship.

No guarantees that this would be her happily ever after.

The flip side?

Not taking the leap could haunt her forever with the question, “What if?”

At the end of the night, the guest of honor took the floor to thank those of us in attendance, and she said something really beautiful.

“I know this is a risk.  But I know I am safe to take it because of all of you.”

See, there are no guarantees that risky business will pay off.  But when it doesn’t, knowing you have people who love you; you will offer you their spare bedroom or let you call them at 2 AM is the comfort that softens the potential blow.

Did any of you watch America’s Got Talent?  There was this amazing acrobatic couple, Duo Transcend.  They specialized in risky, jaw-dropping moves that were downright dangerous.  Her life was in his hands.  His life was in hers.  The love energy between the two of them was palpable, making their feats even more thrilling.

On their last performance before the final, she dropped him.

We gasped!

Then realized, this was part of the act.

Out of the sight line of the cameras was a soft landing place for him to fall.

We all have that same safety net beneath us.

Rarely are the risks we take matters of life and death.  Mostly, they’re a leap from where we are to where we want to be. And if we end up being wrong about our desired destination, we can always course correct.

Don’t be afraid to try for fear of failing.  Failure isn’t fatal; it’s simply a detour; a building block to success.

We can all look over our shoulder and recall things that didn’t go according to plan, but life still went on and ended up exactly as it ought.

Lessons learned. Conflicts created clarity of purpose. Contrast revealed what we really want and don’t want.

Our happily ever after isn’t an ending place; rather, it’s a continual unfolding as we create the life we dare to live.

And there it is:  Dare to live.

Go for it.  Be afraid and act anyway. Feel the pounding in your chest and take the leap.

Be alive.

There is an underpinning of love and well-being that surrounds you, not only in those who love you here on earth but also in the unseen spiritual forces commissioned to keep you safe and sound.

If you knew that you couldn’t fail, would you do it?

More thoughts on RISK, including how this very blog was birthed, and the new WOW, coming right up:

Is there something you’re holding on to that you need to release?

Just as you are safe to take a risk, you are also safe to LET GO.

Have a beautiful couple of weeks!

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Under the Influence Of…?

We are all under the influence of SOMETHING.

Back in the day, it was usually a nice red wine or a very naughty Grand Marnier.

Because my feelings were on lock-down, I had to numb them.

When I started to allow my feelings to rise to the surface (thanks to getting off of Zoloft and eliminating alcohol), those feelings made clear what was TRULY influencing me.

Good feelings? Happy thoughts? Joyful intentions and a positive outlook? That means I’m under the influence of Source/God/Spirit…however you choose to refer to the Divine.

Stressed? Anxious? Feeling insecure and inferior? Oh, I have just unplugged my connection and I am all caught up in what I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.

The senses are very compelling, but they are only PART of the story.

There is a meta (above) physical reality that is FAR more powerful that what my senses can discern.

It is in THAT universe where unlimited potential, lavish abundance and boatloads of  creativity and inspiration reside.

One of the most powerful realizations of this past year has been that Brenda and Source are ONE.  I don’t have to strive for a connection; it is not sever-able.

I don’t have to be good enough, or praise enough, or be holy enough to make myself attractive to God.

That’s the unconditional part of love where traditional religion goes off track.

Conservative Christianity’s view that a God that is love – and unconditional love at that – could damn a soul to “hell” always troubled me; yet I was so entrenched, it terrified me to consider otherwise.  I felt guilty reading Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, yet I couldn’t pull myself away from the sense it made.

This awakening was the first of many to follow…and just like playing whack-a-mole, as soon as I learn something new I learn there’s more to learn.

We’re all on our own, individual journeys. Some of you are further down the road than I, and maybe I’m down the pike from where you are…but the best part is it doesn’t matter.

Ha! Doesn’t it often turn out that when you think you’re ahead you’re really behind (and vice-versa?)

This isn’t a competition.  No one has the corner on the market of spirituality and everyone has a little piece of the truth.

I have found that the safest, most peaceful space to live in is where love truly wins.

In that space, everyone wins.

My closing thoughts on awakening and the new WOW, coming right up!

Well, hello possibilities!  What risks are YOU going to take this week?

(I’m rooting for you!)

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Memorial Days and Emotional Landmarks

Dates on the calendar can be such emotional triggers, can’t they?

Now that I FEEL my feelings rather than stuffing them into a dark crevice of my soul to be more easily ignored,  I “get gotten” regularly.

Instead of skipping along in merry oblivion, life and its memories stop me dead in my tracks and instead of plowing through, I stop.  And I feel those feelings, as messy and soppy as they may be.

A “memorial day” of sorts just passed; it would have been my 15th wedding anniversary.  I know, I’ve mentioned it before, but for an entire week I felt like I was walking through emotional quicksand.

Another is right around the corner: The one year anniversary of when I left.

Every memory can be weighed on a scale, balancing all of the reasons why and, alternately, why not.

Ask ten other people to view the same set of circumstances and their judgments rendered will run the gamut.  They bring their own biases and projections as they view the evidence, which is why I am not a fan of judging.

To one observer, we are heroines of our own stories.

In other versions, we are the villains.

Some days, I see myself as both.

Why?

Because I am well aware of my imperfections.  And I refuse to try to pretend that I am without fault  (though I became QUITE adept at pretending happiness and have since given that up for good.)

Someone recently chastised me  – not intending cruelty – but these words plucked at my heart:  “You could have done it differently.” (This was in reference to how I left my marriage.)

My reply?  Yes, perhaps I could.  But at the time, I couldn’t see any other way.

And maybe it WAS the only way.

None of us will ever know because it went down as it did and it can’t be undone.

Which leads me to another “memorial day.”

September 9th marks the day I finally let go of all of the trappings of pretension; looked my soul square in my heart and said, “I love you.”

Yep, I am aware of all of my stuff – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And I love you.

I forgive you.

Now let’s get on with this thing called life and start feeling again, start living again, and let love start winning.

Our word these past two weeks has been flexibility, and sometimes it is painful to dislodge from our fixed position of how we see things.  Or to entertain someone else’s view of the choices made.

I can see your point of view. Perhaps it could have been done differently.

These close encounters of the heart are all part of the bumps and bruises of life.  From my current vantage point, I believe a life unmarred by such wounds reflects a life not fully lived.

I could have died, long before my physical death, by not rocking the boat.  And I could have existed the rest of my days without really living, only to get to the end of it all and find I missed the point.

May I always be flexible enough to admit when I’m wrong.  To leave – anything – when it is time to move on.  To own up and apologize, but most of all and always, to forgive. Everyone.  And especially, me.

After all, I’m the ONE person I’m definitely stuck with for the rest of my life.  So I might as well make it a love affair!

And I hope you will, too.

On a lighter note, some less profound matters can easily make us anguished, irritable, emotional, and altogether flummoxed.  I talk about them in these closing thoughts on FLEXIBILITY (and ushering in a new WOW):

Ah, finding joy in the right here, right now.

Wishing you all boatloads of contentment these coming two weeks!

(And Happy Memorial Day Weekend.)

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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Knocked Down (But Willing to Get Up!)

There are a few songs that bring out the fight in me when I’m feeling down.

The theme from Rocky always does it for me. Bill Conti’s horns always make we want to jump up and down on the couch with my arms raised in the victory pose.

Then there’s that “I get knocked down, but I get up again” song by Chumbawamba.  Its actual title is Tubthumping, but I never understood that (or most of the other words.) However, that fighter’s chorus just gets my blood thumping. (Or rather, “tubthumping?)

Our Word of the Week was WILLINGNESS and the truth is, sometimes I get knocked down and I DO NOT WANT to get up again.

I want to slink into the bedroom with a vat of pistachio gelato, curl under the covers and hibernate for at least a few days.  No phone calls; no texts:  I “vant to be alone” in full-on Greta Garbo mode.

That’s how I felt when I lost the final round of my Toastmaster’s Humorous Speech competition last fall.  I had won the club, area, and district competitions and gave what I felt was my best-ever performance at the BIG finale.

And I didn’t even place.

I smiled through the excruciatingly long awards ceremony, wanting to appear to be the good sport that I hoped I would be.

But I was mad.  And I felt robbed.

I swore I would never grace another Toastmasters’ speech competition with my presence and even considered quitting the organization altogether.

No, I am not 9 years old, but I was acting as if.

When the dust settled, I remembered why I got involved with Toastmasters in the first place.  I wanted to compete and perfect my craft; I wanted feedback and a track to run on to pursue my dreams.

When you feel like quitting, friends, go back to your “Why?”  

Your why is the fuel that will take your legs up to the top of the Art Museum.

Your why makes you willing to try again.

As I write this, I am preparing for a Saturday competition in which I will deliver “How To Fertilize Your Life” – the speech I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Yes, I want to win.  But more than that – I want to inspire the crowd assembling at the Gulf Gate Library on a Saturday afternoon.  I want to give them something to take with them that will encourage them to kiss their spouses, say thank you to a co-worker or compliment a stranger.

Oh, and yes, I want to win.

My dream is HUGE.  I want to be the Toastmasters International Public Speaking Champion.  Which means, if I am fortunate enough to win at Gulf Gate this Saturday, I’ve got several layers of the candy cane forest to travel through to get to my destination.

One step at a time, right?

Here’s the thing: We all get hurt.  Some wounds are minor bumps and bruises, like losing a speech competition.

Some are more profound, like finding out a church was really a cult and saying, “I’ll never darken the door of another church again.”

My nevers, however, are usually wrapped up in fear. Today I find myself attending a sweet little Center of Light with Mark every Sunday morning and finding joy in the ritual of a spiritual community.

Willingness is not only a trademark of resilience but also of saying YES to life itself.

Let’s not let our failed marriages keep us from being open to love.

Let us try yet again when we fall flat on our faces…

…and not let the past dictate our futures.

We so often wall ourselves up to protect from future disappointments, but then I remember that with every disappointment has come loving comfort by friends who have wooed me back to health. And whattya know, I’m up again and back in the fight.

More on willingness here…and I’ll keep you posted on Facebook about the competition!

Hefty doses of self-acceptance to all of us (no matter HOW the judges rule.)

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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Thoughts About Thoughts (and the New WOW)

Not all thoughts deserve to be vocalized.

There are some ideas that burn in your brain and demand to be voiced.  In my experience, I’ve found that those are usually the ones better left unsaid.

A passionate pounding attached to a thought is an indicator that I need to sit on it for a while, until it is less energized by the heat of the moment.

Sometimes, those thoughts eventually diminish in power and disappear all together.

Others STEW to a simmer, and you can’t shake them like sticky tape.

One of the best ways to dislodge nagging thoughts is to expose them.  

Sometimes, I talk to myself and that helps.

Other times, I expose those murky thoughts to a trusted friend and in simply speaking them out, their power is reduced to a manageable status.

Then there are times when the thoughts just won’t exit, and a conversation must be had with someone about whom you are HAVING those thoughts.

Yuck.

I love encouraging people, talking up the good, speaking life into situations, coaching to dislodge negativity.

But I HATE sticky conversations that could result in:

  • Anger
  • Rejection
  • Defensiveness
  • And raiding the refrigerator to assuage the angst of the confrontation.

Since this past week’s word has been COMMUNICATION, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve had to have some tough conversations.

I went through my process, first talking to myself.  Then talking to not one, not two, but three trusted friends.  During this time, I backed off from the person about whom I was having the thoughts to “clear my mind.”  But the backing off in itself was also communicating.

Actions really do speak louder than words, and silence can be deafening.

What could have been “nipped in bud” three days sooner with a candid (but loving) conversation, was made needlessly bigger by my ghosting of the person.

Yep, the four-letter monster of FEAR crept in, I allowed it to shut me down, and in doing so,  my thoughts became further jumbled.  When they finally came out (not in graceful, flowing words), it was like verbal diarrhea.

The good news is that COMMUNICATION (in this instance) was two-way.  And the recipient was full of love, not fear.

That meant I was responded to with patience, kindness, thinking no evil and taking no account of a suffered wrong.  Thank God for a person who lives by the four agreements!  (They don’t take things personally.)

It’s not your perfect communication that is effective in life, though sometimes it’s a catalyst for great good.  No, sometimes it is your jumbled up blapping, met with love, that reveals what is most important in life.

Which always turns out to be…LOVE.

My closing thoughts on COMMUNICATION and a quite appropriate new WOW to take us through the next two weeks:

Hang in there!  We’re ALL waiting for something.  May we have extra doses of patience to wait with JOY and not angst.

Much love (and as my friend Denny always used to say):  Love much.

xoxoxoxox

Brenda

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To Be Clear Means to Flow (and the New WOW)

Sometimes the next step seems as clear as mud.

I’ve been considering the ebb and flow of life and how clarity comes in moments built upon moments.  And the preceding moments aren’t often pretty.

Confusion, dismay, disappointment, regret, angst – in the muddy periods when it’s a dog eat dog world and you’re wearing Milkbone underwear (thank you, Cheers, for one of the best TV show lines of all time), it can feel like nothing will EVER change.

You trudge along, sticking to the glue-like mud.  The rain pours down and so do the tears.  You catch a glimpse of your longed-for destination way down the road and wonder if you’ll ever get there.

But you keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Or at least stepping up and down so as not to sink into the quagmire. Because you’re no quitter, and even in your dark spaces, there’s a glimmer of hope that says, “You’re gonna make it.”

Yep.  You’re gonna make it.

You know why?

Because love never fails, and you are dearly loved.

Oh, you may not feel so much like it right now, with your snotty nose and tear-stained cheeks and really bad hair day.

But you are dearly loved.

Love surrounds you.  And as long as you keep voting with love (and not its evil arch-enemy, fear), the clouds are going to part.  The sun will break through.

You’ll realize your destination is closer than you ever imagined as you dejectedly trudged through the mud.

When I made my desperate move in June 2017, I had 48 hours to find a place to live, hire movers, get an attorney and set up a new life.

There was a narrow path, but it was clear, and I took it.

So often, after you make your grand move, it’s like all the grace and space collapses and suddenly, you wonder, “What am I DOING?”

Will I make it?  Will I crumble?

A bold move is often followed up with a swift kick in the gut.

Don’t take your cue from the kick.

There were days when I howled crying from loneliness and anxiety.  I missed my beautiful house.  I missed my lovely little Shasta.  I missed and mourned for the love I once had shared with my husband.

I questioned my sanity.

But the passage of time did some miraculous things.  It caused me to fall to my knees and ask the questions of a lifetime…questions borne of a desperate desire to NOT replicate the mistakes that brought me to this place.

The hard questions ushered in answers that spring-boarded me to a new way of looking at life…and a new capacity to attract good because finally, I WAS good.

I say all of this to say, “Hang in there.”  Clarity WILL come.  Keep slogging away.  When the clouds part, your path will become clear – and you’ll be ready for that step because of the valuable life lessons learned in the quagmire.

More on that, and a new WOW, coming right up!

Oh, to be a bigger person.  I look forward to giving everyone a big break – including myself – in the coming two weeks.

Much love to you all!
xoxoxox

Brenda

 

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Faith Works by Love (and the New Wow)

What I had faith for was that I should go to sleep and wake up when this birthday was over.

To look at the circumstances (which is never a great idea when it comes to faith), my life was in flux, my marriage over and the future uncertain.

Uncertainty, by the way, is the #1 culprit of fear…and since faith works by love, well you know where this story is heading…

…except I was love-bombed.

With each gesture of love, like a flat tire being inflated, so were my spirits.

First, a pre-birthday card from my mom, with a $10 bill to “go buy ice cream.” Thursday was like Christmas – every hour I got a call from the lobby desk saying, “We have a package for you, Ms. Viola…”

There are so many flowers in my apartment right now, I feel like Miss America, not Ms. Viola!  (Thank you Renee and Steve and Roseann and Mike).

Cynthia is NOT a card person.  But she knows that I am and she sent three awesome cards – two laugh out loud funny ones, and another tender one that prompted liquid to spill out of my eyes.

OK, I need to share this one with you:

Then Linda sent me a card that touched me so deeply I have to share the words with you:

THE OAK TREE

A might wind blew night and day

It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,

Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark

Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground

While other trees fell all around

The weary wind gave up and spoke,

“How can you still be standing, Oak?”

The oak tree said, “I know that you

Can break each branch of mine in two,

Carry every leaf away

Shake my limbs and make me sway.

But I have roots stretched in the earth,

Growing stronger since my birth.

You’ll never touch them, for you see,

They are the deepest part of me.

Until today I wasn’t sure

Of just how much I could endure

But now I’ve found, with thanks to you,

I’m stronger than I ever knew.


I am writing this on Thursday night because another present is arriving.  My friend Anita hopped on a plane today and she will be here with me all weekend.  Vats of coffee, endless conversations, laughter and some tears comprise the agenda. And some Face-time with the rest of the Fab Four throughout our time together.

I am blessed.  I am rich.  I am not alone.  I have faith for tomorrow.

Love wove a miracle, stitched my broken heart together and has given me the best birthday of my life.

Who’d have thunk it?

Prior to being love-bombed, I faced another form of faith that attempted to suck the wind out of my sails.  Here’s more on that and the new WOW:

Never, ever, ever have I picked the word BEAUTY.

What a lovely word to begin a brand new year of my life.

Thank you for sharing it with me.

I love you –

Brenda

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Exiting Our Cages (and the New WOW)

The famous film producer, George Lucas, said, “We are all living in cages with the door wide open.”

I have pondered of late the sheer waste of living in a cage. To have the potential for a big, expansive, limitless life  yet choosing to stay constrained in a prison of my own making.

My sweet little Sheltie, Shasta, taught me a lesson years ago. If you are unfamiliar with Shelties, they are miniature Lassies.  A little bundle of joy full of white and brown fluff, our vet advised us to crate train her as a puppy, because dogs never mess where they sleep.

One day as I led her to her crate, she simply refused to go in. She dug in her paws and made it clear, “Enough!”

She never went back – and always whimpered to let us know when she needed to go, like a well-trained puppy should.

It would have been cruel to force her into that confined area.  It was a tool that had served its purpose, but when the purpose was fulfilled, it was time to put the crate away.

If only it were so clear cut in our own lives!  We begin a routine of morning coffee, work, going to the gym, cooking dinner, watching TV and doing it all over again.

This routine becomes what we call “normal life.”

But aren’t we the architects of our own normal?

So what keeps us in the cages of our own making?

I’ve looked at my own life, and came up with three answers; each tied up with bows of fear:

  1. Fear of what people will think
  2. Fear of loss
  3. Fear of the unknown

Life can be an Oscar-worthy performance with little to do with reality if you judge it only by Facebook or Instagram posts. What you see there are the happy, shiny, delicious, romantic highlights of a life – and none of the underbelly.

To a certain extent – that’s appropriate.  You don’t want your dirty laundry or every spat played out for the world to see.  You’ve invested in this Potemkin Village of a life that looks perfect on the outside but if you dare to take a closer look, it’s infested with termites and the foundation crumbling.

One of my favorite writers, Genevieve Georget posted this on Facebook this week, and it truly resonated with me:

Fear of what other people will think suppresses raw candor because it seems easier to keep up appearances. But do you want to perform at life, or live it?

And at the end of this life, will it matter if everyone else was pleased with you, but you, in fact, were miserable?

Riding shotgun with the fear of what people will think is its bosom buddy, fear of loss. If you disrupt the status quo, you could lose the respect and admiration of your family, friends and peers. If you leave that termite-infested house (in that great neighborhood with the amazing swimming pool), you might end up living in a studio apartment. Cutting ties with the old means your old stomping grounds, your old comfort zones, may no longer welcome you.

Leaving a beautiful home infested with termites of anger and fear and negativity? Difficult, but not a profound loss in light of what my soul yearned to gain.

Ah, the fear of the unknown.  This is best addressed by squarely facing what you DO know. Might, just like little Shasta, the crate of life not suit you anymore?

Certainly, there are no promises of what life will be when you exit the cage, but there is one certainty – on the other side of all of those fears is FREEDOM.

I have dreamed of a limitless life; the kind of life where yes is the first response, not no and where dreams are nurtured instead of dashed by negativity. I long for love to freely radiate from me, fueled by hope and effervescent belief.

At first I called it a lovely cage. I decorated it. It offered safety and familiarity. But in my moments of brutal honesty, I knew that the true me became smaller and smaller while my soul and spirit tried to thrive in toxic soil.

When you choose to exit your cages, you will upset people.  You will experience loss. You will face the unknown.

But my friends, you will be free, which is a gift more valuable than gold.

We are all living in cages with the door wide open.

I choose to walk out, by faith.

What lies on the other side for you?

Transformation was our Word of the Week and I can only imagine that the caterpillar has its moments of doubt that a butterfly will emerge. Caterpillars, please don’t judge your transformation midstream.

The key? Stay the course.  More on this and the new WOW here:

What a powerful, powerful directive.

Please let’s stop beating ourselves up for simply being human.  We are all flawed children of God.  It’s what we DO with what we’ve been given (or what we’ve done) that brings us closer to the light or draws us to darkness.

May forgiveness, of ourselves and others, let the light shine in on the dark places this week.

Love to you all  – and many thanks again for your kindness and care.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

 

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Joy-Sucking Trauma and the New WOW

Have you ever just zipped through life for a period of weeks with no major setbacks or heart-gripping faux pas to sap your joy?

I like those weeks.

This was not one of them!

Like a bad dream, an e-mail showed up in my inbox signaling potential professional doom.

A wildly successful project of mine was now the target of a HUGE company’s cease and desist order.

Yes, I always wanted to be discovered by the movies. THIS was not what I had in mind. Let’s just say I wasn’t ready for this kind of closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Quicker than Duane’s lime green Challenger can do zero to sixty, I went from joy to white-knuckled terror.

That sinking feeling of dread? A product of the mere SUGGESTION of bad things to come, not facts.

When faced with these tugging suggestions, we can travel one of two routes:

  1. Vote with fear and enter the deep, dark abyss of related paranoias and dreads
  2. Resist the negative possibilities and reinforce yourself with truth, comforting thoughts and the influence of good people

Which do you think I chose?

Ha!  For several hours, #1 was the victor. My face, drained of color, featured a perpetual deer in the headlights look and I headed into the abyss with a technicolor 10-point outline of how badly things were going to go down.

Taking a big gulp and a huge slice of humble pie, I made the dreaded call to my employer, alerting him to this dark turn of events.  My insides felt like a cauldron of doom and my voice, shaking, conveyed the scary turn of events.

He laughed.

What?  Ummm…surely I didn’t explain this properly.

Let me try again.

He chuckled.

Huh?

Could it be that my awful turn of events was something not quite so horrible?

THIS turned out to be how the word JOY played out for me this week.  Realizing my fears were unfounded ushered in utter RELIEF, and subsequently, joy.  REAL, giddy joy prone to bursting into a happy dance because the feared thing turned out to be just a mirage.

Oh, life, you wild roller-coaster ride you.  

You use the valleys to make the peaks more thrilling; allow the lean times for abundance to be better savored. Life, you are quite the entertainer!

Are you finding yourself on the down side of life right now?  Take courage!  Valleys are temporary and serve as a supreme set up for amplified delight when the road swings upward.

For more on JOY, the reveal of the new WOW and with fair warning that I am LONG-WINDED because there are Iceland stories to share, here we go:

Good stuff!  Integrity is a great word for us to hang our respective hats on this week.

May we all possess the strength of mind to know the right thing and, further, the chutzpah to DO IT this week.

Lots of love,

Brenda

 

 

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Soft Yet Strong: A Powerful Duo (and the new WOW)

There’s something so soft about the word tenderness, isn’t there?

Nothing makes me melt like a kind word or a gentle touch does. They are far more magnetic than a flirtatious comment or an over-the-top gesture.

Tenderness stops me in my tracks.

How powerful is THAT?

One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” (Eric Hoffer)

When we get afraid – particularly of being taken advantage of – we tend to get louder, more emphatic, less flexible and, well, anything BUT tenderhearted.

I scream when I am afraid of not being heard.

Yet it is the soft answer, according to the scriptures, that turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1) I don’t know about you, but I want to turn away wrath every chance I can get.

The word TENDERNESS, for me, was a call – a beckoning – to stay soft. To not let life harden me; to embrace the sweetness of a tender response and extend the gift of sublime softness in areas of my life where I have instead been strident and screeching.

More on that and the new WOW here:

When I went back to look at the recording I was taken aback by my use of the word “DELIGHTFUL” before I chose the word DELIGHT.

It also strikes me that the theme of softness was resonating with me, while the meaning of “DELIGHT” in the scripture I quoted actually means to “be pliable…”

Goosebumps!

This week I am not going to try and be braced for anything and everything.  I want to let life flow and I want to flow with it in a calm and peaceful repose.

This is NOT my normal MO.  I am a complete Type A personality with ten concurrent lists going at any given time. I want to do and be more all the time and I sometimes don’t stop working because I want so badly to do well.

But I wonder if a softer approach; a less frantic/performance driven way of pursuing life might not actually be more effective?

Since a life-changing trip with my best friends a few months ago, I have been conscious of how the need to “perform” has added so much pressure – unneeded pressure – to my life for the entirety of my life!

As I walk away from the old in this new year, I am getting the messages of tenderness and softness loud and clear.

The thought of living that kind of life DOES bring delight to my heart.

What about you?

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

 

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