Tag Archive | gentleness

The beauty of vulnerability

Our culture tends to idolize the macho, the tough, the strong, those that never share or display their wounded hearts. We instinctively hide our vulnerable parts in order to keep those tender and wounded places safe.

This is sometimes a necessity because there are many times and places where it would not be safe to let our vulnerability show. But when we find those moments of safety where we can risk letting down our guards and letting others in, our vulnerability often becomes a magnet to others who discover in us the freedom to expose their own vulnerability. Giving each other glimpses behind the masks that we so often wear allows us to see a bit of the true beauty that each human being holds.

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Holding truth gently

“Truth is best served by recognizing a viewpoint as only a viewpoint, and refraining from taking that extra step of regarding it as true to the exclusion of all other views. In other words, all views—even correct views—are best held gently, rather than grasped firmly.” ~Andrew Olendzki

I was raised in a faith tradition that believed that there was one truth, one right viewpoint, and the goal of life seemed to be grasping that one true viewpoint as firmly as possible.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to let go of that surety. Not only am I less sure that it is possible for me to know the absolute truth of anything, but I am also more convinced that clinging to a viewpoint with that kind of ferocity makes it less likely that those with other views will be able to get beyond my attitude enough to even hear my viewpoint clearly enough to consider it.

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Pairing gentleness with honest observing

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ~Pema Chödrön

Jean Raffa’s recent post Will the Real Orphan Annie Please Stand Up? was a timely reminder for me of how often the things that annoy me most in others are really the things that annoy me most about myself. In fact, as Jean describes, they often annoy me so much that I am unable to see them in myself; I can only see them in the mirror of another.

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