Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

soft front, firm back

All too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine.  In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence.  If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open… How can we give and accept care with strong-back, soft-front compassion, moving past fear into a place of genuine tenderness.  I believe it comes about when we can be truly transparent, seeing the world clearly – and letting the world see into us
                                                                           Roshi Joan Halifax, quote by Brene Brown

What does it mean to be strong?

To put up a strong front, never showing weakness?
To be forceful, insisting one’s own way?

Does it mean asserting one’s power?
Does it involve “winning”
Does it mean being “above” others

Are the strong those who are the richest?
Who have the positions and the titles?

Are they the ones who cow others, and bend others to their will?
The brutal?

I think there is such a thing as faux strength

We strength is when the front is hard, but the back is soft
When all that is holding the person up, is what they can literally throw at others

Such people throw out harsh words
They engage in brutal behaviors
They hide behind position and wealth

They are often bullies
Bulls in the china shop
And they leave wounded people behind them, as they flail toward what they want

But inside there is emptiness, and fear
And inability to have compassion, on either themselves or others

We know such people when we encounter them
They leave us cold and empty, they make our stomachs hurt and as asses twitch

They may fool us for a while
But eventually we feel the impact of the abyss that exists within their soul

Hard fronts, soft backs

But there are others
Who are generous, and kind
Who seek what is best for others
Who lift others up
Who accept rather than reject
Welcome rather than exclude

These are people willing to be wrong
Willing to be vulnerable
Willing to let other people in

Sometimes we think these people are soft
Bleeding hearts
Libertards (perhaps)

but behind the soft exterior, there is something strong
Something profound
Call it love
Call it the Sacred
Call it inner strength
Call it insight, or wisdom

Call it what you will
But these people do not live in fear
They do not need to oppress and minimize others to feel OK about themselves
They do not have to use and manipulate to have healthy egos

They have strong backs
They are held up by what is more powerful than
Hate, or fear, or even death

They are help up, strengthened, by Sacred Presence
and Sacred Love

They have soft fronts
They can smile
They can be open and honest
They can embrace
But they can stand firm, they can survive the worst
They can continue to be a force for good, even when surrounded by evil

Softs fronts, strong backs

That is the way I want to be
A person with a soft front, and a firm back

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