Author’s Note: The poem was written as a reflection of my experience attending Selah’s LifeFlow retreat in Sedona, led by John and Marissa Kiemele, and my experience reading “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber. The photo was taken by Brian Waple while hiking Little Horse Trail in Sedona, Arizona.
The hardened rock bears
the beating rain and sleet
the deep, frozen snow
the harsh heat of sun and fire
the trampling of feet walking carelessly upon it.
It appears barely changed, unyielding and enduring.
Like the rugged rock, my body and soul bear places that have
been hardened and shaped
by trauma, by rejection, by isolation
by an inner voice that always corrects with judgement and self-criticism
that reminds me I can do better.
Just try harder.
All appears calm, always standing, enduring, living life.
And yet, deep within, lives an anxious alertness
A continuous scanning and wondering:
Am I truly safe?
Do I truly belong?
Whom can I trust?
The hardness grows with each effort to rise above, to overcome,
to push through, to ignore, to numb, to just give up and accept failure.
And yet, the Creator calls out offering a sacred invitation to honor the pain,
To offer compassionate attention to what is within.
To try softer
Living Water gently flows continuously, trickling over the surface.
Slowly, wearing away the hardness.
There is a gentle reshaping, repairing, restoring.
Humility replaces judgment. Awareness replaces numbing.
Compassion replaces criticism. Resilience replaces hardness.
The heart comes alive to receive and hold the gift of Living Water;
Flowing through the whole body, soul and mind.
All is held tenderly, lovingly, transformed, yielded
living into the full experience of being human.
Light shimmers, reflections reveal
A life dancing with deeper joy and freedom.
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