Try Softer.

Selah Companion

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.