The Exquisite Softening

Dearest Dancers,

I write to you tonight feeling fragile. And I’m pleased to say, I’m not resisting it. Somehow, this feeling in my body feels right, feels welcome. I flutter around all week, busily in my head, but on the weekends, I come back into contact with emotions. Lately, I’ve been noticing my acute longing to slow down a bit and soften. Truly, it’s the softening that calls to me most intoxicatingly. I sit here and ponder the conditions that are most conducive to softening. I’m going to do a list. Care to join me?

Things that soften me:

  1. Gentle, flowing music. Classical music. Meditation music. Songs that tell a sweet story.

  2. Kind & loving friends. Last Sunday we had a small (zoom) birthday brunch party for a beloved friend. After being a part of so much loving support, encouragement, and celebration, I pretty much floated all afternoon. Total bliss.

  3. The beauty of nature. I was in Sausalito today. Gazing out at the sunlight sparkling on the bay fed my soul.

  4. Silence. . . . particularly outside in the woods.

  5. A warm, enveloping hug from a beloved friend.

  6. Intimate conversation. Today I had lunch with a soul sister. Afterward, we took a nice, languid stroll together, our conversation deepening with moments of vulnerability. Ahhh.

  7. Unexpected tenderness. The word itself stops me. And when tenderness is revealed as a surprise, it takes my breath away.

  8. T’ai Chi & Meditation. Yes, guess who just got done doing two T’ai Chi sessions. 😊

  9. Poetry. The oh so carefully chosen words make me slow down and consider. . . . and soften.

  10. Slow, sensual sex. Need I say more?

  11. Children & puppies. Bunnies too.

  12. Dancing. All of it. Any kind. I just let my body move to the rhythm and my whole being will gradually (once all the armor has been loosened) be wonderfully softened.

What softens you?

And can we take a moment to notice what it really feels like in the body, to simply surrender to the sensation of softness? Do you realize, we’re less likely to possess the skills to attune to softness in the body without this incredible practice. We learn to feel what’s happening in the body through dance.

I’m noticing how fear, particularly the subtle fear known as “vigilance” rides in the body. It’s a tightening. A type of rigidity. It’s not what I want in my body. I want fearless love, acceptance, curiosity. I want softness. I want ease of being. Are you with me? Tomorrow we go get it. Gently.

I hope you’ll join me on the dance floor (zoom) tomorrow. We have a special guest: the incomparable Zuza Engler.

Here’s the link:

And here’s an old favorite poem for your softening pleasure:

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Insert happy sigh here. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Yes, of course. Yes.

Sending love & soft, squishy hugs,


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