How often do we find ourselves feeling unsupported? This feeling that we’re all on our own — and vulnerable to the hardness and wounding of life. Feeling like there’s no escape from the fear and potential for (or expression of) harm. It’s the ultimate constriction of Life.

So we brace…  we brace for pain and hardship. We brace for loneliness and devastation. We brace to carry a load of responsibility and wounding that we were never meant to carry.

It is the bracing that hardens us and shuts us down, until we remember that softness and opening are required. Required to breathe…  Required to heal… Required to receive. And when we courageously dare to soften and open, what we find is that we are not alone.

We are infinitely connected – to ourselves, to one another, and to Life itself. We find in this presence of connection that we belong. We belong in the container of our own loving kindness. We belong in the presence of Love within and around us. We belong in the expression of our dreams and values. We belong in the fabric of Creation.

And we know that the softening will not shield us from pain, but it can alleviate the suffering. Instead of hardening in the presence of pain and heaping that wounding on our shoulders, we allow ourselves to be opened and shaped in the process. And in that choice, we come to know deeper parts of ourselves and come to a greater depth of understanding of Life that is both heartbreakingly beautiful and necessary. We learn there is a purpose in the pain. And, we learn that pain is not all there is.

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