Tag Archives: people

Soften Something

I learn something every time I practice yoga. All of it applies to life. I’ve said before if I could only figure out how to take notes while doing yoga, I would have it made. Because my hands are usually trying to hold me up, I’m left to apply only what I remember.

Over and over our teacher instructs us to soften. Maybe we are bending over, bent in half and she will say “soften.” She means stop trying so hard, stop being so tense. She means relax, allow the stretch to unfold, allow your body to release.

Sometimes she tells us to soften our face or our shoulders. Sometimes it is a tinier body part, “soften your mouth, your eyes, your forehead.”

I’m always amazed that no matter how relaxed I believe I am, there’s always more softening I can allow. Always.

Now I’m learning to apply softening to the rest of my life. These days politics cause me to do the opposite of soften. Recently someone asked my opinion on something political and I actually said, “If we talk about that I know I will scream loudly or cry hysterically so let’s not.” This is not an example of one who is softening.

With some people, I’ve had to actually say to myself, “Cindy, soften.” Stop being so angry, judgmental, tense and guarded. Soften, forgive, give grace.

With certain situations, I’ve had to do the same, let go, relax, soften, trust God.

Do you have any of those life situations that you can’t control but they seem to be making you rigid, tense, harsh? Practice the art of softening.

Dr. Will Cole is a physician I follow on Instagram. He posts often about all kinds of health and wellness. Recently he shared this, Stick with the people who pull the magic out of you and not the madness. I took a screenshot of this great quote. My life is filled with both kinds of people. I treasure the ones who pull magic out of me. With the others, I’m going to practice the art of softening. I’m going to be kinder, gentler and less guarded.

Truth comes in many forms…yoga, Instagram and even in scripture. The Bible has been talking about softening all along. We are cautioned against having a hardened heart. One of my favorite verses is Ezekiel 36:26, And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. God specializes in helping us have softened hearts.

Politics? People? Difficult situations? Body parts? Soften something. It will feel like grace.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace, breast cancer survivor and yoga enthusiast. 

Watch Where You Put Yourself

It’s just a simple wisp of an idea; one gentle thought. Author Cheryl Strayed brought it to my mind in a little book of her own quotes, Brave Enough. Put yourself in the way of beauty, she writes. That’s it. She gives a whole page surrounded by white space to those seven words.

It reminds me of another quote by Elsie de Wolfe that I have on a shelf by my kitchen sink in that place I always find myself standing. I’m going to make everything around me beautiful-that will be my life.

Those two quotes connect with the new job description I have assigned myself of being a noticer. I want to notice beauty and pain. I want to notice better what I’m feeling in my body and what my dreams are telling me. I want to notice people, especially the ones right in front of me. I want to see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears what God is whispering.

Three days in a row a tree in full white bloom has been right in my way on my morning walk. Three days in a row I took a picture of it because I did not know what else to do with that kind of beauty in my way. Three days in a row I noticed a little more springtime edging forth from the winter landscape. For three days, it has reminded me of God’s resurrection promise written on every leaf of springtime. (Martin Luther)

Put yourself in the way of beauty. I can do that.

Quietly, another thought saddled up along side that one. Toss some beauty into someone else’s way as well. I can do that too. And for today, that will be enough.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller, breast cancer survivor and noticer.