Soft Strength

What first comes to your mind when you think of strength or power? For me, it is nature. Things like the ocean or a tree or even the wind. The beauty and the calm energy in combination with the amazing power and strength they exude I find to be absolutely incredible. Another thing that resembles strength and power to me is when someone shines from their true nature and doesn’t need approval from others in order to keep flowing through life in the direction they want to go in. When one shines from their true loving, non-judgmental nature even when there are endless egoic distractions available, that to me is true strength.

I’ll never forget, a few years ago my ex and I were camping on the Northeast shore of Oahu in Hawaii when near-hurricane winds struck the island. As we lay in our tent ready to go to sleep, the winds continually got stronger and stronger and our tent felt like it was either going to blow away or get crushed by a tree, so we decided it was best to go and get cover under something a little bit more stable. The best thing we could find was an open walled, wooden gazebo type structure. For hours we lay under our sleeping bag just waiting for it to hopefully pass. I will always remember in that darkness, gazing in awe and bewilderment at the light shadows of the massive palm trees that were bending an incredible amount with the force of the winds, without snapping or up rooting. So many other trees around these palms’ were breaking, massive branches snapping like twigs, huge roots being lifted from the ground, yet these palm’s just gracefully bent with grounded flexibility. I remember thinking as the storm kept showing its awesome force, that no amount of complaining, fighting or tensing up would help us get through this, so we just surrendered and waited patiently. The next day we heard that highways were destroyed and whole houses were demolished yet these palm trees remained virtually unharmed. That is strength!

Be like the flexible, grounded palm tree

Generally I think our overall view of strength and power is that of yang, of masculine brute force. On an energetic level this is very unsustainable. An energy that may appear strong, but in reality ends up burning out or breaking down. On a whole, we have been living in a culture of consumption and unsustainable forcing and pushing, leading to wide spread dis-ease. Over consumption from the land’s energy but also our own life force energy. Dominating, pushing, hurting, judging, the list goes on… All these actions that are abundant in the world we live in, end up hurting others, the planet and ourselves.

The most powerful and strong people I’ve ever met have been the most gentle, kind hearted, authentic people. My teacher in India, Yogi Vishvektu shines these qualities big time! Warm hearted, selfless, loving, compassionate and sharing, yet so strong, grounded and powerful. No dominance, pushing, interrupting or anything like that, just pure trust and love. On the other end of the scale, most people I know that put on a dominating, macho, out of balanced masculine or overly yang energy end up burning out or getting sick quite regularly. It’s also quite common that when these people are one on one and not in a group dynamic their true nature starts to shine a little more. Their softness starts to shine when there’s no need to dominate. It’s quite common for leaders, sports coaches, bosses and managers to feel the need to portray dominance, attempting to make their team feel below them in order to obey. The ego loves this, but nothing else really does. I really don’t think this approach is effective. You may have people obeying you out of fear, but their growth and productivity will most certainly be stunted. The most effective leaders I know are like my teacher, Yogi Vishvektu, disciplined, effective in communication, honest, loving and treat others like they would like to be treated.

Cultivate more vitality, vigour and strength just by being present and by treating others how you would like to be treated

When listening to someone, actually listen. Observe during interactions if you’re off worrying about something else, or thinking of what you can get out of this interaction, or if you’re thinking about what you can add to the conversation that’s more impressive than what they’re saying. Don’t interrupt. Interrupting is so draining on both you and the other person(s). Listen, whether it’s a stranger you’re interacting with, a colleague or someone very close to you, give them your total, compassionate, present attention. Not only will this help your energy levels, but also each moment will feel that much richer. Time may even feel like it’s slowing down or speeding up. Whatever you’d rather the time do…

Connect with nature

In the world we live in, it is quite common for people to barely ever connect to nature. It’s become ‘normal’ to not go outside in raw nature all week, or possibly for weeks on end. This distance from raw nature often leaves people feeling nowhere near as much strength, vitality and groundedness that they could be feeling. Simply giving ourselves more time outside is so crucial for our body to be in balance. Being in balance means more true strength and power.

Next time you’re outside in nature, get barefoot and feel your connection to mother nature. Feel your strong, grounded compassionate energy healing the earth and in turn feel the healing energy of the earth healing you. What a gift!

Applying strength and power in daily

Think of an example of a situation where something or someone has really let you down or made you really angry. What’s a stronger, more powerful approach? To be silent and pretend it didn’t bother you but really it’s eating you up inside, creating tension and dis-ease. To burst out with a furious temper and unload your anger on the situation probably making the situation so much worse.

Or taking a couple of calming breaths, putting the ego aside and expressing with unconditional love how the situation looks to you. Who knows, the clashing interaction could simply be the case of different perception, different views, which it normally is. Sure this may be the harder approach if you’re used to being defensive or reactive, but in the end you won’t have caused turmoil in your body and mind and you’ll most probably rectify the situation a whole lot more efficiently. To me, this is something so many of us can work on.

Feel the strength in being soft. Give yourself moments of silence. Slow down and breathe to allow your interactions to have a quality of presence and love. Feel the power of your healing feminine energy rather than just being stuck in masculine yang, which is so predominant in our culture. Simply flow like a river and bend like a palm tree.

To remain gentle and honest is to be invincible.

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