A sigh, mind lays down
In the body. Sun
Bursts out of a blue hole
In the cloudy sky
And dances on the water.
Fish sparkle and the waves
Of my lake of lust
Move gently between
The rolling hills
Of the pelvis.

 

 

The last two years, I have been searching for a new home together with my family. It was quite a journey, through several countries, through paradise and hell. At last our new home showed up, just 75 kilometers from where we live presently. My quest for this place was driven by the desire for more space and nature around me, for a life connected to the earth and lived with simplicity.

 

We had to face many restrictions, in finances, energy and distances. We had to let go of cherished images, and the limits we met sometimes seemed to suffocate the dream. The feeling of being stuck made me turn inside. I asked myself, what is this desire for nature really about, a desire so strong that it fills my eyes with tears?

Tuning into my desire for nature, I realized that I felt split from the earth, from my true nature. What else could I be searching for in nature than for who I really am? This separation from my essence let the desire for a home surrounded by nature become painful.

How could nature not be ‘good enough’?

I had always enjoyed being in nature immensely, but still its beauty often seemed to be something outside myself. I did not feel that it is my own essence that I rejoice in when being in nature, that I am nature. The moment I touched this separation, the limits in myself and in my quest exploded. There is no good reason why I should deprive myself from wholeness, from joy. Just because of some vague, imprinted idea of ‘not being good enough’, of having to become better and working hard, which lifts the breath from its basis in the body, from its home on earth. This idea is the root of the ego, of the part of ourselves that has learned that it is NOT nature. But how could something so breathtaking, amazing, beautiful as nature, as your own nature, possibly not be ‘good enough’?

Nature’s creativity is my own creativity

When I grew up, I learned to be somewhat ashamed when I marveled at flowers. I thought this was petty, when there are so many huge problems on this planet. A few decades later, I realize that with this shame I cut myself from my very roots. I feel that for me there’s nothing more important to do than rejoicing in the magnolia’s and the peony’s coming out every year. By allowing all the amazement and joy in the ever-changing play of nature, I become aligned to the cosmic creativity, which is also my own.

Creativity is deep communication

Creativity is nothing else than deep communication with everything: my feet receive the freshness of the wet grass in the morning. The chick waggling out of her shed moves her head and neck, and I nod back, receiving the light with her. A glimpse of blue sky between the clouds lets me burst into space. The grasses in the wind wave at me and the bark of a tree opens its eyes and pores to let me in. The bees resonate in the warm humming of my own being. I feel part of an immense, crazy creation I will never understand but which I am. I feel utterly creative even if I do nothing at all. And I don’t have to fight my ego in this moment, there’s no reason for shame. My personality with its qualities and defaults is as the foam on the waves of the ocean of life. Not bad, also nothing special, just part of the playing of life with its unique beauty.

Trust and resilience

At this moment I am back at home, feeling the heart-beat of my mother, the earth. And right now my trust is reconnected, trust that everything that is really necessary will be provided at the right moment. Joy fills me, without any special reason, with the light of the day rising and falling, with every plant I meet, with the playfulness of the wind. Something like resilience arises: when being a home, I can allow to feel a bit more of the trouble the planet is in.

‘Tender’ is a word I loved when I was a young child living in England. It makes a beautiful curve that feels like a caress, it touches without grasping, its ending is open. It’s all feeling. 

When tenderness is felt and expressed there are two, touching and being touched delicately.  Delicately and with so much presence that the two may melt into ONE life being lived. Tenderness is a celebration of the amazing beauty being created by the ONE. By allowing and expressing tenderness our world is endowed with depth, with mystery. We desire tenderness so much because it brings us back to our own heart, to the core of BEING.

Mostly, there is a painful lack of tenderness in our lives, from the very moment we were born. We endure a lot of hardness, of roughness, and later we can’t help passing these on to others. Most of our problems raise from this lack. When we receive enough tenderness, this gives us the reassurance, the confirmation of BEING we need so we can trust and surrender to life, care for life.

‘Happily, being very common, tenderness is never unavailable and far away.’

I learned that when I desire more tenderness in my life, the foremost thing to do is to see how violently I handle myself. I use myself as an object that has to function in order to obtain something, to be someone. And if I don’t function I punish myself by pushing even harder. Every moment I can see and feel my own violence, every moment I dare to stop where it’s painful and uncomfortable, space arises for the tenderness of life to touch me. Tenderness needs space and presence, it can’t breathe in a hasted field.

Happily, being very common, tenderness is never unavailable and far away. It is present in the middle of our everyday lives. Immersing in a warm bath, drinking fresh water, feeling the wind in your hair or enjoying the softness and reliability of the bed you lay on – this all can caress you deeply.

Of course, we also long to be touched tenderly by others, but we can’t control when and how this happens. Often, we are touched with an intention: the other wants something from us. This feels uncomfortable and our body and heart remain closed. Sometimes, we are touched tenderly, but our body is too rigid and our mind too busy to receive the caress.

‘A tender approach to yourself lets care come to any place that needs it.’

It is not always easy to allow and express tenderness. I assume this has something to do with the possibility of being ashamed and rejected by another. When being tender, we have to live with our vulnerability. That’s scary. Tenderness takes a lot of courage. It aligns our heart with what living in a body means, with how breakable life is.

‘Tenderness’ sounds really soft and it is. Yet, allowing and expressing tenderness is definitely not naïve or romantic. It takes a fierce commitment to face your fears so you can open to the touch of life. You don’t look at your fears and deficiencies in order to judge yourself or to struggle to be ‘better’. No, a tender approach to yourself sees the aching and struggling and lets care come to any place that needs it. And I believe this really is the only thing to be done. Everything else happens by itself.