My yoga teacher Heather brought in this quote to class last night, and it really struck me: “Gentleness comes from stability.” She explained that we think of gentleness as weakness, but that we need strength in order to practice it.
On a physical level, I can see this so clearly. When I stand solidly on my feet, like in a mountain pose, I can open my shoulders and relax my arms. But the figurative implications are legion. When I think of people in my life who have a hard time being gentle, I see people who are very scared and insecure. Heather mentioned that when you don’t feel stable, you go into survival mode. So you can’t take in the world with a compassionate awareness. I can of course see that in myself, too. The times when I’m bitchy or snappish with Brian are when I’m feeling anxious and unsure of myself, and I take it out on him. Not fair, but probably not terribly surprising.
Now that Jack is starting to stand with our support, he grabs at my hair and face when he feels wobbly. Not very gentle. He doesn’t understand that yet, because he’s just trying to stay upright. Sometimes we do that to the people we love. We lash out and grab them roughly and sometimes hurt them, when we’re really only trying to right ourselves out of a tailspin.
In two weeks, we’ll move into a brick ranch across town. Nothing says stability like a brick ranch. I only hope I can follow my new home’s example. There are so many people in my life who need gentleness. I want to be stable in my own seat, so I can give it to them.