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  • Susan Lee Woodward

Softness and Strength - Balancing Life

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

I go to yoga classes and “practice” the art of strength and softness in my poses. It is quite remarkable how the slightest micron of a movement can change the way the body feels from head to toe in the minutiae of sinewy muscle variations. Where pain resides, it can be transformed into strength and a shift in both perception and feeling. Ease enters the fascia, and the burn in the muscle tissue turns into a warm inviting message/massage. I lean in to await the universal wisdom in the softness/strength balance of life that permeates my thoughts on a daily basis.

  • I want to do the “right” thing.

  • I don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings.

  • I want to stand in my power.

  • I don’t want to be a doormat.

  • Where are my boundaries?

  • Is there a right or wrong answer or just a difference in perception or perspective?

So many questions and so many answers packed with more questions.

Hot yoga classes are my favourite. I envision the sweat toxins pouring out, cleansing body and soul, replacing my doubts with strength and my pain with softness and ease. When I first began this practice several years ago, I would often cry in Dancer’s Pose (about ½ way through the class). It is the final standing pose, and I cried in grief over the loss of my grand daughter Madeline who came for the session to stand with me in my power. She has taught me to be strong for me and for my daughter Leah, to embrace the difficulties of life with some grace, to get through the hard moments by shining my light brightly without compromise, and most of all, to see the beauty in every lesson, even if rife with pain. That is where the magic happens. It’s where the spiritual growth ameliorates the soul. Life is unfolding as it should; growth and setbacks, meticulously timed for understanding if we choose to embrace the message. There are no mistakes.

With this thought process as my foundation, I am transforming from the chrysalis to the butterfly in this new phase of my life. I am terrified, exhilarated, frustrated and eager to move through this transition with courage and grace. Worried about money, love, connection, and a burgeoning self-made career, I wish to let the world know that I have catapulted this new, improved, more enlightened version of me, off the couch and into the work and dedication of serving others, but most of all, serving myself.

Please share your experiences of wisdom, growth and what works for you to get through the moments of learning that uplifts your spirit. Sharing experiences exposes our commonality, eases the burden of separation and heals our hearts in shared oneness.

I had the opportunity to hear this brilliant women speak in Vancouver a few years ago.

Some memorable quotes from Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!”

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”


© Susan Lee Woodward - 2015 - This article in its entirety is protected by Canadian and International copyright laws. Reproduction of this written content without written permission of the author is prohibited.

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