I’ve heard the word "gentle" a lot lately and I've been reflecting on gentleness as a useful approach to life, especially for us sensitive, creative, and/or neurodivergent folks because we often experience both our inner life and the world around us with great intensity. This can be a beautiful thing leading to extraordinary depth of feeling, sensory pleasure, and creativity. The flip side is that it can more easily lead to sensory and emotional overwhelm and burnout. So there's this fine line, a precarious dance between the gift and the shadow of intensity.
We all know the myth of Icarus who, out of hubris, failed to master this dance when he flew too close to the sun. But what if Icarus had GENTLY approached the sun, allowing him to still enjoy its warmth but also to feel the very first drop of melting wax, alerting him to pull back a bit? Could he have saved himself with a gentle approach? Could we?
As I've been reflecting on gentle, I've noticed it being modeled in nature - the breezes, delicate flowers, easily-gliding birds... They've reminded me what going gently looks like.
I've started playing with the concept in my own life and noticing that new options and opportunities seem to open up for me when I approach a situation from gentleness. If I'm feeling overwhelmed with a project, approaching it gently becomes taking a baby step that no longer feels overwhelming but still keeps me moving in the right direction.
I think almost any situation could benefit from an infusion of gentleness. Is there anything that you can do more gently this week? Can you approach your day with more gentleness? The next hour, creative project, meeting with your boss/client, call with your friend/partner/relative? If you do this, let me know how it goes:)
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