The Art of Gentleness
Be Gentle with This Life and It Will Be Gentle with You
There is a rhythm within us that is in harmony with nature. When we listen to it—and honor it—we are at peace with ourselves and this life. Approaching life with gentleness rewards us with gentleness in return.
“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
For many years, our society has led us to believe that this life is to be feared and, with that fear, we should lead. We are in a time of great comparison, competition, distrust and power feeding. We’re also in a time of great potential and awareness. When we tap into our innocence, self-acceptance, trust and compassion for ourselves, we learn that we can eliminate suffering in our personal lives and also soften pain in others. Many have been taught to push, force and approach experiences with aggression. Sometimes this aggression isn’t so much on the surface, but rather a deep internal voice of self-judgment and impatience. This is unnecessary; it actually depletes us of life-force energy and joy. What some don’t realize is that we are a part of a network that requires our participation as an extension of gentleness for an outcome of ease. This life is available and willing to honor what we ask when we simply reciprocate with trust. Gentleness is life-giving. Aggression is life-depleting.
What is available for us in any given moment is what life is delivering us. Presence is a consistent practice that illuminates the moment and refocuses our mind. Impatience is the energy of fixating on desiring to propel ourselves from the current moment to the next, or to change the current moment. If we are unsatisfied or unaccepting of the moment, then we also carry the energy of rejection toward what life is delivering to us and our own life-force energy. Every moment is sacred; when we perceive life this way, we are delivered sacredness. Our bodies and existence are manifests of creation and, therefore, an aspect of life. When we practice self-love and honor our bodies as sacred, we are also communicating this to all aspects of life. To be gentle with ourselves is to accept this life. To trust ourselves is to trust this life. To love ourselves is to love this life. What this delivers us is the ability to thrive rather than endure our existence.
Breathing and Sensory Experience
Our breath is something that we have immediate access to that brings us back to the present moment and floods life-force energy back into our system. It is a tool that is our conscious gateway to feeling connected to the moment, to all of life and to our higher selves. If we are breathing consistently, then we are on the path of practicing gentleness and reciprocity with life. We must embody the sense of safety to connect us to gentleness; breath grounds us to that feeling of safety.
Our five senses of hearing, touch, vision, taste and smell are the gateway for us to trust this moment. To connect with all of our senses grounds us to the elements and our body. With focus in conjunction with our breath, our senses are re-awakened. Ayurveda teaches that every sense is associated with an element, and that our body is comprised of the same elements of all matter. Hearing is to space as touch is to air, fire to vision, taste to water and smell to earth.
When we focus on appreciating all individual senses, then we in turn appreciate the composition of our bodies and all of matter. We communicate love to all of life.
If we practice the idea that this life is an intellectual “organism” and needs the same requirements of love and acceptance as we do, then we can unveil how beautiful this existence can be. The art of gentleness is a practice that requires us to pay attention and acknowledge every elemental expression as an intellectual consciousness that is responding to us. The dance of giving and receiving with life is a playful interaction that has us participating rather that being stagnant and feeling helpless. Every single situation is most rewarding when we meet it with grace and patience. We are only as powerful as we are present.
We have a choice in what we wish to believe. We must re-empower the awareness of the effects of our beliefs and focus of our own free will. Our perception is simply based on what we believe to be true. When we believe this life is to be trusted, that we can feel safe, that we are unconditionally loved by the space around us, that we are heard, and that we can approach every moment with grace and gentleness, that is what our reality becomes. The energy we embody is exactly what we receive. We must choose the path that is the most liberating, life-giving and life-preserving for us.
The art of gentleness is to perceive that everything in this life is deserving of being appreciated and valued equally. Everything is delicate, innocent and responsive of our energy and sensitivity, just as a child. Approach all things as we would our altar; therein is a magical, visceral awareness of the sacredness of every single moment.
Leading with gentleness is the most powerful approach to this life. It opens up an abundance of benefits. We become liberated to be and express who we are with absence of fear and distrust. We preserve energy. We open ourselves to receiving peace because our outlook is peaceful. We inspire others. We practice self-love. We express more love to others. We suffer less. We heal. Be gentle with this life, and this life will be gentle with you.
Nora Jaya Malfettone is a certified Kripalu yoga teacher, Jikiden Reiki teacher, Egyptian High Alchemist, sound healer, spiritual counselor, classically trained vocalist and certified personal trainer. In addition to seeing private clients for healing and spiritual counseling at Jiiva Wellness and Yoga for Everybody, she leads sound healing, women’s groups and Egyptian High Alchemy events. Connect at 203-998-5292, Jaya@NoraJaya.com or NoraJaya.com. See ad, page 53.
Gratitude, Grace and Gentleness
by Nora Jaya Malfettone
Gratitude is a powerful tool in practicing the art of gentleness; it is often spoken of in many, if not all, spiritual practices. To embody gratitude is an energy that can dissolve the deepest wounds. It can shine light and wisdom onto the darkest and seemingly chaotic experiences. It opens us up to clarity to receive the lessons this life has to offer. Gratitude is a graceful pulse that lives with gentleness. It reminds us that we have a choice in our perspective; we have a choice of whether our experience is life-giving or depleting. When we are grateful for every moment, this reminds us that every moment is sacred. The perception of sacredness gives us a powerful relationship with the consciousness within and around us.
The spirit of this life is available for us, but we must honor it to receive its grace. There is an exchange of energy, a conversation, a dance of love that is reciprocated. When we honor these moments—whether it is in our body, our environment or other aspects of this life—we realize and receive all that is available for us. If there is an underlying tone of dissatisfaction in everything we are doing, then what we receive will be unsatisfying. When we open up to treating this life as a soul—a spirit that is deserving and in need of compassion, attention and unconditional love—we then are reflected with self-care and self-love. Our external environment is a reflection of our internal environment. We cannot love and accept ourselves—and this life completely—by favoring one environment over the other. We are whole when we love, cherish and honor both equally.
“We need to understand that the cosmic universe is auspicious and nurturing in order to be able to access its blessings,” Yogini Shambhavi Chopra said. When we understand this relationship, then it is simple and easy to be grateful. We connect with the certainty that this life is here to support and fulfill our needs.Edit ModuleShow Tags