Soft. Slow. Surrender.

DenaJuly 12, 2011

Slowness remembers and hurry forgets; softness remembers and hardness forgets; surrender remembers and fear forgets. —Mark Nepa

Slow. Sadness, anxiety, anger (and all unhappy emotions) thrive on speed. When my mind is racing, I am unhappy. When I am hurrying to an appointment, I am unhappy. When I am rushing to complete a task, I am unhappy.

On the other hand, while I am moving & thinking slowly, I never feel sad, anxious, or angry. When I take time to breathe properly, I am at peace. When I slow down & recognize that there is no need to rush, I am at peace. When I quiet my thoughts & move slowly across the earth, I am at peace.

Sometimes, happiness is as simple as slowing down. It’s not always easy, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind and a million places to be. An easy trick to help you slow down when you’re struggling (sad, anxious, or angry) is to focus on your breathing.

Shallow breathing causes rapid heart rate and conversely, deep breathing causes a slower heart rate. As soon as you begin to experience unhappiness, take a deep breath in through your nostrils. Let the air flow through your chest and deep into the pit of your stomach. Allow your stomach to expand, like a balloon, as it fills with air. Then slowly exhale through your nose and expel all of the air from your body. Breathe in deeply again, allowing the air to fill your stomach as before. Each time you inhale, take in the positive energy & light around you. Let it fill & calm your soul. Each time you exhale, push out your negative energy & fear. Continue to do this until you feel calm.

Practice this breathing exercise daily (perhaps as a meditation each morning or night). Then, the next time that you feel yourself beginning to feel unhappy you will be expertly prepared to calm yourself through breathing properly.

Soft. In this case, softness simply means treading lightly and being mindful. It means behaving like water and accepting what is, rather than resisting. Resistance causes unhappiness. Acceptance causes happiness.

Water is the supreme example of acceptance. It never struggles, it simply flows. It does not resist its path. It does not resist The Tao or the way. It just is. And even though water is the most humble of things—offering no resistance—it is also the strongest of things. By simply flowing, it is capable of wearing away even the most solid rock.

Rather than trying to be hard all of the time, try being soft like water. Water adapts. It takes many different forms—ice, rain, clouds—and it can take on any shape. Bruce Lee said, If you pour water into a tea kettle, it becomes the tea kettle.

Be soft (and strong) like water. This flexibility will bring happiness.

Surrender. Many people spend their lives seeking happiness. This is a fruitless quest. We can not seek happiness. We must live it.

You can spend your entire life searching for happiness, but you will never find it. You can search for the “right” house, car, clothing, jewelry, job, and mate but still you will not find happiness. The only path to happiness is to live a good life. When you learn to align your thoughts with your words and your words with your actions, that will lead to happiness, no searching necessary.

Think, speak, and act happiness. Live happiness. Be happiness. Stop searching. Surrender.

Comments (2)

  • Mark

    July 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    love this reminder: 3 beautiful Ssssssssss. Reminds me of Sarah Maclachlan music from the 90s. I loved it but was too coolfor slow, soft, or surrender.

    I love that Canadian lady and I love your writing.


    1. Dena

      July 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      I know exactly which Sarah album you are speaking of. I LOVE it. In fact, I just bought it in iTunes a couple of weeks ago. Thank you so much for your kind words, Mark. Grateful to know that my spouting resonated. <3

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