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Hard and Closed vs Soft and Open

May 1, 2012

Pema Chodron said, “We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us.  We always have this choice”.

I thought, blog material!  Because I also thought, why would anyone do that?!  Why purposely set myself up to feel what I am afraid to feel?

When I sincerely asked the question, here’s what I got.  I bother because when I don’t, when I stay small in resentment or fear, I am disconnected from the best, most vibrant parts of myself.

Over the years fear has kept me from doing so many things that call me.  And I suspect that will continue to happen, because i don’t expect to arrive at a place where I don’t experience fear.

This blog has been an example of opening to what scares me.  I put it off for years, waiting for the stomach-churning fear to leave.  Guess what?  It never did!  And I still experience it, although a bit less, each time I hit ‘publish’.

Here’s the good news about that.  Every time I take a risk and put myself out there, beyond my comfort zone, I win, every single time.  Because even if I write a lemon, I learn from it.  Each time I soften and open up a little more to what scares me, I become a little more of who I really am.

And I’ve noticed other benefits.  I’ve gotten closer to some people I care about, dropped some behaviors that haven’t been serving me, and seen things I’ve never seen before.  My world has expanded and become richer and more inclusive.  I feel a deeper connection with the people and things that matter to me.

So that’s my experience.  How might softening and opening up to what scares you impact you as you move through your day today?  Any risk you’re willing to take that you weren’t willing to take yesterday?


  1. Chris says:

    Another great thought provoking article. Thank you! If you ever write a lemon, I am sure we can make lemonade.
    Keep pushing publish! – Chris

  2. becca says:

    how funny to read about this now. i recently found out i am pregnant, and have been having a lot of physical and mental stress. i was just thinking yesterday how this may be the only time i have this experience, so i can either continue to be closed-off and fearful, or I can open up to the good and bad of it, and make it more pleasant, for the both of us. wish me luck with following through on it!

    • robyn1001 says:

      Oh Becca, thank you for sharing this momentous news. Love your idea about it all. What might happen if you show up excited and curious, without the labels of good and bad. Wow–if there is no resistance, what might the experience look/feel like? I am so excited about this new chapter in your life. Love, Robyn

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