~ Tenderness ~
Here is one of my Keys to Paradise, as described in my book: "The Call for Divine Mothering":
A gentle stroke over your cheek, the feel of a fluffy bunny’s fur or the soft muzzle of a horse that wants to connect and love you simply out of its natural state of being, it’s the touch of tenderness.
To be tender is to choose an approach that is one of the most important feminine qualities. It is taking things like consideration, care and compassion into action and perform a service to another person while being gentle and careful when we do. It is to stop and breathe before we react or act and from the sweetness we can feel for another person or animal, just like a mother can do for a newborn, we provide our care with tenderness.
The tender touch is also at its most powerful when we wish to touch someone’s heart through our art, whether it be a piece of music, song, dance or a painting. When we create something that we put our heart and soul into, something we feel passionately about whether it is a common cause or our own findings with the desire to share its powerful message, inspired by divine intervention, experience or teaching by someone close or a serendipitous stranger, when we create it with tenderness, it will transpire through our art and touch the audience.
During my teenage-years I spent much time in the horse-stable at the local riding club in Eslöv, Sweden, where I both worked with cleaning boxes, feeding and letting some 20 horses in and out of their pastures, became president of the youth section and competed in dressage and jumping with my favorite white ponies called Petter and Liberty. I was learning from the only guy in the stables; Henrik, who all the girls secretly had a crush on, myself included (He later became a professional rider in Germany). Especially the horse Petter and I bonded like you can see commonly portrayed in the movies, coming to greet me simply of recognizing my scent and voice. He also threw me off bucking regularly when he became bored, increasing his disobedience the more skilled the rider was, including testing our instructor. I learned to whisper in Petter’s ear to be nice to me before I mounted and he would turn his head and sniff at my boots to see who would be on his back, and for me to check which mood he was in. Instead though, he was often very cautious whenever a handicapped person was put on his back and walked around, never bocking then.
Watching a horse’s ears is a sure way to see what kind of mood it’s in and thereby we can learn how to interact both on its back and on the ground. Having a piece of apple in the pocket is of course also a good bribe. I braided his mane and brushed him neatly, then slept over with a couple of girlfriends in the big house on the premises to be ready early for the competition the next day. We were soon called an item.
One day when it was a hot summer and we were soon to take down all the horses through the woods to a bigger pasture bareback to set them free over the summer months, I decided to sneak under the electric wire fence to pet Petter. Normally our riding instructor didn’t allow or approve of us going inside because it was supposed to be the horses’ free time and to not become caught among them running around free. He did step on my foot once, with a crooked toenail I still have a as a memory, however I doubt that he realized where he had his hoof at the time.
Anyway, that afternoon a couple of the horses including him were laying down on the greens. Kerstin, our instructor, saw it, gave me a look and then let it be with a go ahead. I approached my favorite white pony Petter with tenderness and they all remained laying down resting in the afternoon sun. I went up to his head and he put it into my lap and we just sat there for an hour while I shared my problems and upsets from home, slowly stroking him over his head feeling his warm breath and receiving his unconditional love in return. In the winter it would also be the way he would warm my frozen fingers with his breath, after allowing him to find a piece of apple or carrot in one of the big pockets in my overcoat, that he nudged his soft muzzle into. Or like one day when we were out riding, he would go really close to a pine tree full of snow, stop, bite hold of a branch with his mouth and rock it back and forth without eating just to have the snow fall over me, just for fun to cheer me up.
When I grew older, I grew a liking to his half-breed brother Liberty who was one of those horses who would simply take the reins himself and go full force through the woods when he wanted to, but still very sure on his hoofs knowing exactly his way around the bushes, trees and ditches. At a summer camp when we were about to have our final day with a jumping competition, he had been running too fast over the obstacles and I was told, I would have to change horse unless I kept better control. I had no idea how to, because some 500 kilos aren’t that easy to control, but I whispered in his ear that perhaps I wouldn’t be allowed to ride him if he didn’t slow down. The day after we came in second place, showing off like a professional team closely knitted together, in perfect tempo and jump offs which had everyone agasp, me too.
All it takes is a whisper with tenderness.
When you want something from another person, how do you approach it?
Who can you touch today with tenderness?
What can you express with tenderness?