Following a conversation with a friend, I thought I would set down some thoughts about softness. These thoughts will no doubt be influenced by the thinking I have done while on my spring retreat, from which I’ve just returned.

Crosby Hall, near Liverpool, to where I retreat from all the crap

Hard men are still out there, still riding fences, still checking their steely gazes in mirrors as they pass. The desperados, the slow-flowing deep waters, the silent watchful cops, the secret agents of fiction – they are still there. Though God knows what they find to do.

What’s the point of all that containment and tension?

When I was a teenager, I was worried I wasn’t hard enough. If I wasn’t Robert Redford I would never get a girlfriend. My eyes were not blue enough, my voice was too high, my chest too unmanly. I would always be the weed who got sand kicked in his face. I got stood up outside the cinema; girls at discos would go to the toilet and not come back. I was seen as a very good friend by them, but that was all.

Crosby Hall stable block, where we sleep and eat

It was the friend thing that saved me, really. I listened, I became softer. I discovered, eventually, that everyone – even a girl – was interesting.

It was then that things felt easy. Receptiveness is soft, and soft is so much more pleasurable. It takes the world into itself, like a hug, and doesn’t feel like it has to push it back. The world can just fill you up!

And now, as I get older, I seem to get softer. I have less and less hard impact on the world. I hit no targets, I seek no fame. I plant trees, I walk slowly, and when I sit I just sit. I am trying to become as small and as quiet as I can be.



The woods at Crosby Hall


About stevehobsonauthor

I am blind, and I hate it. It stinks. But life is still sweet. I have multiple sclerosis, and that stinks too, but life is still sweet. These are my musings.
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