On Gentleness


So much comes up in silence, even somebody else’s silence. I was struck in an overwhelming manner by Gentleness. Notice, when Ulay approaches the table where Marina is seated. He’s a goodlooking man, dapper and obviously confident. But all of that softens in the second he looks at her and walks up to sit down. And he waits for her to open her eyes, eager anticipation but also vulnerable and hopeful.

Next, I noticed Marina’s reaction. Surprise. Wonder. Excitement. And then pain and love and fondness and memories in an uncontrollable current. The smile on Ulay’s face when she reaches out her hands. The sheer gentleness in his nod, the unmistakable male conditioning of ‘It’s okay, I’m okay’ even in a man used to thinking about and expressing emotion, as an artist. The gentleness, the utter gentleness in each of them and in their meeting.

I think I’ve forgotten to be gentle. There’s a place inside me where I feel what each of them feels but it gets overshadowed by pride, by fear, by arrogance, by wanting to create an impression. And it gets forgotten and lost. But it’s there deep down.

Gentleness brings forth gentleness, is the lesson I’d like to take from this. It’s so scary because it means in some way, promising to be gentle and trusting that the world will be gentle back. That it won’t hurt the tenderest part of you that you offer up to it. Yes.

But gentle has a serenity about it that I haven’t felt as yet. It feels devoid of the trembling that fear brings, the hard grit that the courage to face that fear adds. It just is, itself, whole and pure.

It must start by taking a deep, deep breath. I am.

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