Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

‘I used to be afraid of being… viewed as “soft”. How could I be tender in the liberated sense, and be strong and safe? How could I meet disrespect or disregard with tenderness? How could I trust it? How can I be tender when there is war?

How can I not be tender when there is war? When I contemplated being tender in this way, I realized at it did not equal quiescence. It did not mean that fiery emotions would disappear. It did not render it acceptable that anyone could hurt or abuse life. Tenderness does not erase the inequalities we face in our relative and tangible world. I am not encouraging a spiritual bypass of the palpable feelings the we experience… I say that complete tenderness is an experience of life that trusts the fluidity of our life energy and its extension into those around us. On the way of tenderness we allow rage and anger to flow in and out again, in and out again, instead of holding on to it as proof of being human. We can let go of stockpiling out rage for fear that our suffering might go unrecognized or that we’ll appear apathetic or naive.’ (The Way of Tenderness)

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