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  • Writer's pictureLauren L. Murphy

Thin Space No. 56: Invite Softness

The Question

In what ways do your grief and anxiety radiate?


The Intention



The Meditative Moment

Grieving and being anxious affect more than just one part of our lives. They spill into our relationships with family, spouses, children, friends, and coworkers; they affect how we eat and drink; they impact our movement and our mental function. Often a physical injury radiates to other parts of the body. Maybe your knee hurts so it affects how you walk: this means your hips get wonky, which makes your low back offset, which affects your shoulders, which tightens your neck, which might give you a headache. Try this small exercise to see how softening can make small shifts with significant effects. Notice your jaw. Is it clenched? Put some space between your teeth. Allow your tongue to rest gently in your mouth, the tip of it gently touching the roof of the mouth. Now notice the muscles around your nose. Are they crinkled? As you exhale, soften those muscles around your nose. If this is hard to do, wrinkle your nose and then release. Notice how this softening—of both the nose and jaw—has loosened the tension in your neck. Inhale and notice if the air hits the back of your throat. Does that feel different from how you normally breathe? Do you feel more or less open? Is there anywhere else you can invite softness to radiate?

Waves crashing

Originally sent September 25, 2023, to paid Substack subscribers. If you want to receive current Thin Space reflections, you can start a paid subscription here: You can choose to pay $75/year or $8/month.

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