Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.


Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.

Nov 6, 2020


Election night was hard. The day after was hard. Today feels better. Today feels hopeful.

After this election and after these past 4 years so much has been revealed. It is hard to imagine how we move forward together. This nation has always been divided. And that division has everything to do with race. We have yet to reckon with our past. We have yet to look at how our history has shaped us. 

As Ibram X. Kendi tweeted this week,

“Americans are deeply divided--and we’re deeply divided over why we are divided. To  be antiracist is to recognize and challenge racism as the source of the racial divide. To be racist is to deny racism and frame those challenging racism as the source of the racial divide.”

I invite you to do the necessary inquiry to see where you stand here. If you are committed to be antiracist (a verb, not a noun) it will require work, risk and courage. This will be different for each of us depending on our social location, our roles, and relationships. 

I woke up on Wednesday morning (the day after the election) feeling angry and sad. So I went for a run. It's what I do when I need to move anger out of my body. It's one way I process it. I opened my podcasts and listened to Unlocking Us with Brené Brown and she was talking about strong backs, soft fronts, wild hearts. [This is based on her book Braving the Wilderness.]

It was just what I needed.

As we move forward we are going to need both courage and vulnerability. It will require us to stand up for what is right, even when it means risking a sense of belonging. This is scary. This is hard. This is necessary. 

Strong back.

Focusing first on developing the courage muscle and strengthening our back. Letting go of what others think. No more perfectionism. No more proving, pretending and pleasing. 


  • We learn to live with integrity and practice our values, especially when it feels uncomfortable or hard.
  • We set, hold and respect boundaries. We choose to be our full self without fear of disappointing people. We let go of the need to be liked. 
  • We step up, hold ourselves accountable, take responsibility and repair when we harm others.
  • We cultivate self-love and self-respect. We choose to belong to ourselves. 
  • Stand up for what you believe in your gut to be true. Stand up and speak up for what you believe is right. 

"True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are." --Brené Brown

Soft front.

It is not uncommon to have a strong back and an armored or defended front. Because having a soft front is vulnerable and many of us have been taught that vulnerability is weakness. But, as Brene reminds us ‘vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, trust, intimacy, courage--everything that brings meaning to our life.’

When we are stuck in fear, or stuck in our ego self it can sound really good, and necessary, to armor up. But, in the end this causes so much more pain. When we allow others to take away our ability to feel, to fall, to be messy or when we allow others to fill us with their hate we give up so much of who we are. We become ineffective in our ability to make meaningful change in the world. 

We cannot allow ourselves to give up our soft front. It will steal our joy. 

Wild heart. 

The ability to hold paradox. It's the both...and.

  • tough and tender
  • brave and afraid
  • excited and scared
  • fierce and kind

It's showing up in both our vulnerability and our courage. 

"A wild heart can straddle the tension of staying awake to the struggle in the world, for fighting for justice and peace while also cultivating its own moments of joy."--Brené Brown

Our yoga practice gives us the tools to hold this paradox. It helps us build resilience and the skills to cope with the discomfort of the both...and. A heart made of love and and a back made of courage. 

Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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