Foreword by yung pueblo
At every age since love was a possibility, there have been thoughts unspoken, mysteries revealed only in solitary silence, empty moments becoming holy within me. These are the times to practice softening.
This book is a journey of forgetting and remembering that.
Softening Time is a powerful work of art that asks us to slow down, land, and open.
It is a gift to read this collection during a season of transformation, to immerse myself in the nourishing power of these words. Elena Brower is a true artist who uses the depth of her spiritual practice to serve humanity. Her poetry is some of my personal favorite, not only because of its beauty and wisdom, but because, when I read it, I can feel the power of her experience.
-yung pueblo, author of Lighter, Inward and Clarity and Connection
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Softening Time: Circle of Wonder
Healing with Tracee Stanley
Tracee Stanley is the author of the bestselling book Radiant Rest: Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation and Awakened Clarity and the forthcoming The Luminous Self: Sacred Yogic Practices & Rituals to Remember Who You Are, coming October 2023 with Shambhala Publications.
She is the founder of Empowered Life Circle, a sacred community and portal of practices, rituals, and Tantric teachings inspired by more than 20 years of study in Sri Vidya Tantra and the teachings of the Himalayan Masters. As a post-lineage teacher, Tracee is devoted to sharing the wisdom of yoga nidra, rest, meditation, self-inquiry, nature as a teacher, and ancestor reverence. Tracee is gifted in illuminating the magic and power found in liminal space, weaving devotion and practice into daily life.
traceestanley.com | Instagram @tracee_stanley
Presence with Octavia Raheem
Octavia Raheem is a wife, mother and author of two books Pause, Rest, Be and Gather. She is a rest coach, chief executive daydreaming officer, and yoga educator. Octavia is also the founder of Devoted to Rest, an immersive course for Black Women and Women of Color, as well as Starshine & Clay Online Yoga and Meditation Studio for Black Women and Women of Color.
The foundation of Octavia’s rest work is Black Church (rooted in the South USA), restorative yoga, Yoga Nidra, and meditation. Her deepest offerings lead driven, ambitious, visionary, and highly impactful women to awaken the fullness of their wisdom, power, and clarity through rest.
Octavia has over 20 years of experience and well over 10,000 hours of designing and delivering classes, restshops, workshops, immersions, and trainings that transform, heal, and restore individuals and organizations. Her academic background encompasses English Literature, creative writing, middle grades education and 10+ years developing curricula for innovative learning and teaching Language Arts in K-12 settings.
octaviaraheem.com | Instagram @octaviaraheem
Practice with Dani Shapiro
Dani Shapiro is the author of eleven books, and the host and creator of the hit podcast Family Secrets. Her most recent novel, Signal Fires, was named a best book of 2022 by Time Magazine, Washington Post, Amazon, and others, and is a national bestseller.
Her most recent memoir, Inheritance, was an instant New York Times Bestseller, and named a best book of 2019 by Elle, Vanity Fair, Wired, and Real Simple. Both Signal Fires and Inheritance were winners of the National Jewish Book Award. Dani’s work has been published in fourteen languages and she’s currently developing Signal Fires for its television adaptation. Dani’s book on the process and craft of writing, Still Writing, has just been reissued on the occasion of its tenth anniversary. She occasionally teaches workshops and retreats, and is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy.
https://danishapiro.com/ | Instagram @daniwriter
Listening with Chris Ferreiras
Christopher Ferreiras is an author, artist, poet, and educator.
Ferreiras firmly believes in the healing powers of writing, and the capacity of self-expression to liberate all who are willing. With a passion for creativity and self-expression, he serves as a dedicated creative writing facilitator, empowering others to discover and share their unique stories. Through his own insights and musings, he invites audiences to embrace their inner climate, introspect, and find clarity on their own terms.
His work has been recognized by the Chopra Foundation and featured in Andrews McMeel’s Crown Anthologies as well as popular publications such as iD and Nylon magazines. His debut collection of poems, The Sun Underground and All The Colors in Between is available worldwide.
https://chrisferreiras.com | Instagram @itscarus
Reality with Laura McKowen
Laura is the author of the bestselling memoir, We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life and Push Off From Here: Nine Essential Truths to Get You Through Life (and Everything Else).
She has written for The New York Times and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Atlantic, the TODAY show, and more. In 2020, she founded The Luckiest Club, a global sobriety support community.
Laura lives with her daughter and partner on the North Shore of Boston.
lauramckowen.com | Instagram @laura_mckowen
Sunlight whispers through trees at dawn. A breath of wind touches a leaf, again and again. The leaf sways in the breeze, back and forth without resisting the change that is on the way. It breaks from the branch and begins a sacred journey.
It tumbles toward freedom.
It lands on hallowed, fertile, and welcoming ground.
This is the recurring vision that emerges each time I open and read Elena Brower’s collection of poetry, Softening Time.
Reading Softening Time is the experience of being whispered to, held, and gently swayed until at last, I let go and fall toward freedom.
Softening Time is indeed soft ground to land upon during rigid and hard times. Times that call for our relationship to the gentle and supple to expand.
To be truly strong, is to be in a relationship with softness. Each page of Softening Time is steady potent medicine that strengthens us beyond marrow and bone through to heart and soul.
-Octavia F. Raheem Author of award winning + best selling Pause, Rest, Be & Gather
FROM ELENA: Attribution Omission Apology
Omission, my error, on p. 80. With my deep apologies, I acknowledge with great gratitude Kim Krans' book and work of art, Blossoms and Bones, from which lines of this piece are excerpted. Her book has been a force for healing for me since it came out, and I completely overlooked my handwritten note to attribute three lines in this piece to Kim and her incredible work.
On page 80, with excerpts from Blossoms and Bones: Drawing a Life Back Together, Kim Krans (New York, NY: Harper One, 2020). Those words are bolded and italicized, below.
mother of all things
To the Mother of all things
May I feel fully the fullness that is you that is me
that is all
May my brokenness be broken open
May I trust that this existence is Love
May the faces that are not my own fade away
May I digest and absorb the healing medicine of my own inner world
For any future printings of Softening Time, this piece will be replaced by a new piece, entitled "saved up" below:
saved up for this
moment across a table
other side of the world
to not look at you,
to fully hear you instead
(I wonder if you know
how many generations we’re healing)
saved up for this
moment in Kyoto Station
when you take charge of the directions
and I assent;
peculiar blend of bliss and emptiness
saved up for this
moment in the trees
averting my eyes so you don’t
feel any sort of need;
the need I couldn’t tolerate when it was my mother and me
(also for your gentle persuasiveness about the sorbet;
you get mango—I’ll get raspberry)