A Soft Place to Fall

Amanda Cass

Amanda Cass

‘I will soothe you and heal you,
I will bring you roses.
I too have been covered with thorns.’  Rumi

Life can be wonderful yet sometimes it can simply be tough. Whether it’s a broken heart, a damaged relationship, work problems, an unexpected illness or a disease that you’ve been battling with for years, there are times when everyone needs a soft place to fall.

As a mother, it’s something that I accept without question for my children.  If they hurt themselves, if they fall-out with a friend, if they didn’t do as well as they had hoped in exam – I’m there to hug, hold and soothe. Then later when we have more time I can reassure them they are not alone and encourage them to put the difficulty behind them and move on.

I do it without hesitation and for as long as required, for the knowledge that I am their soft place to fall is as beneficial to me as it is to them. They are loved unconditionally. They are wanted and needed. And so am I.

‘My heart is as strong as the depth of my scars.’  The Hurt Healer

In an ideal world everyone would grow up feeling secure and safe despite the stormy seasons, but many don’t. I didn’t either. Being abandoned and abused as a child left me searching for anything that would numb the memories and heal the scars. Alcohol became my soft place to fall, or my ‘hurt healer’ as I called it. It worked for a while but soon the drink turned from friend to foe and I was forced to make a choice between ‘addiction and death’ or ‘sobriety and life’.

The thought of losing the security of alcohol and having to join the real world was terrifying. And by that time the depression I had battled with for years had spiralled out of control. Fearful of the real world, my worry was ‘Who’s going to catch me if I fall?”  In reality I was so physically, psychologically and spiritually broken that I was at rock bottom anyway. I’d already fallen, there’d been no one to catch me and I’d never felt so completely and desperately alone.

 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’  Matthew 11:28 NIV

To get up and stay up though I had to find another sanctuary that would fill the void of alcoholism and lift me out of the darkness of my mind. Initially it was through faith that I started to find healing. It offered me a resting place of comfort, and peace. Nothing was required of me except that I stay in the presence of spirit of love. Faith was and is my ultimate and infinite soft place to fall. And even during those times when life seems like a roller-coaster of chaos and disappointment, it never lets me down.

As started on the slow process to self acceptance I began was able to leave behind the need to be critical and judgemental. Instead I choose to view myself with compassion and empathy. And rather than stay trapped in the torment of the past, I decided to forgive the unforgivable.

‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.’  Brené Brown

As I travelled along my journey to recovery I discovered that my vulnerability was no longer my weakness, it was a revelation of my authentic self. So I didn’t have to be confined by my past and I didn’t have to be defined by others. I found the freedom to recreate myself as the person I was meant to be.

But I also discovered that I had a new soft place to fall and that was within me.

Amanda Cass

Amanda Cass

Life will always have ups and downs, celebrations and disappointments, miracle moments and tragedies. So when times are hard make sure that you surround yourself with those who will nurture and care; inspire and encourage. Whether it’s faith, family, friends or from inside your soul, it’s always good to have a soft place to fall.

Where’s yours?

‘Smile, breathe and go slowly.’  Thich Nhat Hanh


Huge thanks to Amanda Cass for allowing me to use her beautiful artwork  (May not be reproduced in any form without her permission.) Take a look at her other work here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/theartoflove

41 thoughts on “A Soft Place to Fall

  1. I had never realised there was a dual meaning to ‘the hurt healer’. While I study in order to become a poetry therapist, I am very conscious that “any poem that has genuine healing in its wings usually commences its medical career the moment it is conceived by promptly curing its creator.” – Robert Haven Schauffler. Poetry itself can be a soft place for me to land. Unlike alcohol, it stands little chance of killing me. I want a cure for diabetes now; but acceptance may be a prerequisite. Maybe healing myself is beyond my power; but maybe I need to be fierce with my determination. Sometimes I, too, cradle myself amongst the thrift-covered cliffs of the Avon Gorge and breathe in the sky.

    • I love your thinking Katrina and using poetry as a soft place to land is a great example of finding that element in our lives which can soothe and comfort. Keep focusing on your healing for diabetes. Of course you may be completely cured (although I’m a great believer in ‘never say never’) but you have an inner strength that will aid the medical treatments.
      What a beautiful picture you paint of the Avon Gorge and the idea that you can ‘breathe in the sky’ is inspiring.

  2. Reading this I thought of our leaders who are urging us into war with Iran… they need this. They need something comforting, a place to relax and think it over. 🙂

  3. Thank you Carolyn, there is such beauty inside of you, you light up my life! I also love Amanda’s artwork.

  4. I loved your story of how you will always be there for your children. Like you, I never felt such support as a child. But I too have found that having my own children (and grandchildren) has taught me the eternal beauty of unconditional love.
    For myself, Nature is my soft place to fall. In the garden, romping with my horse on a beach, or hiking in the Sierras. There….I nurture myself with acceptance, release judgment of others, and find peace in the present moment.

    • Thank you for sharing your own soft place to fall. Being surrounded by natural beauty is a great way to get in touch with your inner peace, and I’m so glad you have found yours.

  5. Bless you for sharing and letting us into your world of faith and how it has effected your life giving you the hope and comfort so many yearn for.

  6. Wow, great, brutally honest, and insightful post!!! I’m so glad you made the journey back from the dark side and found a soft place to fall within yourself. Hugs and blessings, Natalie 🙂

  7. This is something I’ve been trying to teach my granddaughter – that we have a safe place inside of us – a place where we can be secure and happy no matter what else is happening.

    It took me my whole life to realize the Kingdom of God is within me, to discover that other people’s words and actions don’t have to impact me unless I wish. I’m going to introduce another survivor of childhood abuse to you… I’m so glad you are here, Carolyn… your gentle voice and experience are just what so many of us need! Thank you 🙂

  8. Carolyn, I hope you always remember your soft place to fall, and I agree, you definitely found it within. You have a calling on your life that you only discovered once God healed your broken pieces, and that calling includes you sharing your journey and inspiring others along the way. You truly are a remarkable woman and I’m so proud of all you have overcome, sending much love your way x

  9. **As I travelled along my journey to recovery I discovered that my vulnerability was no longer my weakness, it was a revelation of my authentic self**

    beautiful, insightful post, Carolyn.

    When I feel I cannot take another day, I pretend I’m in God’s arms and He’s stroking my hair. I believe He is.

    LUV u.

  10. You are such a great mother, Carolyn.You understood your role perfectly,even though your parents were also abusive. That’s what a real mother should do:hug, hold and soothe, not criticize and hurt.It’s trully amazing how survivors of abuse are able to parent so well,when they didn’t have a role-model.
    My soft place to fall is faith in God and in myself.Self-acceptance helped me never doubt myself nor my intuition.When i feel overwhelmed, i turn to God. He is my inner power.He gives me strength to overcome everything.

    • Thank you Laura for your kind comments. I love that your faith helps you not to doubt yourself or your intuition. That ability to trust your gut feeling is something that I believe survivors of abuse are particularly good at. Hold on to your inner power. He loves you and will never leave you.

  11. Carolyn, after the loss of a close family friend yesterday….your thoughts and their message provide a soft place to land…thanks for the spiritual hug my sister…hugs and blessings to you always! What you share is always so meaningful and important!

  12. ‘I discovered that my vulnerability was no longer my weakness, it was a revelation of my authentic self’ – what an arresting statement, Carolyn, especially when you then go on to talk about finding the new soft place within yourself. My soft place was, and is still, faith – and through faith in God, faith in myself and other people. Lovely post 🙂

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