A while back, I wrote an article entitled “I don’t mind what happens.” Since creating this piece, I have been faced with a number of unexpected and difficult life situations, as if the universe has been saying to me, “Oh yeah, tough guy? Let’s see if you mind this!” During this time, I have been struggling with the question, “What is the lesson in all of this?” with the operative word being STRUGGLING!
Then, this morning, I likened my current situation to swimming in the ocean among big waves. Waves tend to come in sets… sometimes just a couple waves, and sometimes wave after wave after wave. I have been amidst a long and strong set of big waves of late. Those of you who swim in the ocean or surf know that the best thing to do when a wave pulls you under is to relax and let the powerful currents take you where they will, saving your energy for when you are back on the surface. Then, once oriented above water, you can use your energy constructively; because, it is only upon surfacing that you can see the shore as well as any approaching waves. Struggling underwater wastes precious energy that must be conserved for time above water.
However, to be immersed in the dark and tempestuous sea with no guarantees of where or when she will spew you out can be terrifying. And when you do surface, will it be to have only a moment to gasp for air before another wave pummels you into the depths? Will there even be time to get air? There is no way to know. This is the way life moves. Sometimes the sea is placid and caresses you. At other times she rages and crashes upon you… and eventually, one way or another, she kills you. LOL.
How do we face those times when we are in the dark and don’t know which way is up? What do we do when we don’t know where to turn? Yesterday, when experiencing strong emotional upheaval about my life situation, I found myself reaching out via phone for support. After two calls that were greeted with two voicemail messages, I came to realize that I was running away from my pain. I was running from feeling the depth of the fear that dwelled within me, seeking desperately for someone to offer a soothing salve to heal my wounds. But, the more I ran, the more I fed the fear. The more I resisted, the deeper the cut went. The more I looked outside, the more lost I grew.
So, I stopped. I allowed the pain to be as it was and for the flurry of thoughts to blow through my mind. But, these thoughts and feelings were no longer the focal point. I became still and I observed the flow of breath moving in and out of me. I watched how the air surrounding me became a part of me as I inhaled and how I became a part of everything around me as I exhaled breath into the world. Suddenly, without any effort or grasping, a sense of well-being and peace emerged. At that moment, I realized that all of the reaching outside of myself in a desperate search for comfort and safety had simply been a rehearsal of my fear. I saw how repeatedly sharing my story with others about how each of the waves had enveloped me and how future waves might strike gave a sense of permanence to something that in reality was simply moving water continuously reshaping itself in a never-ending flow.
When I perceive myself as an isolated fragment being tossed about by forces beyond my control, I suffer deeply. However, when I recognize myself to be a part of the One Life that breathes breath into all of creation, I find peace. I find connection. I find love. I am the sea.
Ironically, oftentimes, the journey to find this sense of connection, love and peace is one that we must take alone in silence, with no fanfare, encouragement or reassurance. However, what gives us the strength to survive the time alone in the dark depths of the ocean, is the love, wisdom and guidance of our friends, family and teachers.
You are a source for my strength. By allowing me to share with you through words my journey, you act as a mirror that serves to clarify my own path. Thank you for witnessing my dives into the depths of my own internal sea of thoughts and feelings so that I may resurface to share the treasures discovered while below. I am grateful for you.
Yours in wellness and love,