Whenever I feel disconnected, I often look to nature for inspiration. Today as I spent some inward time trying to figure out things happening (or not) in my life, I noticed a large tree whose leaves were swaying in the wind. Something about that gentle sway was comforting. It reminded me of other things that have a similar effect: waves lapping the shore, the wind whispering over a wheat field, the rise, and fall of a sleeping baby's chest. They all have an unending rhythmic motion that is the stuff of life: in and out, up and down, ebb and flow, contract and release, inhale and exhale. Unstopping.
Even better than imagining the waves, I love floating on them. There is nothing that makes me feel more peaceful than relaxing on a blow-up air mattress and bobbing in the waves or rocking gently in a boat on a lake. In those moments, I completely surrender and allow myself to be moved by the unseen forces. There is no fighting or struggle just a knowing trust and the feeling of being cradled and safe. But try to resist those forces or alter the rhythm and "BAM" the struggle begins. It is exhausting to stand waist deep in the ocean and fight against the waves. Try to stop the inhale/exhale of my breath - quickly I fail in that effort. Stopping the wind - impossible. It would appear crazy to try to avoid these forces- right?
Ever heard they term "waves of emotion"? I now see them as forces/emotions that roll over me and they are unstoppable - just like water, wind or breath. Yet I have tried for years to resist the painful ones. I ignore them, deny them, I medicate them, I explain them away. If they are pleasant, I cling to them, try to save them, hold them, and recreate them. Controlling these emotions is as impossible as stopping the wind, the waves or my breath.
The lesson I am learning now is to ride them. Enjoy them if they are pleasant. Experience them fully, revel in the pleasure, and then, let them go. If they are painful, acknowledged them, sob through them, sit with them, and then, let them go. The more I cling to the memory of the pleasant ones or avoid the reality of the painful ones, the greater the pain and the longer I struggle.
I am very visual and it helps me to imagine myself holding back an enormous wave of painful memories/situations/stuff; those things that I didn't deal with or acknowledge as well as those things I cling to out of fear of forgetting. The wave grows and grows. It is huge and the amount of effort it takes to keep it at bay is exhausting. I am learning I need to just ride it out. I get that backlog may take a while to wade through. I can’t be sorry I didn’t have the insight then that I have now. The timing is what it is. But now, as new situations occur, I am trying to just ride them out. Let them occur. Acknowledge them for what they are. Let them wash over me and let them go. It is so much easier and it becomes fleeting.
In simple terms, it is turning to face my fears/weaknesses/set backs. I now learn and then teach my kids coping skills for the waves they will experience. The understanding that I am no longer contributing to my giant "wave bank" is a good feeling. Over time I am riding some old waves and letting them go one at a time. Whew!
We all face challenges daily. For me it is diabetes, motherhood, wifedom, career (or lack thereof for now), my aging body, my distant (in miles) family, the desire to make things orderly, my burried past, and my unfolding acceptance of where I am on my journey. So I am trying everyday to relax into each breath, each wave, each breeze, and each gift I recieve from Mother Earth/God/Universe. I see my journey now is to be grateful for the waves, not to control or stop them.
And yes, those last words are from a former control freak who learning to accept what is.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Consider yourself hugged.
**Please consider sharing if this makes sense for someone you know. I love feed back! Comments are super!