Some days we’re sailing along on smooth waters. Some days the water’s a little choppy. And then there are days (or weeks!) when it feels like we’re at sea in a typhoon.
This past week has been a bit like that– just one thing after another and none of them immediately resolvable. But I like to remember the wise words of a surfing friend: When the big one’s coming at you, head right into it!
Not that it’s easy to do. “Heading right into it” can sometimes be even more terrifying than the monster wave itself. But to continue with the surfing motif, if we turn tail– or even turn broadside– we’re liable to be dashed on the rocks and seriously wounded. Facing the wave not only gives us the opportunity to see what’s coming at us but also allows us to present the least vulnerable aspect of ourselves to that tower of water.
So how do we do this? We face the incoming wave, take a good hard look. Is it as big as it seems? Is it as potentially lethal as we think it is? Is it really unavoidable or can we paddle around it? And if not, what’s going to be the quickest, safest way to move through it, get behind it, and wait for the next wave– the one we can ride in to shore?
Confidence seems to be part of the answer. After all, we’ve survived big waves before with only a few scrapes and bruises. Why not this one now? And help is always available if we remember to ask. (I sometimes wonder how many, ancestors, guides, and guardian spirits have followed me through life, shaking their heads at my crazy decisions, but loyal to the end!)
This past week, faced with yet one more daunting challenge and beginning to actually feel sorry for myself, I suddenly thought, Hey– what if this particular challenge means something different? NOT that I won’t be able to handle it, that I don’t have the resources, but that I actually DO have them and WILL manage? What if it’s a hint that the very near future is going to bring me exactly what I need to deal with this? A sort of “pay to play” concept!
It was a Kairos moment– a point in time when one train of thought suddenly collides with another completely opposite one. I was so surprised I forgot about feeling overwhelmed and hurried out to the kitchen to share the good news with Lew.
Often when we ask for help we expect the burning bush and ethereal voices telling us exactly how to proceed. “Thou shalt (or shalt not)… etc.” (Truth be told, I’ve yet to encounter a burning bush. But more times than I can remember there have been interventions similar to this recent one.)
As I look back over this event I realize that a key ingredient of successful “surfing” is the inner knowledge that we deserve the help we ask for. We deserve a good and fulfilling life. We are not here on the planet to be punished for past misdeeds, to suffer for our own “mistakes,” or to take on the burden of others. We are here to laugh and to love, to eat good food, to appreciate the beauty of flowers, trees, running water, pure radiant air, and all the creatures with whom we share this journey– to be joyful, to LIVE. Life is an opportunity to celebrate all that is beautiful about this world. And strangely enough, when we celebrate (rather than tolerate or even denigrate), more good things begin to happen!
(Photo courtesy of QuinnPuertoEscondido)