Beware or be aware?
Go back to the first time you were going to swim. Whatever the age the first time you thought of entering the pool or ocean or lake or river — you hesitated — maybe you were too young and you dived in — but you probably took a moment to think about it.
You made sure you went into the shallow area first.
You tested the water — hot or cold? How did it feel?
You waited to see what would happen to the other who went in first.
Doubts assailed you — you wondered would you drown or float? What if you died and no one was there was save you? What if you embarrassed yourself? Could you trust the one saying “jump in, jump in”?
From the edge of the pool or the shoreline it looks all so easy and you think wow! This is really something – these swimmers and surfers they are having a great time — and then your doubts take over and you think you could not swim or surf like them — it must be a gift they have — but every swimmer and surfer will tell you it’s a learned skill.
Some of you might not even want to try because as much as you see the fun — you see the occasional fall and the going under water and coming up choking for breath…and you think, ‘they must be crazy — i’m not going to do that. I prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch, certainly seems safer than to engage’.
Water represents the emotional realm of who we are. We see the ease it holds but then we see the depth it carries with it. Tough life experiences shape our ability to take risks. Some of us create a safety net and we either steer clear of anything that might bring up those dark hidden memories within. Most of these memories carry the trauma of pain of some kind; and who wants to experience pain? So we might just play around but diving in, is where we draw the line. We seek safety in life; one that keeps us safe from experiencing the pain held within. However a true inner journey strips away at that safety net. We know this, we can sense it and so we are nervous and scared. We aren’t sure we want to do it — our mind tells us we won’t get out of it sane or alive. This journey can’t lead us anywhere or do anything good. The doubts cage us in like heavy snow on a driveway. We freeze ourselves to numbness, refusing to thaw to the space that will actually set us free. However you start your journey – whether you dived in or went in gradually or stayed for long on the sidelines till life pushed you in – you will at some point reach the frozen parts that need thawing.
You dip your foot in and out till you are ready to step in. Sometimes somebody pushes you into that pool and you sink in thinking, ’this is it; i’m done — goodbye life’.
Yet somehow you float and find yourself rising to the top — you are still in panic – you begin thrashing you head goes in and out of the water — unable to breathe properly — looking for the ground to stand on or the edge to hold onto…then eventually you do find it and you just sit there shellshocked by whats happened.
Thats how the journey is at times, you try out many things and then you might experience some incredible moments of emotional release or mental breakdowns and you might think you are never going to be ok again — this is just too tough and rough — you are not going to get out. The darkness fills you up and you cannot see how you will breathe through this or come out of this sane again and then one day you do — you rise to the top of that experience and you take your time to gather yourself and as shellshocked as you are you are also freer having gone through it. Continue reading