The water in Bermuda was a blue-green aqua, a color I’ve never seen in person before. At 78.2 degrees, it was deliciously comfortable. Walking in, there was an influx of small and large waves, each stirring up corral sand and salty air. The waves would crash at my feet and legs and I could feel the pull and push of the water as it left me to greet the shoreline. Sinking my feet deep into the ocean-bottom sand, it was a neat sensation to be a part of this cresting and crashing process. Back and forth the waves pulled and pushed my body out of balance. Splashing me about, it was nothing was personal to me... it was just part of the ocean’s life. Dropping my awareness to being completely open to sensation, the connection began to feel intimate and very real as I let myself “be the ocean”, pulsating in the fact that I am 75% water.
Moving further out, the ocean was a bit more forceful. Waves crashed with greater energy and I needed to constantly re-balance myself against the varying turbulence. Some waves that came in were five feet over my head!! If my resistance against them wasn’t sufficient, I was swept away towards shore, knocked down and tumbling uncontrollably like a paper doll. Yes, a few giggles but also a lot of OMGs! Trying to stop the wave from crashing into me was futile, my hands and body not able to block the powerful volume of water. Walking out towards the waves, more “biffing”. “This is how it’s going to be if I want to continue standing here” came to mind, acknowledging that my resistance wasn’t helpful. Hmmm.... How many times do we stay in a situation even though we’re being pushing and pulled around?
Easing up and switching my view to see that the ocean and I were playing together, lots of laughter and amusement arrived, even as I continued to be tossed about. Funny how releasing that mental tension made it fun, less restrictive, and more adventurous. Letting life flow in the moment worked much better.
Once I was able to move past the initial 20 feet of wave-crashing, things got a bit smoother. No longer tossed like a paper doll, I could ride the waves and flow with the motion. The waves were still big but much easier to navigate. Many of them continued to be five feet over my head but now I thought of them as exciting... like a roller coaster ride at an amusement park. I had a blow-up tube so lots and lots of fun riding the waves and trying to get out in front of the biggest ones. For a person who normally wouldn’t stick more than hip-height into the ocean, this was a great joy! I think being able to see the ocean bottom through the clear water was a huge help. It’s easier to let go of some fears when we are in a safer environment. Another reason why good and trusted friends are so important in your life.
Being totally present, allowing all my senses to experience the water, gave me such a sense of earthly connection. Everything that I am was right there! The world stopped except for what was taking place in that space and time. The only thing to do was to be in the water with the waves, the waves that are filled with clouds, and to notice the aliveness that was present. There was no desire to be doing anything else. There was no resistance to what was showing up... just lots of flow.
The ocean begs a few reflective questions: With so much in motion all the time, how do you ride the waves in your life? What circumstances sweep you away or create resistance? What thoughts, emotions, desires, or attachments have you caught in their grip, challenging your progress to a more peaceful place? Can you walk out a little further into the depths, past your fears, and gain the fortune of flow? And if not, what do you need in order to do so?
As you ask these questions, it’s really important to do so with a kind and loving heart, to create that space for clarity, to let go of judgments of how things are versus how you wish them to be, and to embrace your life in this moment, seeing all the possibilities available... as many as there are steps or waves.
Bidding you the greatest joys and peace,
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach