I imagine us all on rafts on open sea.
There are times when the surface is glass and we float as if not floating – as if sprawled out on lawn chairs: stable, still.
And there are times when we rock gently, seeing swells before they reach us, riding their gentle rises, returning back to calm.
And there are times when the waves rise up and pound us. When they come and come and knock us down, wave after wave after wave, and we wonder whether there’s anything BUT waves. Anything but this relentless gasp for rest and breath.
And this sea is so strange, too, since while some of us are sipping cocktails languidly, rafts not ten feet off are thrashing and crashing on stormy sea. Which, when observed by the sippers, can instantly shift THEIR peace into thrashing sea, too.
I’m personally feeling wave after wave of change inside. Some of it is conscious and attached to many implications – for my work, my relationships, my sense of myself. Some of it I’ve yet to understand or name.
And all of it feels beautiful and awkward and important and uncomfortable.
I’m simultaneously observing dear friends and acquaintances and family members pounded by wave after wave of challenge – spiritual, physical, relational, emotional, vocational. Hospital stays and court appearances and children passing and marriages disintegrating and jobs becoming thin air. The lot of it feels apocalyptic, almost. Like What in the world is HAPPENING, people??
My peripheral vision alone is enough to make my heart race.
But then I’m talking and emailing with person after person who is…who are…beautifully blossoming – launching new businesses and websites, stepping out from behind protective walls, shedding unhelpful stories, manifesting dreams.
I received Reiki last week from a woman whose light and peace floored me.
This sea! This crazy, crazy sea. It’s surreal.
And I ask myself: What does trust look like here? What does tending trust from this rocking, unsteady vantage point mean? – this place where I’m awash in salt and spray, and others can barely breathe, and the sun is shining, and the air around is kind and temperate and folks nearby are actually RESTING. Appropriately so. And even I feel capable of doing so sometimes.
I think tending trust from this place is a lot about naming what we see:
I see joy
I see suffering
I see hope and healing
I see sadness and despair
Naming our observations makes them feel less like swirling tornadoes in our hearts and minds and more like unsurprising descriptions of the human condition.
And when it comes to naming what we see inside ourselves, it becomes a form of magic that can shift us, over time, out of stuckness and fear into greater movement, strength, and trust.
If a listening ear might help you in your moves to name such things, I’d love to offer mine.
I think it’s about learning to surrender to the strangeness of this sea – learning to stop resisting and recoiling from its many guises.
Resistance is assuming it should be otherwise – it owes us to be otherwise.
Surrender is taking it as it is, learning to look it in the eye with recognition, no matter how strange and conflictual its current display.
Surrender isn’t about not working for change when we recognize that’s what we want or need to work toward, but about a posture toward life that isn’t scandalized by the darkness and the light of it – that looks at the things we seek to change with a, “yep, this is here and I’m doing something about it” mentality, rather than, “WHAT THE F@%#??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???”
I think tending trust from this place is about finding some small daily ritual that, done consciously, and intentionally, gives our frightened animal-mind/animal-body the comfort of being present to something known and concrete.
A ritual like this isn’t to numb out to the waves crashing in or around us – since numbing out tends not only to perpetuate our inner dis-ease, but also to deaden our capacity for things like wonder, deep healing, and joy – but rather to give us a hand-hold in the midst of the waves, a little buoy to hold onto to catch our next breath.
I think tending trust in times like these is about consciously stepping into a self identity as one-who-learns-to-ride-the-waves-of-challenge-and-change.
Without this conscious move, most of us more naturally, and unconsciously, heed the voices of our egos, which tell us the goal, always, is to get to stasis and then protect that – to “finally settle down”; to arrive at a certain level of healing, income or success; to find a mate or have children and live happily ever after.
There’s nothing wrong with such desires, but having our ultimate goals be to arrive at and protect them is a flashing neon invitation to suffer at the powerful, predictable hands of change.
Finding ways to pursue, love, and appreciate life’s joys and successes while also seeing ourselves as people with the guts and will to learn to ride the waves of challenge and change seems like a balance that trust asks and invites us to find.
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These are all such current practices for me. And aren’t all coming easy. But I sense they’re doing good things.
What moves do YOU make to tend trust when life feels surreal? How do you find equanimity in the midst of its disparities? I’d truly love to know.