In dialectical behaviour therapy there is an art exercise where you draw the waves of emotion. We, as humans, often experience the many waves of emotion.
Recently I rode the real waves of the ocean. I was in the Dominican Republic on Bavaro beach. It is a piece of God’s beautiful creation. The sand is white, the beaches wide; the water blue and salty. I love the ocean. It is a wonderful spot where I feel reconnected with the earth. I feel like I am home again.
My bare feet relish in the warm sand. As I enter the water, my feet sink into the wet sand, and the water gushes around my feet. The waves repeatedly splash against me. Once, the waves hit my calves, and then my stomach – what surprise and delight. I go into the ocean with my whole body; I move slowly into the deep water, where I can no longer touch the sand beneath my feet. As I let go, and let the water hold me, I must also release my need to control what happens, but rather move with the water. The waves come and go around me; sometimes splashing into my face, other times feeling the roll of the waves around my body. And as I tread water in the ocean, gently breathing; I feel the ocean – the rock of the earth; Back and forth; gently, and then more quickly; but rocking with the water. It does me no good to fight the waves; to try to stay a distance above the water; or to swim one way or the next to manage the height of the waves; rather, by letting go, I must also feel the rhythm of the water and allow myself to be ready for what it brings.
And this is the reminder to me, as I tread water for minutes in meditation; that I must remember to experience life’s waves of events and emotions in the same way. It does not help to fight the stresses; it does no good to attempt to control every situation in my daily life; however – by relaxing and feeling the rhythm; going with the flow; being aware of what surrounds me – then I am ready for what comes my way – and it does not overtake me.
Later in the week, on my vacation, there was more disturbing weather – the ocean roared and crashed against the beach like an angry, threatening lion. I made an attempt to enter the ocean – but it was too violent. I tried again, and entered the ocean, but within several feet a wave came crashing and pushed me into the sand. I swallowed some saltwater – saved myself with my arms and crawled my way back to the dry sand. Life is sometimes like this as well; Life comes crashing down on us – and we are not ready. It scares us; the events and emotions harm us and we become fearful and unable to enter into life fully again.
How do we learn to use the skills we develop in calm water, to help us deal with more challenging events? Remember the “letting go”; riding the waves? This is the first skill we develop; by adapting, breathing and not giving the crushing events ruling power over us, we learn that we can make choices to avoid the harm, still survive and make it through the events. Secondly, in the calm waves, we learn how to become aware of what is around us and this helps to prepare us for the difficult moments.
The ocean teaches us many things; both metaphorically and literally. Waves can be both calming and threatening. By adapting, and being ready for the waves of life, we can manage and deal effectively in all weather.
Join me in exploring the waves in your life; so that you can build a Blooming Life.