Swimming

There is a place in me where, like the dawn, light and darkness meet. Is that true? Am I remembering this, or feeling its truth?

ocean-waves-water-light-warren-keelan-29.jpgI signed up for a spiritual writing course. Not being a joiner, this was a leap of faith. I wanted something to push me, and help me make more sense of the world around me. The exercises in the class pushed me further than I thought there was universe. The lessons, I thought, would be wrapped up after the class was over, but apparently not. It keeps insinuating itself, even after the last class, which makes me feel like a flayed hunk of flesh washed up on a Mediterranean dock at high noon. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. There was a whole swimming experience that I enjoyed while doing the writing exercises, before my beached carcass appearance.

 

This writing sends me flailing in to the beautiful, sparkly sea, but during one of my soul-searching swims, I have inadvertently gotten pushed in to a riptide. I know I am supposed to go with it. I know I’m supposed to stop fighting it. I’m even telling myself, “Stop fighting it! Just let go!” I am stronger than I think I am and fight myself harder and harder. It’s because I don’t want to go further out in to the deep water. It’s scary there and I can’t see the bottom. “Trust me! It’s going to be okay,” I hear myself say but the fear is choking the air out of my lungs and my diaphragm is in permanent lockdown. I need air. I need air! I take a deep breath and it only calms the surface waters. I take another breath and it calms further down. The next breath, I am curious if I will feel calmer, still. I do. I feel my mind wanting to mix this feeling with the panic. I breathe. I remember that noticing the breath is one way to come in to presence. Another way is to sense in to the body. I stay with my breathing, knowing that if I have too many choices I will choose none and stay in the panicky area of my mind. My breath holds me in its rapture but I can still see the ocean, or rather sense being in it. I’m floating out. Here I go. I can feel the ocean’s weight, heavier the further out I go with the tide. I can hear the water lapping at itself. I breathe and feel my chest asking for deeper breaths. I take one, and then another. I stay with it, even though I want to write to you something else. I stay breathing here because this is where I need to be right now. I feel the clutching of the things I want to think about, to take me anywhere else where I can control the course of things, and I breathe again, not breathing them away but breathing as if I am alive right this moment, as if I am being born for the first time and breathing my first breath of air, enjoying this being alive while everything else becomes the fleshing out to this bone hard fact. This living is a verb.

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I’m writing to you, dear sweet you, from my heart to yours. And I’m offering you my little orange life vest, if you need it. I know something has thrown you off course, maybe a little or maybe a lot. Life is good, it’s just that something is shoving your face in the murky, foamy water and you can’t see the horizon at the moment. It’s okay. There’s nothing to truly be afraid of. Let go. You will find the horizon again. You will know exactly where to look. Breathe. It will bring you back. But most of all, trust. What you are seeing is part of the goodness, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I’ll be here with you, holding the rope to your buoy. Just grab it to remember that you are not alone.

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