Oh the seas of life can be turbulent at times…Just when you think it’s smooth sailing, along comes a rogue wave that tosses you overboard. How to stay afloat – that is the question. Sinking to the bottom is not even an option in my book, but treading water is hard and exhausting and depleting. Thrashing around (in body, mind, and emotions) uses up so much energy, but you keep doing it thinking it’s the way to keep your head above water, when really it just makes the struggle more difficult. So perhaps the answer is to simply lean back, turn your face to the sky and take a breath…and allow yourself to bob and weave with the waves. Go with the proverbial flow…

I attended a conference years ago where Rick Hansen was the key-note speaker. As he spoke from his wheelchair on the stage, he recounted his experience of traversing the Great Wall of China. He talked about meeting obstacles…this surely was a man who had many hurdles to overcome. I’ll never forget his advice – he said your choices upon meeting an obstacle are to turn around and run away; to try to climb over/under/around it; or to just plain barrel right through it. Sometimes you need to go right into the heart of what is in your way, deal with it, and (sometimes painfully and at a snail’s pace) find the strength to move forward in the midst of it all. Wise words from someone who, like many others, had the wind knocked from his sails too soon, yet continued to navigate through the currents of his life with vision and purpose.

So after being knocked off the boat, thrashing a bit (well…more like freaking out…) then hearing the voice say “calm down”, you can float for awhile; let things be. One might then regain the energy to get back on the ship. As the captain of your own vessel, your task is to guide it around or through the obstacles with care, mindfulness, and compassion, but you can’t do that unless you are willing to jump right back into the driver’s seat, with a calm mind and open heart. What helps me get back on the boat is sitting quietly in meditation, letting my mind do all of its crazy stuff until the waves settle down, and the storm subsides, Then I can take a breath, grab the wheel and sail to shore. With my feet on solid ground, I can move forward with a little more resolve, a little more strength, and a better perspective.

Read this however you like…metaphors and analogies and maybe good advice…


1 Comment

  1. Glynis said,

    October 11, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I am floating and breathing:)

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