They say that still waters run deep.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what that means exactly.
Here’s what I have come to conclude: Have you ever swam in an ocean when there was turbulence? You can’t see the bottom. Compare that to swimming in a lake, with no tide. You can clearly see all the way to the sand bed below.
Applying this to daily life, I have come to realize that I cannot see things clearly, when things are awry. Being still is an advantageous pursuit. Trying to figure things out when there is confusion, or too much movement, or large amounts of disturbance is a fruitless endeavor.
Stand still, I tell myself. Stop moving, stop making waves. You will never see to the bottom of this if you are kicking up waves.
However my instinct when things go wrong, is to behave like a drowning person—kicking, gasping for air, flailing my arms, seizing up until I’m so exhausted I physically cannot do any more damage.
Like the bones of a ship, stillness brings insight in on her bow.
When these massive vessels are underway, the bow points forward—guiding, leading, always frontward. And if you let her, she will carry you home.
Life is going where it is going. We are the ones who create a shift in the atmosphere. We cause the turbulence. Our irregular motion is what creates little hurricanes in our lives. If we would let her, life would treat us as kings and queens.
If we were to get out of the way, the momentum of life would pull us on her tail over mountains that seem insurmountable on feeble human legs. There is a life force that is bigger than us. We are a part of it, but we are not it. Our lives do not begin and end with us, we are the atoms of life. Each of us individually, causes this world to breathe, to live.
When we choose to exist inside a self created illusion that we are the masters our fate, of our universe, we miss out, and not in small ways, but huge ones. Life is boundless in its ability to transform us. It is ceaseless, it is unremitting, it has no notion of limitation, and breathes without borders. It does not see only us on the horizon, but sees the entire expansive universe of possibility.
There is a tremble that happens when the earth beneath you starts to shift. But is in that shaky place, where courage is born. Usually the rearranging is done to our advantage. All will be well, if we let it shake out the way it needs to. After having been through these quakes before, your legs will be stronger and easier able to endure the next cracking beneath the surface.
You will easier be able to find your center, your core will be stronger, and you will feel it holding you steady when life starts to shift.
Trust is born in these moments.
It is born when we realize that undergoing alteration or transformation is risky, but that the outcome is grand. It is born when we view these experiences from the end back to the beginning, and can see that it was all being worked out for the greater good. These little storms leave behind minimal damage, and heaps of twigs from which we can form a nest. Life is born inside of these nests.
In them, the young are waiting.
Out of them arise newly formed versions of ourselves that have been waiting to take flight. And you will see that your rapid growth and development, was supported only by the home that was created from the aftermath of the storm—your nest built from the broken stuff.
It is the constant flow of life, that breaks the icy shell resistant to change. Our hearts need to live in wide open spaces, large expansive fields that are supple and ready for planting. The wind of life blows seedlings into these fields, and if we are aware, we will tend to them. We will nurture them, and they will repay us ten times over.
They say that the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the insides of most churches.
Too often we wait until there is an hour of crisis, to ask of life what we want her to give. We wait until we are broken, and hurting, and desperate for something to take the pain away, before we send up a whisper, a cry…before we blow the whistle and say enough is enough.
Here is my dare—to myself, to you—don’t wait until the hour of reckoning. Tell life what you want, while you still have the ability to accept it. Don’t wait until the clock strikes midnight, to offer up a plea. Let the world be like the inside of those hospital walls, and talk to God.
Sing to him, to the universe, the song of your heart. Find that sense of urgency that the dying have now, while you are young and bright and beautiful.
Be bold and be brave, and wander.
Go down paths that look scary, I promise you the monsters waiting there will not be as big as you imagine. I know, because I’ve faced some of mine in dark alleys of the soul, late at night, and up close they are not nearly as frightening as what I imagined. Look them in the eye and call them by name. Refuse to be frightened by their imagined presence any longer.
Rinse your hair in the stream of life. Have a loose stance on supple soil. Get a firm grip on the wind of change, and go along for the ride.
Bring a friend.
They will thank you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Dana Gornall / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo Credit: trialsanderrors/Flickr