You know that most riptide deaths are not caused by the riptide itself? They are actually caused by the swimmer’s exhaustion as they fight the tide trying to regain their control and sense of safety.
Last week, after a long day on the beach, I was connecting with a girlfriend online around the idea of surrender and allowing when it dawned on me…
This is life at times: A riptide in the ocean.
We dip our toes into Mama Ocean, playing with the idea of jumping in headlong, with the thought of independence and glory and Big Ass Dreams of the moves we’ll make and how cool we’ll be. Then comes the time when we’re finally ready and we dive in (thinking we look like sexy mermaids, of course) feeling happy, excited…feeling the excitement of freedom and exploration as our Big Ass Dreams become Big Ass Plans.
But the ocean sometimes has another idea.
Sometimes it laughs at our mermaid-esque attempts and our Big Ass Plans and it wraps it’s arms around our waist and says “This will be more fun.”
And then it shows us what we really get to see.
And that loss of control, the pull in a deeper direction, feels dangerous. Our natural inclination is to fight against the current, swimming hard toward shore, toward what looks like safety. To regain our authority, our rightfulness, our power. To be the commander of our own direction. To push through the fear, fight the resistance, or force our way forward.
But that’s how deaths happen, you know.
Surrender Saves Lives
They say if you’re caught in a riptide you should do one of two things to save yourself from exhaustion and your ultimate demise.
:: Swim parallel to the shore: Don’t lose sight of your bearings, your safe ground, your desires. But don’t fight for them. Just move yourself out of the chaos by side-stepping it and getting yourself into a new place (a new frame of mind, a new environment, a new idea, a new rhythm). But sometimes that current has other plans and won’t relinquish you that easily, and so your safest bet is to….
:: Lay back and surrender to the flow: The riptide will move you, it will pull you beyond your comfort zone. It will show you things you’ve never had the courage to explore on your own and take you a bit farther than you thought possible. And then the calm will come, as you pass beyond the rush and you can find your way back to solid ground with a new understanding of the power that surrounds you, a new respect for the forces that envelop you and yes, more clarity on your path.
Yes, Life’s been teaching me a lot about surrender, about allowing, about dreaming and actualizing with an openness to Trust.
It’s been helping me to release the tension and the resistance and lay back with my arms spread open and surrender to the flow, or the sunshine, or the sweetness of rest.
It’s been showing me when to DIG IN and focus, and when to let it all go. And it seems a disproportionate amount of it looks like surrender, especially when it comes to juggling three businesses and family connections and spiritual grounding. Surrender to what my heart really aches for, for what my mind really can’t focus on, to the idea of doing jack-shit all day, then staying up “too late” to get three solid, uninterrupted hours of work done.
And here are my frantic efforts to swim against the current: chastising myself for going to bed at 2am and waking up at 10, feeling guilty for too much time working, feeling guilty for too much time playing, stressing over the taxes due and tires that will need replacing soon, the needs of a daily changing son and the upcoming events on my calendar, and my deeper need to escape to the mountains with my nomadic mamas. Thoughts of rudeness as I just can’t find the time to catch up on emails, when I am instead writing in my journal at the beach. The old tapes that play out when I measure my own needs against the needs of others.
And all the while hearing The Ocean, as it allows me to fatigue myself, whispering to my spirit with the words,
“Release. Surrender. Let me take you deep and far beyond your comfort zone and show you what awaits out there. Lay back and let Me carry you. You are safe…but only if you let go.”