Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fighting the Tide

Aloha from the beautiful island of Maui! As I said earlier this week, I'm here on a vacation with my mom and niece. We arrived yesterday and are having a fabulous time already!

We got up fairly early today and headed to a wonderful beach. My niece and I swam in the ocean for over 2 hours, while my mom held down the 'fort' (our sheet, lawn chair, and beach gear).

I was amazed at how uncomfortable I felt initially, out in the water. There was a current and a definite high wind that was blowing us down the beach. We had to continually swim back to our starting point, which took a lot of effort. I kept getting hit by waves and ending up with salt water in my mouth. That was unpleasant. Treading water seemed to take a lot of energy. I put on my snorkeling flippers at one point, and that was like learning to walk and swim all over again. Very awkward and tiring.

Then, at some point, something happened. I started to figure out how to relax into my environment. I started to automatically move my body in ways that 'worked' with the water, instead of fighting against it. It was like a revelation to me that I could relax... float... and let the water hold me rather than struggle against the natural rhythm of the waves.

Even in my flippers, I learned that if I moved my legs as though I were running in slow motion, it was almost an effortless way to tread water. It felt great.

The flippers also helped me easily reposition myself when I would drift down the beach. It was much easier than swimming without them.

I also experienced the ultimate relaxation... leaning back into the water and floating. Simply allowing myself to be supported by the water. I didn't have to do a thing except... be there. What a joy. It was the most relaxed I can remember being in quite some time.

What a life lesson that is. How often do we use way more energy than we have to in the living of our lives? How often do we struggle, when all we really need to do is relax into something? How common is it that we resist with all our might, when what is called for is simple surrender? How many times do we feel that we are in danger, or that we need to flail against something, when in actuality that is totally and completely unnecessary? I suspect it is more often than we realize.

My teacher, Dr. Chuck Bruni used to always tell me, "What we resist persists, what we fight against grows stronger." Ain't it the truth!?!?!?

I have several more days here in Hawaii to be taught about relaxing into life and giving up my struggle oriented approach to things. I intend to make use of every precious minute of this invaluable education!

Happy floating!

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