Hot summer days are perfect for standing at the edge of the ocean, watching the waves roll in and out. It can be hypnotic and therapeutic. There is something so calming about the rhythmic, constant ebb and flow of the ocean. Each wave must pull back to make room and space for the next wave to move in and fill the space left behind by the previous one.
We have all seen recent global events where the waves don’t pull back, but rather keep flowing in, in in. It is dangerous, destructive and devastating. Nature needs the continual cycle of ebb and flow for harmonious balance.
This need for ebb and flow is true in our lives as well. However, with our media and celebrity focused culture there is so much focus on the flow, the ever widening and expansive more, more, more that when we naturally experience the ebb, the flowing out and drawing in of our lives that is feels scary, unnatural, unfair, frustrating, etc. We want to run around screaming and yelling, a lot like Chicken Little, “The sky is falling, my life is unfair, my world is falling apart!”
There is little positive attention given to these times in our lives. So often the media either pounces on and attacks someone during this time of their life or they simply move on to focus on someone else who is more in the flow or the expansive phase.
What I’ve noticed in my own life lately is that there is ebb. There are times when things are getting smaller, closer in, less expansive. And those time are natural, needed and safe. I’m learning to look at the areas of my life where the tide is out with a sense of wonder and curiosity. “I wonder what will happen next?”
I know this pulling back is creating space for the next wave to roll in and fill up this area, I’m so curious and excited to see what it will be. For me it gives me deeper gratitude for the wonderful areas of my life, to see the blessings and the gifts that I have and to focus even more deeply on what really matters to me. It allows me to learn the lessons that lead to a better version of myself. When life is always giving more and flowing in it can be all too easy to lose sight of those lessons, like being submerged under water where everything is muted and dulled.
It is good to stand at the edge of your own life and simply watch the places where the tide of you is moving in and out. It is usually moving in different directions in different areas of your life. Perhaps your career has slowed down or changed, but your family life is is harmonious and satisfying. Maybe you’ve just graduated school and don’t know what to do next, but you have more free time to explore your options. Maybe you’ve recently lost a loved one, but your health is perfect.
Like the waves of the ocean, our lives expand and contract. This is neither good nor bad, it just is. Take a moment today to just look with curiosity and wonder at the expansive ocean of your own life, see the ebbs and flows, watch the waves roll in and out. Know that for each ebb, each pulling back, there is something waiting to flow, to move in and fill the space left behind.
Wonder what will happen next…
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