Monday, January 2, 2017

The Ebb and Flow

It keeps coming up for me. I am continually reminded lately how much of this dance of life is going along with the ebb AND the flow. We know about "going with the flow" right?  We know if we mean to be chill, to not stress, to just take it as it comes, we are gonna go with the flow. Going with the flow is kind of easy, like coasting on a bike. You don't have to do much, just put your arms out, lay back, take a breath and let the flow take you.

For some people, going with the flow is torture. Giving up control is the hardest part. They want to direct the flow. Letting it take them for a ride is very very scary. Where will it lead? They can't just willy nilly go with that flow. How do they know that flow is the right one for them? They could end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. They have a plan, and said flow is not part of it.

A few years ago I would have found it difficult. I was beginning to realize control wasn't all it was cracked up to be, but letting go was still really tough. I definitely used to have a plan, or at least would get one together in a jiffy if need be, before I went flowin' anywhere. Thinking back to that version of me, I can actually feel my physical body tighten up. I can feel my breath become shallow. My neck and jaw stiffen. I was rigid and fearful, even though I never would have thought so at the time.

 Anyway back to the ebb and flow stuff. Ebb is defined as 1. The reflux of the tide toward the sea; the flowing back of the tide as the water returns to the sea. 2. A point or condition of decline; a flowing backward or away; a decline or decay.  So the ebb is probably seen as the not so fun and easy part of this whole deal right? Unless you have been practicing, you likely don't just "go with the ebb." The flow might be a little fast or windy, but the ebb is gonna pull you down. It's gonna yank you into the deep.

So why would we want to go with the ebb? Shouldn't we be avoiding the ebb at all costs? The control freaks are like..."okay okay, the flow isn't so bad...I can do the flow..just don't make me face the ebb!" And I use that term in jest, as I was one for a huge part of my life.

I've been in the ebb the last couple of months. Neither the ebb or the flow are necessarily swift. So how do I know I've been in the ebb? I haven't been flowing forward. My creative juices have been kind of still. I've been a little low (partially to blame on a cold gloomy winter when I am a totally solar powered sun worshiper). I've haven't been feeding myself the good stuff consistently. Meaning I haven't been practicing yoga or meditating daily. I haven't been spending enough time in nature. I haven't been creating. I have just kind of been living and sporadically caring for myself.

And as I begin to reach toward the shore now, coming closer to a point of flow, although not quite there yet, I can try to appreciate the ebb. I mean, I don't know that we are meant to be in the flow all the time. We are able to see the goodness in the flow, because we have experienced it's opposite. And, we have to be reminded now and then. Once we are more aware, and able to actually distinguish where we are, we can use that place for it's intended purpose, I can look at that definition of ebb and see some good stuff in it. Flowing backward isn't ideal, but maybe there are some things we need to look at before we continue to move forward. Decay and/or decline doesn't sound fun at all, but maybe there is something that needs to die in order for something new to grow in it's place. Maybe we need to have these times, these ebbs, so that when the tide comes in again, full of life and strength and beauty, we can be ready.

I look forward to the next flow. I feel it gearing up. I am excited to get in there and let it take me for a ride. I will celebrate my time in the flow. I won't take it for granted. I will move forward, and create, and heal, and grow. And when the ebb starts to reach for me again, I will go willingly knowing it too has it's purpose.

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