Learning to Float

I always loved floating, knowing I was totally relaxed and safe on my back in the swimming pool. Later, in the waves of the gentle Indian Ocean, I felt the same boundless freedom and joy, with nothing to hold me back.

When I was older I encountered the Atlantic and the story grew rougher, heavier and more ominous. The sun hid behind dark clouds and was a long time showing itself again. I pushed my way, buffeted by storms and big, fathomless deeps below me, filled with gap-jawed monsters. The depths threatened to swamp my small strokes and to pull me under, salty seawater in my mouth. If I drowned, who would notice out here?

I felt an affinity for other drowning souls, the ones I passed in circles to nowhere. The times we met, we would wave at one another, exchange a joke and carry on swimming.

One evening, just as the sun was setting over the horizon, a small double-oared boat came. I was hauled out of the water into unfamiliar, warm blankets and handed a mug of warm tea. It felt very unusual and I suffered from emotion sickness for a while longer, as my legs, thin and wobbly beneath me, learned the painful art of taking their own weight again, finding strength and standing as tall as I could: I just had to push myself upright and after a few tipsy wobbles, there I was, with the rest of the dry crew.

But I was unused to life on dry land. Like a fish out of water, I missed the wet – the depths of sorrow teeming with slippery, quicksilver life – that felt so real but slithered away out of my grasp. It took a while to accept that rooted trees were valuable allies in the battles on land. To learn to look up and enjoy seeing their branches unfolded above me, especially when I noticed colours again. Yellows, oranges and reds became such a cheerful change from my usual blue. The heart pinks that blossomed in the arms of trees in Spring, brought home the value of love and friendship.

I marched forward with the rest of them and worked on smoothing my stride. It grew longer and more confident, though my body remembered going round in circles, feeling familiar slapping eddies that went no-where. As I pushed at sands, they rose in front of me. I struck at roots, at edges and ledges. I pushed past, always searching. I tripped and fell, though I moved forwards, always on the way to somewhere and something else. I hardly know what I was searching for.

I made out lamplight that burned constant and cleanly over the landscape. It brightly promised hope which I reached for, and answers for when I might stop to listen. Always the answers waited, in the piercing brilliance of the light, which gave me hope and courage to keep searching when evening came and darkness fell. With each declaration of strength, “I am strong. I am powerful. I am peace” my light shone brighter. The ripples these beliefs sent out – first resistance, then acceptance led me forward to a different knowing.

Each statement we make is like the arrow shot over the bows of our “difficulties” and landing in the soil of our fruitful future. It is our soul task, to flex our muscles and state benign beliefs strongly. As we move, we select and refine our choices. That we can do, seeing our choices all around us, after familiar eddies of disbelief come and go.

Regardless of which sea we swim in, we can learn to float again on the currents of our desire. Learning to float again, we do not need all the answers. We only need to decide what we choose, and the rest will come, so long as we can wait peacefully. A peaceful life is a happy life. A contented life is one that accepts. Accepting what we are, what we have and what we desire, we are in a state of allowing, and All comes to us in the best way it can.


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