“Apart from love, everything passes away.” ~Rumi
I recently jumped off the back of a boat and into the ocean. (There I am, the closest swimmer to the camera, trying to keep my head above water, clinging to the rope.)
While this may not seem like something to write home about, for me, upon reflection, it represented six fundamental things:
1. Overcoming fear
As a general rule, I don’t like big bodies of water, let alone the Atlantic Ocean. I think I drowned in a past life. I’m not a very strong swimmer to boot and usually rely on the security of a life jacket. Under the close supervision of stronger swimmers, I leapt in spite of this. I plugged my nose and jumped feet first. The feeling of buoyancy, amidst relief, sprung me back up to the surface right after the plunge. The water was warm and welcoming.
2. Washing away
The water felt cleansing and took with it some of the weight and heaviness I’d been carrying for months. The ocean is so large that it handled my baggage with ease. I found the ebb and flow of the waves, pushing me up and down, and the constant rhythm in which it moved, reassuring and constant. Life is like that. Things come and go, always. There is a natural wave to life and I need to learn to ride it better sometimes.
3. The unknown
The scariest part of being in the ocean is not being able to see what’s below me. I find myself worrying about being bitten from an unseen creature, unaware and unarmed. However, the moment I jumped, I allowed myself to be okay with the unknown. Just because I can’t see what’s below me (or ahead of me for that matter), doesn’t mean it’s something to be fearful of. Sometimes the greatest gifts in life are those that are the most unexpected.
4. Salty tears
It was nice to feel saltwater on my skin that were not my own salty tears. I was reminded that nature and humans have much in common – in that water consumes most of the earth, as it does most of our bodies. I also thought about crying in general. Tears can water the earth just as the ocean feeds many rivers and streams and lakes. I’m watering and sprouting with each tear that falls.
5. Limitless quantity
The ocean is limitless, as are our possibilities in life. People create barriers for themselves, create reasons and excuses for why they can’t or won’t do things even before they try. Looking out to sea, I saw nothing but an abundance of blue water. No end in sight. Every day I wake up, I want to see the same, vast possibility and live with the intention to fill my days up with unlimited love and purpose.
6. Balancing act
There was a fine line between above and below the water. With each ripple, I had to adjust myself to maintain balance and stay afloat. With each disappointment, struggle, setback or heartbreak, I need to try and also achieve this balance. To keep my head up. More emptiness can actually represent more room for happiness. A focus on today’s promise rather than on past mistakes. To remember what is important, and to let the rest pass away.