If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day. –Leonard Cohen
This quote is such a great realization. I came across it in my reading this week and it put all I was feeling into clear, loving and true perspective. To live on the surface of life, where we allow our inner state to depend on our outer circumstances is rocky, stormy and sickening. It does feel like navigating during fluctuating storms that just keep rolling in. It is possible to live from down deep in calm waters and to be fluid as we flow through life with the understanding that the moment is all we have and things are happening just as they should. How do we do it? We use every experience we encounter to build more presence in us, to ground us in our true essence of love and connectedness to all things…which can only be found in the present moment.
As we grow our presence and ability to live from the quiet place inside us, we still have to navigate the circumstances and people around us. As we get better at this, the opportunities to practice it seem to mount. We all have loved ones we hold dear and often those very relationships are the ones that allow us to grow the most. I spend a lot of time with my two precious little ones. They bring so much joy, laughter and moments of love, but, they also bring many many opportunities to practice all of the things I have learned about presence and consciousness. If I didn’t have the day-to-day challenges with the kids, I would probably have myself convinced that I have evolved to a much higher level of consciousness. I have little encounters with them all the time that remind me of what I can work on and just where I am at. It is a gift to have these two to work with as I try to stay in the deep waters for longer periods of time and teach them to do the same.
Here’s the thing, the kids are constantly trying to pull me into feeling whatever they are feeling and as they grow and encounter new challenges and responsibilities, their emotions are all over the place. Sometimes it feels like living with little emotional bandits, taking me on a ride over getting their jacket, tackling a math problem, clearing the table or tying their shoes, etc. They are little, vulnerable and highly identified with me. If they are stressed or upset about something, they want me in the same state. I think they feel that if I am feeling the same stress, they will feel better or get help; its like they feel that if I’m upset too, they won’t be alone in it. I can feel the pull between the three of us of how they want company in their emotions. I am always trying to live from a place of non-reaction by putting more space around my choices. It is kind of funny to hang out with people who really really want to get a reaction out of you when you so badly want to stop reacting to everything that comes your way. There is a kind of perfection in it that allows me to feel just how connected I am to everything and how God/Life lines up the perfect circumstances to grow you to be more of your essential self.
You can be sure that whatever circumstances you are working with, they are the exact, perfect ones made just for you that will deliver you to all that you are meant to experience on the path leading in the direction of becoming more of who you really are. Whenever I hit a bump or fall flat on my face by forgetting everything I know, I can feel the meaning in the experience and be grateful for whatever the details looked like. Me and my little emotional bandits get up and forgive each other pretty quickly and jump back into the joy of life. We talk openly about all these things, so they are learning right alongside me. They teach me so much in such a pure way.
Let’s have a moment of get-real perspective here; perception is always a great teacher, it is usually a good idea to flip things around and see how they look from the other side. As I was thinking about the “emotional bandits” part of things, I realized that I am an emotional bandit as well. I have heard myself say, “Why can’t we just be in the moment?”, “Let’s get into the flow of life.”, “Joy is waiting for you whenever you’re ready.”, and many more such statements. It would seem that I, too, am guilty of resisting the emotions others are experiencing and trying to get them to feel something I want to feel. Even if I am trying to get them to feel “good” things, it is still me trying to get those around me to feel and act the way I want them to, so that it can come more easily to me as well. To be honest, I have seen myself in bad times trying to get others to feel bad with me too. It is a hard thing to admit, but as I look at things from this perspective, I cringe at some of the times I was down, stressed or overwhelmed and my husband was happily buzzing around and I dragged him through my emotions just to have some company. Fear makes us do all kinds of weird things. Thank goodness we have always come out of it pretty quickly and we know where it all comes from. The yuckie stuff is always fear and the lovely stuff is love…no exception.
So, we all do it…we all try to bring our loved ones with us on our little emotional trips. As we ride the waves in a storm, it is lonely to do it alone…we seek company and we drag them into our boat because we are afraid of making the trip alone. Once we can learn to live from a more spacious place that allows others to have their feelings and express what they’re going through without it affecting our state of mind, we can be free of the seasickness and truly taste the freedom of acceptance, present moment living and inner peace. Next time you notice an emotional bandit trying to take you for a ride, just give them love and let it pass through you. Try comforting them by intense listening that allows them to be heard without resistance from you that would cause them to try to convince you and pull you into their emotional boat. If you notice yourself trying to take others for your emotional ride, turn towards love and remember that everything passes, things are always as they should be and even though it feels like it would be lonely to go it alone…it isn’t. Sometimes we just need to feel our feelings deeply and pass through them alone to let them lose their power over us. We can grow and become more of who we really are by swimming deeper, feeling more stillness and realizing that we aren’t ever truly alone…we are connected to all that is around us…what we can see and what we cannot.
Picture it, if you are living at the surface of life, riding the waves, you need that little boat and you constantly seek company in there to endure all the seasickness and storms. If you are the ocean, you don’t need the boat. You don’t need to get in the boat with others and you don’t need to drag others into yours. You can just be the ocean and heal yourself and others as you spread love and stay calm and peaceful in the moment.
Sending you love, calm, peace, joy and presence.