Riding the waves

Riding the waves

“Let us sail beyond the sunset….”

Perhaps it is that time of year in the Southern Hemisphere where the summer heat evokes daydreams of luxurious warmth and warm breezes, but I seem to be talking to everyone about the images of waves. Personally, I love the water: to be floating, swimming, resting in the salty sea. The ocean is enticing, and awe-inducing all at once. It can move from still to stormy in a short space of time, much like our internal selves at times.

What I have been reflecting on is  how do we weather our internal storms? 

Riding the waves of emotion requires a surfboard of sorts, or even a boat that can be anchored. Many of us head out to “sea” with no lifejacket and no idea about what some of the dangers might be and so we retreat quickly back to shore with emotions that have not fully run their course and with a memory that the experience was overwhelming, or close to. The best known surfboard that I know is in the power of our breath. With the breath we can we ride any wave and not be dunked by it, overwhelmed by it and not left gasping and panicked. 

Part of the adrenaline response in our nervous system is to alter our breath, allowing us to get ready to flee/fight/freeze, even if the danger is only in our psyche and not physically in front of us.  Our breath becomes shallow, or at times lost, unavailable and foreign.

How do we recognise that our breath is powerful and provides a sense of centre for us to come home to? Feeling the sensation of the breath through the nostrils, the ribs expanding, the feeling in the lower back and the rise of the chest is a great start for we then physically can feel our body, even when all else seems foreign. We breathe, therefore we are or Respira ergo sum

Most people urge people to take a deep breath. however i prefer the idea of a long breath out first that then allows an easy inhale. 

Some waves are especially enormous. A wave of grief or anger can be more like a tsunami that can throw us off balance. In this confusion, how may we find that moment between reaction and considered action? The “space of time” where perhaps we can make the nanoseconds longer so we can stay with ourselves, our connection, our intention and our truth and not be lulled into the crazy making of reactions and “over-reactions”. We know that time is not linear….if someone is 2 minutes late to pick us up in the pouring rain versus 2 minutes being deep in conversation with a long lost friend, time takes on a totally different characteristic. The breath can tap into this timelessness, and enable us to see the world, and ourselves more clearly. It can give us the space we are needing when we need it the most.

We often only reach this place where we need to know the importance of breath when we discover something else within us. It may be when the shore looks too horrible, grey and dank or that beyond the waves there is a glimpse of possibility of newness, or in the process of delving into a performance role. Paul Theroux said “as a traveller we don’t know where we are going”.

We trust that the path ahead will unfold, step by step, breath by breath. “Let us sail beyond the sunset….” 

How might we take a leap of faith and harness our inner most breath, so that we might be able to be in deep connection with ourselves. To be on top of the wave, and then land safely onto new unchartered, and unspoilt shores. 

So close your eyes for that’s a lovely way to be
Aware of things your heart alone was meant to see….

Don’t try to fight the rising sea

Don’t fight the moon the stars above
and don’t fight me…

By now we know the wave is on its way to be

Just catch the wave don’t be afraid of loving me.

The Wave” by Tom Jobim,