Surrendering to the Waves of Fear
“Surrender is the ultimate sign of strength and the foundation for a spiritual life.” - Debbie Ford
We recently took a trip to the ocean. If you need a moment to remember you are not in control, spend a bit gazing into the ocean. It has a way of reminding me of how magnificent life is and how there is so much more to the world than our perspective often allows. There is something magical about the waves washing up through your feet, and quickly pulling back, disappearing back into the majestic skyline that seems to hold the ocean in place.
And as beautiful as the ocean is, these waves were no tiny splashes. Even wading in the shallow waters proved to be challenging. The waves seemed so intense that we were pulled in dramatically, each billow not taking no for an answer if permission was not granted to carry us in deeper. I started to tense up a bit more, feeling stuck, as if this were it. There was no way we were going to be able to swim. We couldn’t fight the power of the waves.
Then, as if by accident, my oldest and I had a realization.
We started to move with the wave, trusting the power that was so far beyond our strength, and moved in a little deeper. It was here that we felt calmer. With each wave rolling at us, threatening to go over our heads, we simply lifted up our feet, no longer clinging to the comfort of the sand below, and let the wave carry us.
We made it through.
Each time it continued to amaze me. These incredible blankets of water rushing towards us, a few feet above our head, moved with us in symbiosis as we simply leaned in and rode the wave until it once again calmed. We did this over and over again, never once losing the awareness of the magnitude of this oceanic force. My heart raced every time I looked in the near distance and saw the water rushing toward us, holding on tightly to the youngest and glancing back at my husband confirming he had eyes on the others. My fear hadn’t left completely, yet I learned to move in spite of it.
When we lean it to the scary stuff, and ride the wave of uncertainty, we become unstuck and move forward.
In hindsight, I was recalling the early moments of first dipping my toes in the water and feeling my body tense up as the waves came forward. I dug my heels in harder, only challenging the water even more to pull me into the ocean as the waves rolled back. On the contrary, when I willingly moved in deeper, and lifted my heels from the known of the sea floor, I was able to float without resistance into a bigger experience. I could take on the challenge of the white caps barreling towards me, respecting their power, and yet honoring the gift they had to share.
Simply, because I was willing.
When we can stop forcing our will on life, and accept the challenges that barrel toward us, we have the opportunity to grow in new awareness and move forward in our journey. The past few months have brought some scary experiences for me, and I left for this trip feeling incredibly tense. My body was tight, riddled with fear and uncertainty. I have felt these feelings before; fear and uncertainty are my kryptonite. There was a time, I fought even harder to gain comfort in the known. Yet, that road, those past behaviors lead me down a darker path, and no longer work for me. I have learned over the years that surrender and acceptance are really the key when I feel despair; when I can no longer work harder to solve a situation beyond me.
In my surrendering, that moment I blindly lifted my feet off the sand and floated with the omnipotent water literally carrying me forward, I felt protected by a power greater than me. I knew I could not control this situation. I mean, this was obvious – it was the ocean. Yet, somehow, in my day to day activity, I am under the false presumption that I can control everything else in my life. Although, this erroneous conjecture makes me feel safe, it is simply not true. There is no guarantee for anything in life, and we can’t stop, erase or avoid pain. And while I may never fully master complete comprehension of this, I will never forget the lesson I learned in the ocean this summer. Sometimes, you just need to have faith, surrender your feet from the known, and float into the uncertainty of life’s waves.