I’ve been swimming so long it’s hard to be in a backwater, a slow-paced eddy, watching waters rush by without me. Hard, but not impossible. I’m learning to float in small circles on my back.
In the dark at my picture window this morning I see flotillas of commuters, contractors in trucks, and school buses all going places fast. My inquiring mind has questions.
How many of those going by are happy, I wonder? How many are truly excited by what awaits downstream? Some are, for sure. But recent memory says it’s more likely the stress of being in the water and then struggling back upstream at the end of the day that preoccupy.
They’re worried about too many commitments, bills to pay, partners to satisfy, I think. They’re grieving, or boxing their way through substance abuse and familial dysfunctions. They’re listening to talk radio and fuming about politics and all the damn Californians.
Imagining their concerns from my eddy stirs compassion in me. Life isn’t just about me. My mandatory removal from the flow – seeing them rush past – reminds me I’m not unacquainted with some of these. I’ve been there too. Too recently.
This is what I see from here. There’s an eddy next to the water that can help determine who we are, not what’s happening to us. It’s a place where we can float, struggle, or practice silently slipping under the surface – our choice. Only choose wisely.
Step aside and learn to float on your back. Let the eddy nurture and heal. Once you enter the waters, it’s harder to think, to combat visceral reactions. What really matters is the eddy and how you use it. To the extent we cultivate peace in it, we can export peace to the waters.
My world has been temporarily, radically simplified to making small circles on my back just beyond the waters. Blissfully so. When I reenter the waters I hope I remember. I hope you will too.
How’s your eddy?