Life is like the ocean. The ocean is vast and it’s a force of nature that is greater than the sum of all the drops that make it up and all the creatures within it. So, too, is life. It is unpredictable and there are waves. There are calm days and there are rough days. Sometimes it’s warm and inviting, sometimes it’s cold and scary. The ocean is deep and there is much to explore beneath its surface, but we can only experience its fullness and depth by venturing in. And it’s always a little more enjoyable when the sun is shining
I love the beach and despite growing up in a cold climate, I’ve always been most at peace when I’m near water. I’m currently in Northern Sydney, enjoying a day off from my tour schedule at a friend’s place, which overlooks a beautiful, cozy little beach.
Yesterday, we made our way down to the golden sand and blue water for some sunshine, some frisbee (my new favorite hobby) and a swim. Despite every intention to get in the ocean and get in on the action, I found myself doing the usual song and dance. I put one foot in and winced at the cold. “Maybe I’ll go in later,” the thought occurred to me. “Nah, I’ll go in now.” And yet I still hesitated, taking one step forward and one back. Resisting the waves crashing at my shins, then my knees, then my waist. ”Ah, it’s cold! I’m getting wet!” The dubious, whiny voice in my head continued on. Until eventually, I was in. All in. And guess what happened?
It felt AMAZING! I adjusted to the temperature and the water began to feel warmer. I had so much fun swimming and crashing into the waves. I was smiling and laughing and felt like a kid again. When I emerged, I was energized and refreshed. What a shame it would have been if I had let that fearful, hesitant voice talk me out of going in.
And yet every time I go to the beach, I do the same thing. I take forever to just get in the water even though I know I’m going to love it once I do. I stand on the shore and admire the surfers, daydreaming about riding a wave with such grace. I wonder how it would feel to dive deep into the underworld of the ocean and discover its treasures. But when it comes time to go for it, I stall, I hesitate, I rationalize, I analyze, I let fear slow me down and keep me away from the experience I really want.
When I think about it, I did the same thing with this Aussie tour. A few months ago, the opportunity presented itself for me to return to my beloved Australia for a few festivals and some great shows. Instead of just going for it and moving full steam ahead, I questioned and tossed and turned. I almost pulled the plug on the whole thing coming up with this reason and that reason why it wasn’t the right thing for me at this time. And yet, every time I come here, I have an incredible time. I learn, I grow, I expand, I connect with an amazing and ever-growing community of friends and I get to do what I LOVE for appreciative audiences in beautiful settings. Hellooooo??!!!
So why the hesitation?
Whenever we stand on the shores of the ocean of life, it’s easy to shrink back in fear of what will happen if we go in. A small amount of this fear may be warranted because within the great unknown, there lies some danger.
But the truth is that what we are really most afraid is the unknown itself. And most of that fear is just an illusion, or a figment of our imagination. We don’t know what’s waiting for us in there and so we fear the worst. “What if I can’t? What if I fail? What if they laugh at me? What if I get hurt? What if I die?”
And the greater truth is that the experiences we are really after, the ones that are going to genuinely fulfill us and cause us to reach our potential and become our highest selves, live in the vast unknown. The life we really desire requires us to brave the cold sometimes, to get dirty, to get wet, to dismiss our irrational fears, to take risks and just go for it. All the time we spend hesitating, questioning and second-guessing our internal pull towards the experiences our soul is calling for is just keeping us from the joy, the fulfillment and the life we truly want.
This morning, I went back to the beach. As I approached the water, I decided to take a different approach. I made a straight run for it and dove in headfirst. It felt sooooo good to skip all the back and forth and go right to the good part. Next time, my friend is taking me out for a surf…
Life is an ocean of experiences. Dive right in!
Published by The Daily Love (Jan 20th, 2013)