I (Michelle) had the lovely opportunity to spend a few quiet days at the beach recently, a quick get-a-way with our “quarantine pod” to celebrate a recent retirement. Despite being born and raised in very land-locked Central Ohio, I’ve always loved the ocean, and spent as much time as I could relaxing on the beach and being in the water.
So, it was fitting that one of last week’s featured Guideposts articles was about the ocean, and what it can teach us about strength. Waves are an inevitable part of being in the ocean. Sometimes they’re gentle and allow you to float along peacefully. Sometimes the waves knock you down, and as you try to stand up, the next one knocks you down again.
Just like life, isn’t it? Sometimes you’re floating along peacefully, and sometimes it seems like you’re getting knocked down over and over. Thinking about the things that happen in life, sometimes coming in “waves,” and the decisions you must make during challenging times…maybe the ocean can teach us.
Some thoughts from writer Holly Lebowitz Rossi on how to face the waves of life’s challenges:
1) Seek Out Calm Waters
Beyond the breakers, the ocean slows and calms—and so can you. The sea will never be completely still, but the ups and downs of the waves are far less dramatic just a few feet beyond the point where the waves tip and crash. Of course, you have to be a strong enough swimmer to support yourself in deeper water—a reminder that calm waters don’t just offer themselves to you. You must seek them out and maintain the strength to sustain your peaceful buoyancy.
2) Get Knocked Over—and Come Up Laughing
In the ocean, if you get knocked over by a wave, find the sandy bottom with your feet so you can push off and break through the water’s surface. A healthy fear of the ocean is a good thing, but when you swim in safe conditions, experience the joy of getting knocked down and finding your way back up again. You may learn something that will help you navigate the next wave. Or, you may simply realize that you can handle waves that are momentarily just a little bit stronger than you.
3) Stand Up to the Crashing Surf
Waves will eventually crash, it’s just what they do. Embody your inner strength by standing right in that moment, steeling yourself to resist the impact. Let the surf slurp your feet into the sand with each passing wave; feel how much your legs and core muscles offer support, no matter what swirls around you. You can’t control the sea, but you can place yourself strongly within it.
4) Ride the Waves
Being at the beach is an opportunity to turn your back on life, so to speak. Facing the vastness of the sea from the shoreline, confront what’s coming and reflect on what’s behind. Just as powerful, though, is to enter the water, turn landward and ride the waves toward the shore. That same sort of wave that may have knocked you down, that you worked to paddle past or that you steeled yourself against, can now become the momentum that carries you forward. Set aside the resistance of confrontation and radically accept the help of each wave as it comes. Where will it carry you?
Life is full of waves, just remember you have choices when it comes to how you handle them.
Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications
Source: What the Ocean Can Teach Us About Strength, Guideposts.com.