When you’re a bad swimmer like me, comparing the struggles of life to drowning, comes easily.Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing I have going for me when shit hits the fan.
When you’re navigating your way through a body of water, and then all of a sudden you’ve lost control, and you start to feel like your drowning, anxiety kicks in. This makes it even harder for you to get a handle over your situation.
Oddly enough, the same thing seems to happen when life gets tough.
When you’re drowning in the ocean of life, things can start to seem impossible. There you are, flailing appendages and gasping for air, and all the while, life’s steady flow continues to send waves of turmoil through your relationships, friendships, family, work life, finances, spirituality, and whatever else can go wrong. If you’re lucky, you can find a pattern that allows for tiny breaths of air here and there, and you escape a complete and total deprivation of oxygen.
A couple of things can happen from there.
1. Someone sees you struggling and jumps to your rescue, helping you to safety before it’s too late. (Friends, family, loved ones, therapists, support groups, and even dogs can be the savior you’re looking for when you’re drowning in the ocean of life).
2. You’re lucky enough to discover a floatation device making its way toward you. You grab it and hold on for dear life. (This can look like a lot of things. Perhaps a hobby, or a passion to pour yourself into, a religion, or spirituality).
3. You decide to stop fighting the current and relinquish all control, and allow yourself to float along wherever the waters take you. (Sometimes, when you stop trying to control everything around you, and you just decide to let things happen, and to be okay with whatever comes your way, you’ll discover that things become easier).
4. You get tired of fighting and you sink to the bottom of the ocean. (This is rock bottom, people. You can either let it destroy you, or you can use the ocean floor to push yourself back to the surface and try again).
In any of these situations, there is a solution. And so long as you find a solution that works for you, it doesn’t matter which route you take.
In my most recent experience with drowning in life, I had to be rescued because I just didn’t know how to start swimming again on my own.
I cultivated strong friendships, I leaned on my family, and I sought out therapy. It took a lot of work, and a lot of help and guidance. But all of these things came together to help me find dry land. And once my feet were planted, and my soul was rested, I was finally able to ease my way back into the ocean of life.
Then I met my husband, and he started swimming with me. And swimming has been much easier since then.
After I was rescued, I discovered a flotation device that gave me the ability to keep swimming on my own. Even when my friends, family, therapist, and husband couldn’t be there with me to hold my hand. My flotation device was yoga. And with a steady yoga practice and passion, I feel strong and capable of taking on the ocean by myself.
Now, my struggle lies in learning how to float. I can get by without the skill, but should I ever find myself in the depths of the ocean of life again, with tough waves coming my way, I want to be able to relinquish control, and float through with the faith that I’ll find my way back to steady waters again.
Because there won’t always be someone there to rescue me, and sometimes, my flotation device might not be enough. I need to be able to rely on myself. To have faith that things will work out. And to let go of my desire for control.