Last night I remembered something important: the necessity to float when I feel sink.
I learned to swim about the time I began to walk. Floating on my back, buoyant, I’m a water baby, a lover of fluidity. It’s a life value for me to live engaged, active, and simultaneously in flow or sync with my inner experiences and the outer world I inhabit. Yet, a deep disconnect has been growing in me, becoming a necessary chasm I’m not certain how to navigate. An unexpected outing on a supermoon night brought me home, back into my skin.
Wearing no life preserver or life vest, I stepped into a kayak. It had been years since I’d been on a lake. [How did I forget summer delight between 1993 and 2007 when my backyard was a northern Colorado lake?]
Sloppy paddling soon dripped my legs and bare feet wet with lake water, but like riding a bike, deep strokes, to the left, then the right, took form. Effortlessly, I was gliding. Yellow water lilies along the shore intrigued me, and I turned toward their rooted beauty. Laughter and voices from two young women accompanying me rippled across the water surface from their kayak, a gentle presence alongside me.
Intersections–complex and simple–captivate me this season. I notice the intersect that transpires in my body, heart, and mind through photography, words, between people, and particularly in landscape of my current home, Alaska. I’m ever more aware of the power to risk the unknown, the yet-to-emerge, and the courage it takes to stop, just stop. Walk away, walk towards. Intersections call forth a willingness to integrate polarity, the known, the unexpected, and new terrain. This is what my life—what life itself—has been doing to me, bidden and unbidden. Perhaps this happens to you, too.
In conversation, I think we three were still on the lake pausing again to float and talk, the brilliant insight from Frederick Buechner bubbled up in me:
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
Every five or ten years, Buechner’s question grabs me, biting into my life. It’s happening again, and I’ve been sinking, because it likely involves moving from my comfort zone—which if I admit it, has become uncomfortable. I must risk being vulnerable. Notice my yes, and no.
I’m saying yes, consciously or unconsciously, giving permission for intersecting forces to take hold and shape me. I’ve let go of fighting the sink, and in the same manner as paddling the kayak, remembering the float value. I cannot flow, if I’ve forgotten–or refuse–to breathe, to allow what is to be and to become. The lake outing, with two amazing young women, restored an essential element to me. Float. Flow. Risk complexity, simplicity. Pause. Be in my skin. Life is beautiful, here, now.
Where are you experiencing life sink? Life float, or flow? Who accompanies you in your quest?