Monday, November 30, 2009

go with the flow, experts say

i experience my emotions like a hapless swimmer being sucked under and out by the sneaky, silent riptide. gayly bobbing on the surface enjoying the cool of the water against my skin, i think everything is fine. everything is great. perfect. maybe i'm watching the kids play in the sand on the beach, maybe they're snacking in the shade. it is such a delightful day. and, oh my god, how much do i LOVE this water so pretty and clear.

wait, what's that?

then in a heartbeat i'm being pulled - no. sucked into this invisible current that lurks just beneath the surface.

don't panic, they say. go with the flow, the say. panicking and swimming against the current will only tire you out and then you'll be too weak to stay above the surface. and then you'll be - to put it kindly - a goner. so go with the flow. let it take you out and exhaust itself and then you can swim parallel to the shore line and back in.

to belabor this metaphor even more, i have to wonder out loud how it is that i can possibly permit myself to free float into feelings that have no names. i know how to run, er.. swim screaming in the other direction from a shark, even a massive-almost-tidal wave but this. this? it feels too scary to let go. to not-struggle against it. to not push and push and push my way toward the sand where happiness plays.

and yet it is unavoidable. i'm already caught. do these feelings have to have names for me to let them come and let them go? without trying i find that exhaustion comes labeled and easily identifiable. and this turns out to be more than enough to persuade me to relax and go with the flow. to let them carry me knowing - now that i've been told by the Experts - that they will let me go. and i will be free to australian crawl my way back toward safety. toward happy feelings. to sunshine and sandcastles.

even so i can't help but notice that the overwhelming tiredness from the experience makes me feel like i'm dragging a boat behind me.

this is how i experience my emotions. just under the surface, strong and fast. it doesn't mean there is always a silent, invisible monster lurking right there. or here. but when they come, these feelings, they come like rip-tides; like thieves; like a sudden, violent storm. and then they're gone.

and now i am going, going,

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