Stand frozen and afraid or learn to dive in and explore.
It was the summer of 1988, and I was a bright-eyed and naive 17 years old standing hopefully and happily with my boyfriend on the Jersey Shore. It was a perfect day; the sun was bright and the ocean sparkled. I was eager to jump into all that life had to offer. As I stood on that beach with the warm water kissing my toes and the breeze so peaceful and safe, it felt like life was beginning for me... finally.
And then, before I could blink, I looked up to see a wall of water speeding toward me. I heard my panicked boyfriend yell “Watch out!” Well… watch I did. That was all I could do; it was all I knew to do; and that wave hit hard.
Fast forward 20 minutes (that wave knocked me out cold) and I was dazed, confused and ... eh hem... missing my suit and my dignity with a crowd of concerned people around me. Once I realized what had happened, the embarrassment gripped every cell in my body. All I wanted to do was RUN away... but there I was - trapped, cold and humiliated.
The hardest part of this story isn't the pain or the embarrassment, it's the fact that it never had to happen that way! That event was 100% unnecessary and avoidable! Friend, I'd never learned what to DO when the wave is coming at me; for that matter, I'd never learned that the wave would come in like a speeding wall of concrete. And to
my bright-eyed and also-naive boyfriend, who had grown up by the ocean, it was common sense to just dive IN!
That was the critical missing piece - what I didn’t know to do (or how) was dive in. Had I known to dive into and UNDER that wave, had I known HOW, I would have been swimming around without a worry (just like my boyfriend) and popping back up when it was time.
Fast forward to right now - as a planet, as a human race, we're going through some enormous waves of change both globally and personally. As those waves of change keep rolling in, we continue to be challenged by what we're seeing and how we feel on the deepest emotional levels. When those challenges hit, we can either freeze and be emotionally annihilated - or we can dive in to the emotions, go deep within ourselves and come back up for air.
When we don't learn HOW (how to dive into the feelings and bring the lessons back to our own self-perception - and then - HOW that ripples out to the world around us and becomes the reflection and validation we see) we become buried and torn apart by the emotional aftermath - over and over and over again.
The thing about the aftermath… at the time the wave hits, it only FEELS LIKE THERE WAS NEVER A CHOICE but there was always a choice. Learning to see the choices... that's how to dive in.
Seeing the choices MEANS learning to slow the rhythm of the body (heartbeat and breathing) every single day and practicing body awareness (5 physical senses) and applying that new vibrational and sensory awareness to your personal body and experience so that you learn HOW IT FEELS to be in tune with yourself... is where the magic lies.
I call that magic “the space between the beats” (the literal heart beat). When you learn to slow down and tune in, you'll find the stillness and calm that exists where there was once only panic and reaction. In that stillness and calm, you'll find TIME and space and.... your window to choose what to DO when you first SEE that wall of water coming.
Finding that space can happen with a single breath or you can find your way to the magic through meditation, through grounding into your physical body, through toning the vagus nerve.
Imagine how different my own experience on that beach would have been had I known what to do (and why) and even better.. if I had practiced beforehand! You might be saying to yourself right now, "Is she really saying all that trauma was avoidable?" And I am, actually, saying exactly that. If I had just known HOW to dive in, I'd have had one of the most beautiful days to remember rather than one of the most difficult. Can you imagine?
Now imagine the ripple effect of that - how your most beautiful day might have affected you and every single person you interacted with... and they interacted with... and so on. What about all the times you OVERreacted or HYPERfixated AFTER an initial trauma... what if ALL THOSE experiences in the wake of that trauma were never really necessary? What if you could STOP that cycle? What kind of ripple effect might happen from JUST that one change within YOU?
Remember, as we go through these global changes together, it’s natural and normal to “forget” all the good wisdom you've opened up to and how you’ve grown — until you come back to center, back to yourself, back to the space between the beats. Evolution is a non-linear process. Don't hold yourself to a linear timeline.
If you want real transformation — the kind that allows you to dive in naturally without being knocked over by panic and anxiety… you’ve got to be willing to start where you are, right now — allow how you feel right now. The only way forward... is through - dive in when the emotional wave hits and feel your feelings... let them spill over you, let the emotions come out however they need to.
And... when the chemical reaction softens and you feel calm again, breathe and slow the rhythm of your body down and find the space between the beats. Finally, when you're back to center (and not a moment before) retrain that mind of yours to recognize where you actually are, what you actually want — and then… BE there (act from your new vibration).
Be gentle with yourself — baby steps can surprise you when they are really disguised quantum leaps; don't forget to dive INTO that wave, trust yourself and come back up for air.