Tuesday, April 14, 2009

facing the sea, feeling loved

friends, there is a real sea change in my life...can you feel it? the wind has shifted, there is a quickening of energy. maybe it's simply spring, but i don't think so. i think things are changing, really moving in a positive direction.

perhaps last week - away from reality and into the cosy arms of my family (in a dreamy, tropical setting, no less -cozumel, mexico) has colored my view all rosy-sweet? who cares. it just feels good to feel better than i have felt in months and months
and months.

the light in the end of the tunnel is shining bright.

grad school is coming. better health is coming. financial aid is coming and that means less worries. less worry mean more energy! more energy for learning and growing. more energy for nurturing friendships.

last week i faced a big fear. i swam in the ocean. a sparkling, warm, turquoise ocean with my family all around me. i would love to say that it was magical and snorkeling was easy and i saw lots of amazing things under the water. but that isn't how the story really goes. we swam out a long ways from the shore to reach the reef. i didn't realize it was a yellow flag day and the waves were bigger than i could handle. the long swim exhausted me, even with the help of my sweet nephew, holding my elbow to guide me to the last raft before the final swim to the reef.

goodness, what ever was i thinking? i tried to go from zero to sixty and conquer a huge fear in one morning!

i did finally make it to the reef and for just a minute, with my brother holding my hand, i snorkeled with my face in the water and saw a bit of coral, a couple of striped fish. i wanted to see the fields of sea fans on that reef, but i didn't make it that far. panic set in and even with my flotation vest, i was overcome. once you get water in your eyes and swallow a bit of salt water, it is hard to re-group. my sister-in-law stayed with me for a while, as i tried to get back on that reef and carry on. pretty quickly, i realized i just could not do it. my sister was also full of sea water and ready to go back to shore. together, we slowly made our way back.

when i think of the experience now, i remember the panic, but more so, i remember how loved and protected i felt with my family, even my young nieces and nephew were looking out for me. (they are all confident swimmers). my other sister had taken her little boy (way too small for those waves) back to shore earlier and sent a marine park staffer on a jet-ski out to rescue me.

i did something very brave (for me), i swam in the ocean, put my face and ears under the water. i didn't accomplish all i set out to do or see, but i got a powerful look at just how held i really am. it was very touching to have my 12-year-old nieces and nephew tell me how proud they were of me for trying.

a few days later, i did get to see hundreds of fish. the experience wasn't flashy or particularly brave, but my sweet 9-year-old niece and i had a marvelous time looking at the schools of tropical fish right under the dock at our resort. big silver ones with blue stripes, tiny yellow ones with black stripes, like bumblebees...it was shallow enough to stand on the sandy bottom and just by putting our masks in the water, we could be close to all those colorful fish and feel perfectly safe. some of the time we held hands and the fish swam all around us, inches from our bodies.

that hour was one of the best in my whole life.

later, we looked up the kinds of fish we had seen and laughed over lunch. sharing the experience with her made it wonderful. the whole week was a lush soak in quality time with the people i love most. how lucky i was to get to take a special trip with them and how blessed i feel to have a family i want to spend that kind of time with. we belly-laughed often and were perfectly relaxed all week.

does facing a big fear bring a sea change in life? i can't be sure, but i know it can't hurt. i do feel more free and more calm since that day in the ocean. i sense my confidence shift. i've been living with fear stuck close to my side for too long. i feel like i want to face other things i fear with an equal tossing of caution to the wind...

...swim out into other uncharted waters and feel a loving hand on my elbow, guiding me.


jennifer said...

You are braver than you give yourself credit. Your mountain has just been shaken up...now is your time to rebuild and move ahead. Your experience with cancer I believe will give you strength to draw from in your work ahead in counseling students. Very excited about this path!

Sondra said...

What a wonderful blessing you have received. Facing Fears in the arms of your loved ones.
And in such a healing wave.
The water washes away many things and buoys you to float above the fears.
Good luck on the spring of a new adventure.

PetalsYoga said...

Your post makes me just overflow with joy for you dear Tay! I'm praying that this sea change will be just that. Something that ebbs and flows but is always there for you in that same vast and reliable way as the sea coming in and going out moment by moment and year after year.

Tay said...

Thanks for celebrating with me!