for the swimmer in the rising tide

It’s remarkable how, in the biggest way that I can remember, we’ve collectively had the same sort of year. The compounding weariness of isolation and injustice, loss and uncertainty, has touched us all. 

For better or for worse, 2020 has changed the way we live, interact and think. It’ll be years before we understand the impact of a global pandemic, recession, and revolution against white supremacy all at once. This year is loud and relentless and unpredictable. It roars and it takes. It teaches harsh lessons. 

And amidst the massive, collective chaos of this experience, somewhere buried beneath the headlines and graphs trending unbelievably high and low in jagged lines, there’s you.

Still here, despite it all.

An accomplishment and a wonder in and of itself.

I write to you, the singular person, because there’s things I think you need to hear just as badly as I do. I do this when I feel low, rather subconsciously.  Form the words I’m desperate to believe. When I write, I find I can treat myself like a friend – because often it’s much easier to comfort someone else than it is to console yourself. 

And so, friend – you, me – I’d like to offer you the best my swirling thoughts have come up with this week. I took a meditation class the other day with a takeaway message I badly needed. My teacher and friend asked me to find a small mantra, a touchstone phrase, to hold in my thoughts. She explained to let it give me what I most lacked. Repeat it in my mind until it became just a little more true – a strong “I am” statement with no room for doubt. I settled on “I am hopeful, I am safe.”

Since that class and the welcomed stillness it brought me, I’ve been thinking a lot about power. How it’s realized and taken away and shared. How one’s power is theirs alone to claim, crackling and smoldering just beneath the surface, only a few deep breaths out of reach. How it looks in the eyes of someone who’s decided to take a risk. How it sounds in the breaking voices of people shouting for justice. How it feels surging through your body when you’re doing what you’re meant to.

Read the rest of this for you. Anything you see and need is yours to keep. I wrote it for all of us who feel the water rising a little too close to our ears lately. For those of us who need to remember how skillfully we can swim when the tide swells. 

It is so, so essential that I step into the power I know I have. To give to myself in ways that let me give more to others. Undeniably, plain and clear, I – we all – possess the power:

to take hold of whatever time we're given here.
to make that time meaningful, joyous and free.

to learn how to live with the light and shadows playing out within.
to accept that these are both a part of us.

to open others up and invite them to feel things.
to make the people we love feel less alone.

to be funny, sweet, smart and lively.
to be observant, witty, persistent and wise.

to deeply surprise ourselves.
to hear words leave our mouths we once barely dared to think.

to grow even if it’s painful.
to make choices and move forward without agonizing over them.

to bring the best of who we are to each day.
to plant seeds of compassion and truth
to watch them grow for years to come.

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