Saturday, June 26, 2010

White Water

For a few weeks, I’ve felt like I’m drowning; that feeling of not knowing which direction is up – the one that will take me to safety. I conveyed my downtrodden feeling to a friend, and when she asked why, I bypassed the immediate surface response and felt for the real truth which is that I’m not living the life that I want and I don’t know how, right now, to make it work. She understood and stated, sometimes it’s hanging on and riding through it. Seeing where she was, a mother of three who worked full time, a wonderful wife, and an active writer seemed to me like someone who had the key to knowing how to make it work. Yet being able to relate to me - someone whose nearest goal is to be able to have her own house again – gave me reassurance that she had been where I was and pulled through. Her words felt like the light beaming from the light-tower on the water.

Submerged in water, it’s hard to see the light from above. I know this first-hand, because during a white-water rafting trip I had completely let go and found myself deep in. The desire to let go and experience what could happen overtakes me sometimes, which is what happened in this case. In a half-second decision, as water splashed and flooded the raft, I let go and I slipped down. Though I had a life-preserver, I pludged in so deeply, I had no sense of where the water's surface lay. All I could see was green. And it surrounded me completely. I didn't know which direction to swim. I may have started to panic then a hand came in and pulled me out.

The hand belonged to our raft guide. He panted and fell back into the raft after my rescue. I felt foolish and guilty for what I’d done; guilty for putting our guide at risk and guilty also because my friend on the trip had a dire fear of drowning. Yet at the trip’s end the guide said his highlight was pulling me out. My friend felt grateful for seeing that I could be rescued. And I felt grateful that my half-second decision to fall in wasn’t a fatal mistake.

I’ve wanted to let go recently but fortunately I’m surrounded by faithful friends. One opened up her house to me, another saved my bacon by giving me 100 dollars when I really needed it, no strings attached. My recent bout of wanting to give in is not feeling a sense of direction or life purpose. The boat trip gets much harder if in fact you don't know where to go. But I hung on with the faith that my vision could/would clear. Happily, today, my storm, at least the one where I couldn't feel a sense of purpose, has blown over. For the first time in a long time I felt a new surge of energy for my career path. Though I may have rapids to pass over, having the courage and faith to stay on has showed me that I can turn my life into the direction that will give me bliss and the one that is full of light.


Helen E. said...

Keep your eyes on the "horizon." That's the only thing you can do. Keep writing, follow your heart and try not to worry about the material details. It's hard, I know, but stressing yourself out about it doesn't do any good either. Someday, somewhere, it will work out for the best. Lessons aren't easy, but they always give us what we need for the next step in our journey.

Jen Pearlman said...

Hi Helen,

Wise words and much appreciation for reading the blog. Thanks for the encouragement! Love - Jen

Suzanna B Stinnett said...

Hi Jen, I enjoyed your vulnerable post here. I am familiar with the feeling of about-to-drown. After hearing the whine in my head for a while (I'm drowning, I'm drowning), I got fed up and said back to it. "Go ahead and drown." I meant it. And it worked well, because the feeling let go when I decided that, too, was okay. Friends always look very scared when I relate that. Maybe drowning is a safer metaphor for me than it can be for others.

Truth: I've lived through years of strangely untethered existence, floating, determined not to compromise my allotment of energy by overworking at inappropriate jobs, and accepting the consequences. Truth: It keeps working out, and my devotion to self-growth and self-discovery is starting to pay off. And I'm still okay. And so much more at peace than my neighbor who has given her blood to corporate for many years, unable to see clear how she could let go and enter her creativity. But I am not privy to her internal criteria driving her choices, and she is not privy to mine.
Maybe the biggest lesson I learned these past years is to allow, allow, allow. Giving is not better than receiving (do the math, Einstein). Both are required for either to exist.
Thank you for writing, see how you've brought flow?

Jen Pearlman said...

It's been awhile since I looked this post & I missed your really empowering comment Suzanna. I love that social media can connect so many kindred spirits. Thanks for the beautiful comment. Much appreciation, Jen.