The water was asking me to Flow; to become just like it so that I could Forgive.
I was fighting against it. For a long time I pushed in opposition to the water. It took a year for me to realize that I was the water.
Two years ago some things in my life were upended. Things that I had come to know and depend on were no more. I strove to understand. Picked up each grain of sand to ask, “Is this it? The reason? Tell me why?” There was so much sand to sort through.
It was similar to feeling my way through the dark in an endless midnight hour. The answers would not come. I was alone. Alone and drowning in the dark.
Have you been to this place before? If you’ve ever loved someone; I bet you have.
When we’re trying to stay afloat, we pretend that we’re swimming. Possibly, it looks like treading water but it feels like drowning. Deep panic. Dark water. No sign of the shore.
After I stopped collecting grains of sand, some of my breath returned. My heart didn’t race all the time. Instead of slapping the water, I opened my fingers and let the water glide through them.
Eventually, I saw other swimmers. They would wave and ask about the water. I thought they had just arrived to my part of the sea. But they hadn’t. They’d been there the whole time. I hadn’t noticed them. Maybe I saw glimpses of life, but it was easier to believe I was all alone.
When I finally chose to get close to these swimmers they told me that I had forgotten some very important things:
I was loved. Well loved. And I was never alone.
We are that which we seek.
Deep. Heavy. I know.
When we’re at the bottom of the sea, we feel alone. It’s too dark to even see our own hands, let alone the hand of a friend reaching out to us. This loneliness makes us afraid. It also makes us angry. We are never our best selves when we’re angry and afraid. Those states of being add to the darkness.
We have to stay there at the bottom for a while. It’s part of the process. But slowly, very slowly, we start to ascend. The light will sometimes seem like hope itself. Promising. New. Other times we will wonder if the light is playing tricks on us.
That’s when we start to catch glimpses of the swimmers. They can’t swim for us. No, the work is our own. But our friends can remind us to hold our breath, to open our palms, to trust our hearts.
Last year a friend advised me to, “Flow like water.” I loved those words. They guided me. Reminded me of the way when I felt like things were too hard.
When we’re fighting the water we tire easily. The fatigue drives into our bones. The struggle never ends.
I was seeking forgiveness, acceptance, understanding, and love. I was fighting for those things. Tiring myself out in search of them. I hadn’t realized that to receive them I had to become them.
I had to embrace forgiveness. I had to accept myself, the people who had hurt me, the hurt I had caused, the entire situation as it was. Instead of trying so hard to be understood, I offered understanding. Then love, oh love. The love had always been there. It had never left.
I was trying to get to this place by moving against the water. Pressing hard. Determined. I am not easily deterred.
To my benefit, the other swimmers reminded me of the truth. My faith whispered these essential words, “You are the water.”
I am that which I seek. I receive that which I offer.
When our practices become our beliefs we can embrace who we really are. We’re not droplets in the sea. We’re not the bad weather. We’re the water. We’re the water that wraps around islands to keep them safe. We’re the tidal wave of emotion. We’re the rough storm swirling about. We’re the calm sea lapping against the shore. We’re all of it.
If it’s part of us then we can understand it. Accept it. Offer it.
Today I offer my love and forgiveness. It’s a part of me. It’s a part of you. We can receive what we offer.
On this Easter Sunday, I want you to remember that you are the water. Yes, it’s all of you.
Jen Padilla-Burger helps perfectionists heal. She supports overfunctioning perfectionists with developing self-care practices, meditation, hypnosis, and self-compassion. Jen is a lover of coffee, plants, and podcasts.