Ebb & Flow
Last week was spring break, which somehow already feels like a long time ago. We went on a mini trip. Sam checked off her list by eating a blue ring pop and building a sand castle, Elliot made sure we went to Schlitterbahn. I’ll hit the highlights of Bibby’s Galveston Getaway next week and yes, there was sunburn.
Music fans, check out Ebb and Flow from Pink Floyd’s instrumental The Endless River, a favorite of mine. Also, I can’t help myself, cause, ebb…and…flow. Get it? This is when Elliot says, “Mom, that’s a dad joke.”
On one occasion, it looked like saying goodbye to a career to focus on my health. Another time, I literally watched as mud and gasoline infused water receded down my walls and belongings. During another season, it looked like stillness and thought while staring at a pond being dug. It has many times looked like healing. As an INFJ, an introvert, what to the outside world can seem like retreat is just my ultra happy place. For a few days or a few weeks, I’ve got to be careful or I’ll forget to stick my head out. One of my dearest friends, as extrovert as they come, keeps me from being too reclusive. Bless that girl.
At times, it has looked like reprioritizing time and space for passion and purpose. It recently meant taking a trip and not posting Insta updates or checking Facebook notifications or the email inbox while being slow to get back to texts and calls and notes. It has also looked like not going to church while pain has been up.
Ebb has taken many forms and meant many things over the years. Ebb is necessary, sometimes by our own doing, sometimes not. Ebb holds opportunity. We can recharge and regroup, take a beat, figure out what we think or need. We can find ourselves in the ebb. Decisions are made in the ebb. Courage is gathered in the ebb. Our own voice is heard in the ebb.
The other day it looked like stepping back into 218 to strange and beautiful antique wooden panels and participating in a silence exercise to think about our deepest longings. Two days ago, it meant finally opening my inbox, yikes, and updating the calendar and making phone calls. Last Thursday it meant surprise relief as this steroid round took over, which in turn allowed last Friday to be full and busy, getting to run multiple errands, what?!, and moving several bookcases from my studio to our bedroom to actually use them for, gasp, wait for it, books. Double what?!!
Friday am text to Hubs: Please call me before you head home
Text to Wife: Ok
*Hubs calls five hours later*
Wife on phone, “Yeah, so, don’t get mad…”
Flow is execution. Action item steps. Sometimes bubbling over ping-pong style and sometimes tempered steady as she goes. Flow is tenacious and persistent. Flow is ink to paper, a most precious exercise for there was a time I couldn’t use my right hand. Flow is fingers clacking on a keyboard while wearing shooting muffs, friends you read that right, for the times I crave silence; my half-siamese, flame-point sure likes to ‘talk.’ Flow is preparing dinner and running bath water and family walks and Chess and Sorry and Clue and Catan and Ants In My Pants. Flow is reading by the pond. Flow can be mundane or exciting or turbulent or terrible or all of them at the same time. Flow is showing up and trying, steps one after the other even when the effort is difficult, scary or full of angst. Flow can be fighting through and for whatever it is you are dealing with. Flow can feel easy. Flow can be the hardest thing you’ve ever faced.
I sat on the beach inside a chilly, foggy day, eating Jimmy’s on the Pier’s fresh and warm 1820 Apple Crisp, YUM, watching my son and daughter and hubs play in 60 degree water. No thanks, y’all are bonkers. But the scene was timely and inspiring and sweet. Ebb and Flow. Low tides ebb. High tides flow. Life. Magnetic pulses. Seasons. Witness. Wisdom. We are always being shown what we need, how to live. Beautiful creation. Can we see it? Do we respond?
We will ebb and flow through hours and days and weeks and months and years over and over in a myriad of ways. Different ebbs will overlap various flows. We are always learning and growing and becoming. The expanding-contracting chaos will be unique for each of us but our same human condition connects us in that none of us are spared this cycle to Life. It is for us to decipher our needs and meaning and purpose. Sometimes there is no meaning, no definitions. Sometimes there is just some ‘next’ and that is okay.
I’m rereading a brilliant little volume titled Letters Of Note. Friends, it is worth the actual hard book, filled with original correspondence copies and pictures. Page 64 is Hunter S. Thompson’s letter to his friend Hume Logan, in April of 1958. He was all of twenty when he wrote to his friend in response to a question about life advice. It’s three pages and terrific, I’ll share just a snippet. The entire letter is quite something indeed.
He had just quoted Shakespeare’s to be or not to be, “And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.”
There are areas in my own life that could use more ebb for better flow, more float for stronger swim.
The meds wore off and yesterday I encountered another ebb, an expected one, but still. For this particular season, flow is appointments and physical therapy and finding solutions. Today flow is more intentional time and space away from my phone and access and social media. It doesn’t have to look like all or nothing, an inclination I have to fight, especially the nothing part. Flow is my phone plugged in across my room at night so I can’t peruse the news at 2 am, triple what?!!! Flow is getting back into a meditation practice. In the past, I appreciated how much more mentally grounded and whole-self connected I felt. In the absence of higher pain, I let many tools and supports slip that I had clung to for peace and function. With some new pain, I have realized how important they had been for my daily operations. In that silence exercise, I was poignantly aware of how needed and comfortable the silence felt…hey old friend, let’s sit on this parkbench like bookends.
Friends, how are y’all doing today? Where is there ebb? Where is there flow? What needs more ebb? What needs more flow? What needs to just be without definition?