Ebb and Flow
“This world forms and disintegrates, as the body does, but creation goes on forever”
~ Ernest Holmes, (SOM pg.357)
My home garden is a source of joy, surprises, and multiple rewards. I delight in growing squash, as it produces so much food, is diverse in the number of recipes I can make with it, and the fruit lasts in storage for months… well into the Winter. Gradually though, without fail, my squash begin to soften and show signs of rot. This is like EVERY situation and thing in life. Our world is filled with impermanence, and holding on, resisting change, is a source of great grief and struggle.
I had a chat with ‘the produce guy’ today. We were talking about our cauliflower (did you know it went up to $15/head?). I shared my gratitude for the cauliflower in my own garden, and he explained that the snow had turned his to mush.
“Not mine,” I announced. “I dug them out of the snow before it was too late!”
This lovely man was quick to share that he'd had so many other ‘successes’ in his garden that he was not disappointed. “In fact,” he began, “I had my own homegrown Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner!”
My point is, even though his cauliflower turned to mush, the Creative Force in his garden still produced Brussels sprouts.
Our lives are like this, in every way. While some things are disintegrating (perhaps relationships, jobs, a hip joint…), other things are taking new form. It is our attachment to one thing or another that is the source of our experience of drama.
Life is an adventure of riding the wave of receiving the new and releasing the old. It is so easy to say that, yet it is one of the most difficult practices to maintain balance in.
"[A]ccording to the Buddhist point of view, non-attachment is exactly the opposite of separation. You need two things in order to have attachment: the thing you’re attaching to, and the person who’s attaching. In non-attachment, on the other hand, there’s unity. There’s unity because there’s nothing to attach to. If you have unified with the whole universe, there’s nothing outside of you, so the notion of attachment becomes absurd. Who will attach to what?” (Barbara O’Brien. "Why Do Buddhists Avoid Attachment?" Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, learnreligions.com/why-do-buddhists-avoid-attachment-449714.)
Let’s look at life through a historical lens. I am one to remind my ‘Western’ friends that we have lived in a fairly stable environment and economy for up to 80 years. This means that, if you are younger than 80, your lifestyle, like mine, has been fairly predictable… day after day, year after year. But then… the pandemic hit… and suddenly the mayonnaise I like was unavailable, my size of shoe didn’t come in the last shipment, the store closed because of staffing issues… and on and on.
When unexpected things happen and I am attached to the ebb and flow of the way life used to be, I can easily get frustrated. I am grateful this mood agitation can also thrust me into a deeper spiritual practice, which then unearths some tried and true ideals.
My teacher, Dr. Kenn Gordon, used to repeat, “Today is the day the Universe has made, and I rejoice in it.”
Today, my plan was to head up to the mountain for a ski day with my friend. Instead, I got a text from Blake (my husband and my ride to the mountain), that our dog had gone missing. Although my bags were packed and I was ready to go, we changed our plans and headed into the woods to begin our search. By the time we found our ‘bad’ dog, it was getting close to lunch. My friend texted around that time that their legs were getting tired in the wet, heavy snow, and that maybe they were going to quit for the day. So… I let go, and I let the adventure of the day take me on its own ride, instead of trying to make something else happen.
Here I am writing this article, creating space for a ski day tomorrow instead. Who knows, the snow may even be better. I might meet someone unexpectedly. My husband may join me tomorrow or… the day might have other plans. Either way, when I allow the natural flow of the day to unfold, trusting in the Good that wants to express through my life, I enjoy greater ease and happiness. In this way, I avoid the frustration of trying to force my own way.
If there truly is only One Unified Life, then whatever is pushing to unfold is the Infinite Intelligence saying, “Go this way.” By trusting in that push, that new and different direction, I am aligning with a Power that is much greater than my own will. And so, I release. I let go and I let ‘the greater Good for me’ into my day.
~ Where can you practice more ebb and flow in your life? ~ When you find yourself frustrated, stop, breathe and ask, “What is wanting to be born into this moment?” The question doesn’t need an answer. The Creative Force of Life will show up in just the right way, in just the right measure.
~ At the end of this day, journal about your unexpected joys.
~ If you’d like to learn some tools for balance and manifestation in 2023, we have classes and events we encourage you to check out: Follow this link for more info