Navigating the space between what once was and what’s next — and not necessarily knowing what to do with it aside from floating within it
When a friend asked me how I was feeling, instead of the perfunctory “I’m fine,” I responded by saying that I feel like I’ve been floating. Floating through life in the time of COVID — neither uber-productive or passive, up or down, clear or unclear, just floating. Now let me be upfront in pointing out that ‘floating’ isn’t a natural state for me. I’m more of a ‘doer’ than a ‘floater’.
Of course, all my ‘doing’ has led me down some paths that were bumpier than others. Life at that setting can provide the perfect breeding ground for bypassing the root causes of our emotions and perpetual busyness to fuel the distraction — not exactly a great combo.
But floating, well, that’s a whole other can of worms and it’s caught my attention.
For me, this floating is less about judging and doing and more about unfolding and being. It is about allowing…and also transforming.
It also made me think of my time in Maine (time that didn’t happen this year due to the pandemic). Each summer for about 15 years now, we travel 9 hours north to Acadia National Park. There we park ourselves for a week in a beloved campground in our reserved spot on the water, literally an idyllic setting. Side note: This magical place and that particular spot took camping to a whole new level for me. And throughout the years we connected and weaved into the fabric of each other’s stories.
One of my absolute joys there is slipping down to the shore through a path of blueberry bushes, hopping on my raft and floating off into the horizon — glorious sunshine beating down on me warming my chilled skin (it is Maine water after all!). Equal parts soothing and exhilarating…my body, mind and spirit immediately decompress…and I float. Life, thoughts, to-do lists melt away and I become one with the ebb and flow of the tide. Worries slip out to sea. Mother Nature whispers, I’ve got this. Just float.
But we interrupt this regularly scheduled program. No floating this year. Well, at least that kind.
And yet, it’s a new kind of floating. Less going places, less buying things, less doing has cleared space for more quiet, more exhales, more expansiveness within all the constriction. More seeing.
We are all navigating new norms and have been for nearly 5 months. Suffice it to say, new norms are becoming the norm. Much of our regular routine has been removed. Initially this felt like we hit a roadblock, a temporary interruption. Now, it feels like things may never go back the way they once were.
Many of us have felt a great deal of resistance. Many of us have likely seen that resistance bubble up and find its way out in unexpected ways in both ourselves and others; aggressiveness, divisiveness and even the need to be right — none of which seems to be letting up. But it’s also been like getting on a raft and trusting where it will take you. Sure, you could resist and paddle against the current and exhaust yourself, but you can also choose to simply release and float — to see what happens on the other side of that. To trust.
For me, this ‘floating’ of late isn’t about surrender or detaching from my thinking, feeling self. It isn’t about letting go of analytic thinking, processing and participating. It’s about going with the flow of neutrality. It’s about not judging and labeling things good/bad, right/left, us/them. I’m not picking a team! It’s about settling into observation…feeling where the current of life is leading me.
The other day on my morning walk I was listening to a video of my friend Dr. Christiane Northrup who was speaking about alchemizing fear into freedom. Yes! That is what floating is to me.
Sometimes doing ‘nothing’ or at least not doing things the same way (the way that wasn’t working) allows us to unfold and see the new way — to trust that we can feel, deal and heal.
So, what does this mean in real time? I’ve been taking time this summer-of-stay-cations to unfold and unpack…to witness what wants to come forth, what wants to be seen, what wants to be heard. None of which probably trusts me entirely yet, so it tiptoes forward cautiously. I’ve allowed my days to evolve organically. I’ve put my calendar away. I’ve questioned…will life fall apart if I let old ways, thoughts and routines go? I’m here to attest that it won’t and it hasn’t.
I’m witnessing my fear, not shooing it away, not hiding it, not denying it — and slowly, softly and calmly I’m also recognizing that it doesn’t control me. In fact, I can control it. I can cut the chords and release myself. Freedom.
Let’s face it, life as we knew it will never be the same because we cannot be the same.
Sure, we will likely reclaim certain things and creature comforts that previously soothed us. But there is plenty we will not be able to ‘un-see’ and return to…and we won’t want to. It’s time to see new things and be new ways — to free ourselves.
Yes, there have been gifts amidst this storm of fear. If we allowed, we have connected to ourselves, our families and our environment more deeply. We cooked, had family meals, planted gardens, walked in nature, appreciated what we have…exhaled. Hey, I even got a puppy! We began to witness what was working, what not so much. We allowed ourselves to mutter…I don’t want to go back to life, ‘business as usual’ — that job, that partner, that way.
We allowed ourselves to float.
I don’t know about you, but my prayer has amped up. I find myself praying equal parts seeking guidance and giving profound gratitude. I find myself praying for others, especially the ones I can’t seem to like. I find my heart softer and my mind less bossy. In other words, I don’t know where I’m going, what’s ahead or what will unfold and how.
That’s the premise of floating. It is allowing, not controlling. The chatter in my mind kicks it up a notch…Hold on a minute — why are you acting like a retired person? A nap in the middle of the day? Get going, you better start making things happen! Chop, Chop Missy!
But I stay the course, shoo my limited-thinking and fear-based thoughts aside. I continue ‘being’. Being is not surrendering to outside forces, thinking or mandates — it is about sinking into more YOU-ness. Oh, and just another thing to keep in mind: it has its own timeline, like the cycles of Mother Nature’s tides.
Floating creates space for creativity, ideas, possibility, daydreams, clarity and healing. No matter what someone else around you may be doing or building — look away. Come back to your own backyard, to your own raft, your own divine path.
You haven’t missed the boat — you are the boat.
For now, I remain in a position of floating — quietly observing how I’m feeling, listening to what my heart is whispering and calmly trusting that it knows best. All is well. It will make sense soon enough and once again I will walk back up on shore refreshed, restored, rejuvenated — knowing where I’m going, who I am, what I want. But for now, I float…and that is a divine way to honor my Best Self.
But before I go…here’s the real star of the show…an updated picture of Zoey barreling down on 4 months old!
Have you been feeling a sense of floating lately, perhaps lost between where you’ve been and where you’re going? Please let us know in the comments below how you are navigating this time and space and honoring your Best Self journey in the process.