Riding Out the Waves

I’ve always appreciated the metaphor of water to describe the experience of emotion. Sometimes we feel waves gently wash over us and sometimes they come crashing down. 

When water is kind, we may not even notice. But when it’s turbulent, it’s definitely got our attention. What to do? 

Everything changes. Moment to moment nothing stays exactly the same. Even times when we feel good, or neutral, the waves don’t last forever. And the same is also true of turbulence. 

Waves will always arise and will always come to an end. So why are we so often taken by surprise? I’m guessing it’s because we’d rather pretend the waves don’t exist. 

What happens if we see the waves and go into them? 

It’s ok to be scared. You can own your fear. 

Try letting go of the stories that are there, and just be with the sensations in and of themselves. Just you and the wave. Prepare yourself as you see it coming and get on your surf board to be with the wave as you ride it out. Feel the strength, the pace, the volume. 

Ask what message it’s trying to bring you. What does it need from you?

Maybe it actually wants to work with you and not take you down after all. Let it know that you are willing to listen as long as it agrees to not overwhelm you. And you’re also not going to run away. It’s understandable to want protection from overwhelm, but emotion in and of itself is harmless. It’s there for a reason. What is it trying to tell you? What does it need you to know? 

Approach every wave as though it’s an opportunity to learn something new. 

Copyright 2018 ©  Rachel Braun, All rights reserved.

Rachel Braun, ATR-BC  Art Therapist Philadelphia, PA

Specializing in working with women who experience anxiety, depression and eating disorders.