I was blessed to find myself soaking in the tropical waters in Hawaii this month and remembering again how simple life can be when we live through our senses rather than through our mind. My most magical moments were floating, fully immersed in the gentle surf with only my face exposed to the warmth of the sun. There were no thoughts that could hold me here with my senses fully captivated and charged by the most basic elements of the world. I am home now, and as I prepare to move Good Clean Love out of the small home it has occupied for 7 years into our new professional warehouse and colorful office space, I am reaching back to the magical moments immersed in feeling to guide me. So I offer here as we celebrate letting go of the old and moving into a new year some of the ocean’s abiding lessons.
1. Go With the Flow
This is a cliché for good reason. Allowing the tides in life to be what they are and giving up all behaviors that resemble pushing the river is perhaps the most healing single choice we can make in coming to our senses. The world is not going to conform to your reality by pushing it harder. People are not going to become who you want them to be by pulling away. Getting splashed in the face is not that big a deal when you are already soaking wet. You don’t need to be next to a warm ocean to get this experience; a warm bath will do, even a hot shower. Commit to memory how it feels to let go and practice it.
2. Feel Supported
The weird and delightful thing about the practice of letting go is how it primes you to receive the support you need most. I have often written that one of the most tragic things I witness is the ways in which we turn away from the love coming towards us and refuse the support that is surrounding us. Receiving is the foundational capacity of love that can only really be felt when we surrender to it. This is why lying in the water is such a good teacher. You can feel yourself buoyed up which is a powerful metaphor for the myriad ways in which the world is loving you.
3. Listen With Your Whole Body
The beautiful thing about feeling supported in your life is that it opens up your ability to listen in ways that transform your relationships. Most people think they are saying what they mean, and worse still, think that other people can get their meaning with words. Real communication happens in the space behind the words, in the uninterrupted attention we offer when we really are listening with our whole body. The smallest gestures convey volumes when we hold someone’s hand to our face or hug longer than we think we can or should.
4. Bear Witness
Reality is kinder than we think when we listen deeply. Even the most painful moments are softened when they are shared in this true communing that makes compassion feel like an action verb. This is the essence of showing up for the promises you have made and for the strangers who are lucky enough to cross your path. Courage is the natural fluid state of the heart that allows us to go with the flow. And so the wheel turns again.
Warmest wishes for a new year immersed in love.