This week, I have been keeping to myself, so I don’t have a fun story to share but I do have an observation. My inner critic, also known as the ego, wants to chastise me for not being very productive and not reaching out to more people. It would like me to think there is something wrong rather than trust this experience as simply part of the ebb and flow of life. In our culture, we place a high value on achieving and doing. We readily celebrate when things are flowing and we are busy. As soon as things slow down or get quiet, we are quick to think somehow we failed or there is something to fix.
Imagine if Mother Ocean operated that way. If there was only flow and no ebb, our coasts would be underwater. We need the ebb, the time when the water recedes into the sea, before the flow when the waves roll back to shore. It’s a natural cycle that keeps things in balance.
In the past, you may have heard me use another analogy to describe this cycle. Here in the world of duality, every expansion is followed by some form of contraction. For example, when we breathe, our lungs fill with air, our rib cage expands, and then it contracts as we release the air. It’s a natural rhythm, and gratefully so! In other areas of life, however, we welcome the expansion but curse the contraction.
Most of us have had the feeling of sadness or perhaps depression upon returning home from a fabulous vacation. We are experiencing the contraction after the expansion. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel good like taking a deep breath. We plan for weeks or months and look forward to special times with friends and family. While the vacation is happening, we are out of our everyday routine. New possibilities and choices are everywhere. We feel expanded and joyful. Then, once the trip is over, going back to our regular life can feel limiting and challenging.
But here’s the good news. Just like the breath, when the contraction is over, the expansion starts again. We simply have to be patient. It’s a cycle, just like the ebb and flow of the tides. There’s no need to panic when the ebb happens. The flow will return. But in the meantime, can we be present with the ebb and fully receive its unique gifts? Can we take some time for self-reflection? Are we making choices aligned with our hearts’ desires or simply doing things out of habit? The ebb is a perfect opportunity to ask these questions.
This week, I gave myself permission to rest, reflect, and not do much work. And you know what? Despite what the ego says, everything is okay and I feel better! Eventually, I will feel like getting out there again and being more productive. But for now, I’m going to honor the ebb and invest a little more time in being. I hope you will allow yourself to do the same when the ebb visits you…and it will.
Are you experiencing an ebb or contraction right now? It would be my great honor to walk you through it with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can give you a new perspective as well as tools to help navigate the ebb and flow of life. There is also an opportunity to go within and honor the ebb the weekend of October 22-24 from the comfort of your own home. I will be sharing an experience of Family Constellations as part of a 3-day Virtual Wellness Reset Retreat with other Mindfulness, Meditation, and Healing Practitioners. Visit the Upcoming Workshops page on my website for more information and to register.
Until next time, I trust you will find ways to honor both the ebb and flow of life whenever they visit.
…the ego is forced to shift ceaselessly from one goal to another, so that you will continue to hope it can yet offer you something.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-8.VIII.2:7