Since I was a little girl, swimming in the ocean has been my favorite thing to do.
I love to swim out past the breaking waves and float in the swells of the waves to come. I look back after they lift me and I watch them crash on to the sand.
The rest of the world and all of its worries back on the sand.
I can barely hear anyone when I'm out that far. Kids, joggers, frisbee throwers... all silent.
Sometimes, I'm just floating. Other times, I'm out on my surfboard. I love my board. It's a light, pale blue that reminds me of the sky. It makes up for not being able to flip over on my back and watch the real sky.
I'm tiny out there. Insignificant. Out there, my mind quiets. The questions and chatter in my head vanish with every undulation of the ocean.
It is the best place I know to clear my head.
The thing about going out past the break is that, eventually, you have to come back in. That's not always as easy as it was to get out. Whether I'm on a board or on my own, it's the energy of the ocean that brings me back to shore. The large force that is both beautiful and intimidating... the being that could caress me or crush me... I have to go with it. Fighting it is exhausting. Tucking your whole body in and letting the waves toss you or paddling feverishly with the waves is the best way to get out without being harmed.
I know how to get back in.
I know what to do.
But sometimes, I panic.
I get out so far and for so long that I don't notice that the waves have gotten bigger, or that I floated away to a rockier part of the beach. I start to breath quicker and I curse myself for not watching where I was floating or thinking I had any reason to be out there with real surfers. Sometimes... there's cussing. I know my limitations. While I love the ocean and the way it relaxes me, I still know what can happen if I don't get out right. The best thing I can ever do is to calm my breathing and go with the flow.
Life is a lot like that.
We can fight things, thinking that we have control over forces, imposing our intentions on that which was set in motion at the beginning of time. We can let scary things scare us. Or we can honor that force, take deep breaths, get control over our fears, and get on with it, already. We'll get back on shore one of two ways: bruised and beaten, too frightened to go back out, cursing the beauty of the waters; OR we can just go with the flow and return when another great day presents itself, moving in that amazing energy that will bring us joy.
What I mean is:
Plan. But if the plan isn't working, don't worry about scrapping it for the things that are working. The things that have come along when you weren't looking. Even if those new things aren't what you originally intended. It's amazing what can happen when you go with the flow.
At least... that's what I try to do.