Riding the Waves


Ten years ago this spring I was laying flat on my belly on the deck of a Nicaraguan ferry boat for a twelve hour journey to a coastal island. No one else was laying flat on their bellies. In fact, most of the other passengers were veteran seafarers who gazed empathetically as I lurched to the back of the boat every so often to puke over the railing.

This spring I am navigating a series of new experiences. I’ve enrolled in Marie Forlio’s B school– a fabulous online program for women entrepreneurs, I’m travelling on Thursday to a retreat  with Parker Palmer — my all time favorite author and teacher of soul wisdom, then next week I’m headed to Boulder for an Enneagram Intensive, and I am designing my first full weekend retreat (with friend Tara) to be offered this fall. And yes I’m simultaneously aiming to love my husband well and parent our three small children with kindness and build an authentic coaching practice. All at the same time.

In my good moments I remember to breathe and ride each moment as it comes.

In my not so good moments I feel like I am back hugging that deck and praying for the impossible—that the ocean might stop rising and falling so I can keep my lunch.

Yet I’m starting to make peace with the pattern of my experience during this time of growth. I certainly still feel the highs (moments characterized by buoyant hope) and the lows (when I slip into overwhelm).

At first I thought of these experiences as little “mountains” and “valleys” in my day. But now if I look deeply I recognize their true nature: waves. Moments of overwhelm and moments of inner spaciousness are all part of the same salty water—a rich briny brew capable of facilitating some deep transformative work.

As we come to identify and even dismantle our habitual patterns (which is what the power of the Enneagram is all about!) then life comes flowing into parts of our interior space which have long been shored off, buttressed, and overprotected.

This can feel and be kind of intense. But trust that it is all for the good and that through it we can learn new ways of living out of and returning again and again, to center. Center is not a static state. It is more like floating on and trusting a much bigger source.

We cant make the ocean stop moving—but we can look around us for seasoned travelers and take heart in their capacity to calmly ride the waves. One day soon I totally expect to be able to lift my head off the floor, sit up straight and see a new land on the horizon.

What waves are rocking your world right now?

How are you riding them?