I am spending a few weeks with my mum, by the sea. Each day, I take a walk to the beach, go for a swim, and then often walk along the sand. I love the tug of the waves around my ankles. I like the feel of the water over my feet. There is a very real sense of connection with the ocean, with its power and also with its peace. The ocean just is. It doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. The ocean goes on flowing in and out, day in and day out, content to be just what it is. I think I can learn from the ocean.
Content to allow impact and change
It is common knowledge that the tides are influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon. The gravitational pull on the oceans is greatest on the side of the Earth that is facing the Moon. This causes a bulging of water towards the Moon, which is experienced as a high tide on Earth’s coastlines. Meanwhile, on the far side of the planet, there is a second bulge. Here, the gravitational pull of the Moon is less because it is further away, so it is forces due to the Earth’s rotation that now cause a movement of the ocean away from the Moon. (www.brighthub.com)
The thing I like about this, is that the oceans don’t resist the gravitational tug of the moon. There is a connection between the moon and the oceans that is good and right…and works. I wonder how often we resist things that impact us because, somehow, we think that these events or people need to be resisted. We somehow think that we know best what is good for us. How much do we miss out on when we resist the pull of external forces on our lives?
I am a great believer in learning from the events and experiences of life. Life happens. Always. Much of what happens is out of my control. Resisting it just causes me pain. I am much more at peace when I allow life to wash over me, tug at me, direct me. There is positive in event he worst situations. There’s things to be learnt on a daily basis.
I want to be like the oceans…allowing the tug and pull of life to shape me, grow me, mold me. I am learning to be content to allow life to bring me what it will.
Content to trust its own self
The ocean never tries to be anything other than it is. People do. Human beings so often assume the being they are is not enough or should be different. We are certainly bombarded by images of what the ideal woman and man look like. There is pressure to by products to make us appear younger, slimmer, stronger, sexier. We are encouraged to think in particularly ways, to hold to certain viewpoints.
But I am learning that the ocean had it right all along. The ocean doesn’t try to be a tree. The ocean just keeps rolling in and out. It knows that its job. I think that people have a much harder time figuring out just what their ‘job’ is because we have so many options. The ocean only has one option – be itself.
One of the blessings of growing older is the growing acceptance and of love of who I am. Who I am. Not who someone else thinks I should be. I am learning that it’s quite OK for me to hold the viewpoints that I do. I am discovering that who I am is actually a fantastic human being -flawed but fantastic none-the-less.
Every day I remind myself to trust my own intuitive genius. To trust that the way I look at life and the decisions that I make are valid. I can certainly learn from others – and I am always open to new things and other ways of thinking. But I am happy with who I am and I am glad that I am the age I am. I am content, like the ocean, to trust myself.
Content in symbiosis
Naturalist, David Attenborough, has spent a lifetime observing the natural world. One of his more recent television productions looked at the Greta Barrier Reef which runs along the east coast of northern Australia. It is more than 2,300 km (1,400 miles) long, is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms and is visible from space. As David Attenborough narrated the series, he spent time focusing on one of the symbiotic relationships that exist on the reef.
A symbiotic relationship is one in which two things act and exist in a healthily interdependent relationship in which the one cooperates with then other for their mutual benefit. On the Great Barrier Reef, one such symbiotic relationship can be found between clown fish (say hello to Nemo!) and anemones. The clown fish, whose scales are covered with a mucous that allows them to be impervious to the stings of the anemone, clean the anemones and the anemones provide a safe place for the clown fish to live and spawn away for the larger predators of the reef.
In a symbiotic relationship each party brings something unique and valuable that the other party needs or wants. It also allows for a certain amount of vulnerability, or acknowledgment of needs, as part of the deal. This is something that human beings are not very good at. We like to be in control…and women particularly like to be in control. I’m not sure what a naturally-occurring symbiotic relationship would look like for me. But I know that, as a woman, I love to collaborate with other women, as collaboration is something women do quite naturally. I think that when women allow themselves the room to graciously acknowledge that they need things, that are not the superwomen that the media says we can and should be, then symbiotic relationships can form and grow and thrive.
I stay open to symbiotic relationships – ones in which I can be content to not know it all, ones in which I know I need something, ones in which I know I have something of value to bring and offer.
Have you learnt how to be content?
I think that learning to be content is a lifelong process. But I also know that there are skills we can learn to help us on the way. If you would like to explore some of the ways you can grow in your personal contentment, leave your details below and I’ll be in touch. Together, we can tap into the resources that you already have and discover ways to use what you already know to grow your contentment levels.
I look forward to hearing from you.