Every once in a while I remember being a child doing something that gave me enormous pleasure. Something that was fun, carefree, silly. Like rolling down hills. Or swinging so high that I almost went over the top. Or digging holes in the sand, and filling them with water. These memories are often triggered by the sight of a child at play...and that is the operative word here: play. Do we "allow" ourselves the freedom to play? Should I have an entire category on this blog called "Permission to...." Bask! Mourn! Run! Hide! Wonder! Sing! Play, play play!
I was thinking about all this the other day when we had a particularly calm sea, and I was pulling myself together after the Children Leaving Home Crackup (permission granted to crack up, always). I had been swimming, and was tired, and flipped on to my back to rest, and then suddenly remembered floating--how, when I was a child, I used to just lie on the water, feel the waves rippling under me, feel the sun on my face, feel my hair loosen like seaweed and sway with the currents. So I stayed in my float, and tried to let go of my mind. I found it was much like meditating on land...a watery savasana, if you will. (And while we are floating, and our thoughts are loose, I might mention, for those of you who love language, that the link above on "lie" goes to one of my favorite gals: Grammar Girl.)
I had to focus on my breathing. There are times, when I am swimming, that I am so relaxed that I become forgetful, and think I can breath underwater, as if I had gills--until snorting, choking, and coughing rudely jolts me out of that fantasy. While floating, I could hear my breath go in, and out, and in, and out, and I could feel my ribcage push against the water's gentle caress. I felt rejuvenated. And I felt like playing some more. It occurs to me that "floating" might be a useful image as we move through our days. Why not? Why not, when we find ourselves in calm waters, let go of some of the baggage, the worries, the anxieties, the fears? Why not allow ourselves moments of losing touch with the earth, with gravity, even with the shoreline? Why not drift and dream? Perhaps, if we learn to float, we will learn to calm the waters around us, rather than wait for them to calm us--or wait for them to be calm, when they are turbulent.
Next, perhaps, I will try a canonball off the cliff. The children seem to be having a blast. But right now, I am giving myself permission to float....and suggest you all join me.