Letting myself fall
I spent my Sunday afternoon at the beach with a good book. It was very pleasurable & time flew by. This coming week, the calendar marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. But today, the day was holding onto summer. The sky was cloudless; the sun was bright; the air was filled with a cool breeze. The waves were constant as always.
After reading for awhile, I decided to lie on the sand and take a nap. I lay there for a few minutes and could feel my body relaxing. I didn’t realize how tense I had been. I didn’t realize how tired I was feeling. I was still & silent enough to feel my breathing & I took a couple deep breaths – breaths from my gut & felt my body relax even more. While my body was relaxing more and more, my mind was struggling against it. Why am I resisting this? The sand feels so good between my toes, the warm sun on my skin. It feels so good to just let go... to rest...
"Remember this feeling", I tell myself, "you don’t let yourself feel this very often."
I struggle to rest. I struggle to take in good things. Perhaps we all do to some extent. For myself, I have found, I struggle because resting & feeling pleasure usually connect me to myself – to some aspect of my body and/or my heart & at times, this has been painful. At times my body has felt sore & tired; my heart sad & lonely, or worse, numb. So my first instinct is to resist what I fear my body and heart will reveal.
For whatever reason, today was different. Today I let go & fell into rest. And I didn't feel pain; I felt gratitude for being alive; I felt peace. I knew that what I was experiencing was rare for me; I knew that at some point, I’d have to get up & leave the beach & it would be over. I knew that tomorrow morning, I'd be back to another week of work, where rest is even more rare. Yet in that moment, I chose to sink deeper. I chose to receive with my hands open rather than fight it or try to hang onto it with closed fists.
And now that the afternoon is over, the evening is winding down, & I'm preparing for my week ahead, I wouldn’t have missed my afternoon at the beach for anything. It may be over but I'm changed because of it. I come to the end of the weekend more rested & more able to face the week ahead.
Change is inevitable, and loss, even though it feels so unnatural when it happens to us, we know is a natural part of life. How then will we live? Will we deprive ourselves & go without because pleasure is so fleeting & we can never get enough? Or will we allow ourselves to really be in this moment, in this relationship, in this season as it comes, knowing that we can’t always hold onto it; knowing that we can’t always control what’s right around the bend; knowing that we may be left wanting & longing when enjoyment is over?
Will we allow good things into our life that will connect us to our body and our heart? When pleasure is what we're afraid of, we will miss out on the very things that will nourish our hearts and body - the simple pleasure of giving of ourselves, of enjoying & being enjoyed, of loving & letting ourselves be loved. Simple... but sometimes oh so scary to give & receive.