The ebb and flow of life
Posted on 3rd February 2021 at 07:35
With our increasingly technological lives delivering just about anything we want, when we want it – and we’re not just talking about Amazon (!) – it’s easy to forget there’s much more to life than going full steam ahead all the time. The popular “busy, busy, busy” approach to life which can, all too easily, degenerate into being more like being a bull in a china shop.
Not only is it quite natural for our lives to ebb and flow, it’s essential they do.
The easiest way to see this in action is to take a look out of your window each morning. To note the subtle changes as the seasons turn. The ebb of the winter months, with the still point of the Winter Solstice, followed by the slow change back into the flow of the Spring and the Summer months.
While it may take a couple of weeks after the Winter Solstice to start seeing a difference, the change in energy is very obvious IF you look – and feel – for it. The pace then slowly builds, with signs of Spring appearing every day and, before you know it, Summer is here and the longest day – the Summer Solstice – beckons.
Then, the energy starts to change again. Subtle at first, but slowly becoming more and more obvious. The flow is still there but, below, is the ebb as the Summer harvests are gathered in and the gradual slowing down to Autumn becomes more noticeable.
While it’s easiest to see this cycle of ebb and flow in the world around us, it applies equally to us. After all, we are still part of the natural world, even if it’s easy to forget… And, we’ve all felt it at some time or other, if not on an ongoing basis.
Coming closer to home, it can be seen by starting to notice how our own energy fluctuates during the day. The ebb of the evening, as we wind down from the day; the welcome sleep during the night. And then, while we’re still asleep, the flow starts again as our body starts to prepare for the day ahead.
During the first part of the night, our blood pressure slowly falls until it reaches its lowest point around 3am. Along with all our other body rhythms, it then starts to rise, preparing us for the start of a new day. Flow takes over from ebb. And another day begins. Our energy and activity levels rise, peaking in the middle of the day, before slowly starting to fall back to the evening.
It can be seen in many other cycles. For women, it’s much more obvious with the monthly cycle – linked to the lunar month, not the calendar month – but men have their own cycle too. It’s just not so obvious. The cycle of our lives and beyond.
But it doesn’t stop there. It can be seen in every other aspect of our lives too. At home, work, relationships. Regardless of what it is, there are times when we’re much more active, energetic and vibrant. Focussed on the external world, in the flow and “doing.” It’s the time of fruition, with a visible end result in some form or other.
Then there are times when we’re much more passive, focussed on our internal world. However, this doesn’t mean we’re being lazy or idle. Quite the opposite. It simply means that things are happening below the surface. We’re in more of an ebb state, having switched from “doing” to “be-ing.”
In many ways, these ebb times are much more important. They’re our regenerative and creative time, when we’re mulling over what we’d like to do next. Not only does it help us decide what to do, but is critical to how successful – or not – the later, more active phase will be.
It’s the time when our feelings and imaginations nudge us in the direction we desire and, as they build, we start moving out into the flow of a more active phase. Momentum builds until, suddenly, everything magically drops into place. The end result we’ve been envisaging materialises. In varying degrees of success. To us and those around us.
And, if you think it doesn’t apply to everything in your lives, you’re mistaken. Whether it’s a simple thing you do on autopilot every day or the longer term, completely new things, they all go through the same process. Ebb and flow.
Being aware of the natural ebb and flow in our lives helps us achieve things much more easily. It also allows us to ensure our timing is right. And, again, we’ve all made the mistake of trying to force things to happen too early – or at a certain time or in a certain way – when they just don’t want to.
Often, it’s due to other factors we’re not aware of that need to fall into place. Or, perhaps, a hint to take another look at our plans or desires. To go back to the drawing board in some way.
Sometimes it’s simply telling us we already have enough on our plates. Or getting us to take a look at our motivations. Are they coming from someone else, rather than ourselves?
Whatever the underlying reason, if we ignore it, it’s like trying to push water uphill. Incredibly hard work, with very little result to show for it. It’s when we find ourselves having to rely on sheer willpower, with all too predictable results…
However, these simple observations seem to be at odds with the current emphasis on “doing.” Being “busy, busy, busy” and, ideally, letting everyone know just how busy we are (!).
Whether you’re in the ebb or flow, the key to making the most of it – and there are benefits to both – is to relax and go with it. Whatever it is, simply accept it. Don’t try and fight against it or force it. Let your feelings guide the way and you’ll feel as the energy starts to change. Then, before you know it; you’re off again. The “busy, busy, busy” approach – or bull in the china shop (!) – may be dramatic, but there are easier ways to get a much better result.
As always, the choice is yours.
Photograph by unknown author
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