Today’s reflection is by Chaplain Craig. He shows us how aspects of snorkeling and surfing demonstrate that when we relax, trust and breathe we can focus on the beauty that surrounds us even in the midst of chaos.
A patient’s husband told me this when I asked how he was coping with his wife’s impending death:
“I sometimes have to remind myself to breathe. It’s kind of like snorkeling – it’s easy to panic because we aren’t supposed to breathe under water, but if I have the sense enough to relax and concentrate on my breathing, I am able to focus on the beauty around me.”
Soon after that conversation, I read something similar about water, breathing and relaxing. This time it was related to surfing:
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do, you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax, and float.”
The writer goes on and says –
“I think it’s one reason I love surfing. It’s a reminder to relax and float. When change happens, when the environment is new, when the conversation shifts, are you willing to remain open to something new?
Of course this is much easier said than done. Learning to surf (or float) is not necessarily about your skill; I think it’s more about how well you understand and trust your surroundings – your relationship to the ocean.”
When I am faced with circumstances, I’m not necessarily comfortable with (much like the husband and his wife’s impending death, or a surfer in the middle of the ocean), I often ask myself these three questions:
- What do I think about this?
- What do I feel about this?
- What do I believe about this?
Going through this three-step process helps me slow down, breathe, and relax. The uncomfortable circumstances don’t disappear, but my relationship to them changes. They become easier to accept. By the time I get to the belief part – I can keep my head above water, float a little easier and see the beauty around me.