Thursday, September 2, 2010

{the struggle, and it's gifts}

Underwater Self Portrait
Self Portrait - Great Barrier Reef - 2010

I'm not entirely sure when the struggle began.  Was it in April when I lost my job, and the lack of structure and routine tipped my balance completely?  Or was it last year when my world was ripped asunder by the death of my oldest friend?  Did it all derail 4 years ago when Ms L became chronically ill?  Or was it even further back when I became deeply dissatisfied with my career around 10 years ago?  

I've been pondering this, trying to pinpoint the moment when I felt like my life really became hard.  For some reason I thought that if I could identify the beginning I could somehow work from that moment to 'fix' things, and there would be no more struggles from here on in!

Suddenly (as in lightening bolt moment) I've realised that the struggle has no one starting point, and nor is it a constant, even though I had mistakenly come to believe that it is.  The struggle I see, is a wave, cresting and falling throughout my life.  Sometimes it takes the form of a large swell, bobbing me around and leaving me with a slight sea sickness.  Other times it's a raging ocean, tossing me around, drowning me, spitting me out on the beach gasping for air.

But I see now that there are other waves, and other seas in my life too.  Gentle calm waters that hold me afloat for months on end.  Gorgeous surf for diving and frolicking, making me feel young and free.  Great adventures out at sea that open my eyes and lead to new ways of being in the world.

And now I also see the gifts.  I see that the struggle never leaves us without gifts, if we are open to receiving them.  For me it's been trust, and art, and purpose, and friendships, and strength, and love.

I feel like I'm seeing things clearly for the first time.  The tides that move through my life.  The way things always change and always will. I thought I knew this stuff already but somehow this knowing is different.  It's coming from a much deeper and stronger part of myself.

It seems to me right now I'm out at sea, floating peacefully face down, completely captivated by the tropical reef world below.


  1. This is a beautiful post Cathy. Very thought provoking.

  2. I was talking to my mum today (wise women, these mums) and she said something I found very profound. I was talking about my recent and fiery crash after yet another Soul Sucking Ex, and saying I wished I could just catch a break in life for once. She told me I catch plenty of breaks - I just don't realise them, because your attention is always drawn to times that are hard work. In times of smooth sailing your attention is elsewhere. Which forced me to sit down and try and think of all the good things that have happened to me lately, and I was surprised at how many there were! I hope your good times outnumber your bad :)

    Holly xx

  3. So thoughtful. What a stunning photo. Be good to yourselfXx

  4. Beautiful photo, & inspiring words. Qld brings out the best in people ;) take care xxx

  5. Life is a stage and we are all actors

    I always think that this should also refer to the different acts or scenes of our lives which can change with little rhyme or reason but are all part of the big picture. It definitely seems to apply with parenting and childrens' changes but can also do so with older lives too. Cherrie

  6. Yin, yang, calm and crazy..... yep - we travel through it all. Glad you've reached a calm, clear patch. I like what Holly's Mum says, too.

    Keep traveling, love! Enjoy the ride.

  7. Love the analogy with the waves growing and crashing, calm spells and havoc times. Very good analogy. Here's to calm seas for a while!

  8. awesome post cathy - life is a journey xx

  9. Yes to all of this. The gifts are always there, always.
    Love the self-portrait. Aahh to be floating in tropical waters... such a good idea, that!