Waves of Engagement

Life is like a wave-filled ocean, it’s constantly barraging us with “waves of engagement”. In other words, life is forcing us to participate by sending challenges our way. If we’re happy, it’ll send sadness, if we’re calm, it’ll send agitation.

But sometimes we get hit so hard by a particular wave that we fail to recover before the next one arrives. In this way, feelings such as anger or sadness can start to build up. This cascade of negativity can eventually drown us if we don’t do something about it.

How does one escape a rip-current? One method is to relax and float along with the current until its pull weakens, then swim back to shore. The other method is to immediately swim off to the side, out of its pull, and then swim back to shore. Trying to get back to shore by directly swimming against a rip-current, only leads to exhaustion and the potential for drowning.

So if we’re already sad or angry, getting even sadder or angrier only leads to exhaustion and the potential for drowning in our negative emotions. We’ll eventually reach a point where we hate life itself. One method of escape from this negative path, is to relax and ride out the emotion, no longer fighting it, or dwelling on it, just dispassionately observing. Another method is to sidestep the emotion, taking life less seriously while laughing at its absurdity, and ignoring life’s attempts at agitation.

Neither method is easy when we’re caught off guard and find ourselves swept up in a current of negativity. But swimming against the current is even harder, and will likely lead to drowning. Sometimes it helps to hear someone shouting instructions from solid ground. Do you hear that?