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1 Apr 2016

The Ocean as a Tool for Overcoming Anxiety

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Or, “G-d is also the Ocean”

Wave in LightI love working with my clients. They teach me to live the texts. In some way I’m my own first client. I always say that The Method grew out my intention to thrive rather than just survive. But having to help someone else makes the process that much deeper and more lasting.

And so this week, after I’d had numerous clients share their anxiety with me, I began paying attention to my daily study routine, trying to receive insight on how to handle worry. I find that all the answers are right there. Out in the world. Coming our way. When we ask the question and set the intention, the answers are revealed to us.

One of mine came to me via a poetic verse in Psalms. King David writes, “G-d on High is more powerful than the sound of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea.” (Psalm 93:4)

I love the ocean – walking alongside it, swimming within it, watching it when it’s too wild to enter. As I read the verse, what struck me is the enormous (incomprehensible really) power of G-d. I know I can’t just “let go” in the sea. It’d carry me away. Its strength is way beyond me. And yet all the waves in the entire world cannot approximate the Power Who Contains and Directs Each Ocean Wave. So much peace in that realization.

We experience anxiety because our understanding of “G-d” is inaccurate. We’re not relating to G-d but to a projection of our own limitations. And that’s why we have a hard time surrendering. And that’s why we’re anxious. When you experience ‪‎anxiety‬, think of the Creator’s power in King David’s terms to facilitate a release.

On my Facebook page, I posted this Personal Prayer in connection with the Psalm:

G-d you easily contain the energy and force of all the oceans. Every wave is as nothing to you. All of them together are less to You than a dandelion seed in my hand. It is only because I project limitation onto You that I feel unsafe. Help me to perceive You accurately and to surrender to you as the Power on High that is more powerful than the waves of the sea.”

I was thinking about all this as I took a walk at the beach.

(You can see the video on my original Facebook post. “G-d is also the ocean” Posted by The Kabbalah Coach on Friday, April 1, 2016)

Being there reminded me of one of my favorite parenting stories:

One spring I stood with my twins at the ocean’s edge. The tides were remarkably high. The only other time I recall that powerful a back pull was as a young child myself. I must have been about eight I think. The beach was on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal in a remarkable place called Amanzimtoti. There was spray all around us and we couldn’t see the horizon for the waves. The air was rich with the fragrance of seaweed. And the waves gushed back to the heart of the ocean so fast, my heels sunk deeply into the sand. My dad held my hand tight and I felt that any moment, the waters might scoop me up and wash me away. Holding my boys’ hands decades on, the power of the waves again touched my heart with trepidation only this time as a mom.

That night, I put the twins to sleep. They thanked me and spoke about the beach and sea. As I walked past their room some minutes later, I heard them talking. Their conversation made a deep impact on me. It went something close to this:

“The waves were big today.”

“Yes!”

“I was scared.”

“Me too.”

Silence.

“But you know Mendy, G-d is also the ocean.”

Wow. G-d is also the ocean. And G-d contains and directs the ocean. How much peace would be available to us if we got it that even the things we don’t like come from on High and that the Source of all reality holds us and has our back.

Sun in the Sand

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