Ebb & Flow


The Pagan Experience’s Monday Musing: Any writing for the letters E or F – We are keeping this familiar format on week 4 for those who have joined from the Pagan Blog Project.


[Photo by John Mee]


E is for ebb, F is for flow

the rhythm of life, like the breath

living awen, inspire and grow

expire and draw back, like death

to and fro, above and below

ever-moving requires some rest


I think it’s important in a time-oriented culture… in an achievement-oriented culture… to remember the nature of life. Being a living creature means going AND stopping. It means working AND sleeping. Living AND dying. It’s not OR. It’s both.

Like disowning death, disowning rest and withdrawal has dire consequences, in the end. Is it any wonder we have endemic anxiety problems in our society? Our cultural script is telling us we must GO GO GO! Pausing means you’ll miss the train!

But pauses are essential. Denying and becoming overly afraid of what is natural and whole makes for personal and cultural illness. It is unbalanced. Acceptance of what is helps the flow of our own life, and all life. Acceptance also makes it easier to make changes that help the flow, if we clearly see what might be stuck, and move to change it rather than denying that it exists or that we have will and power to change things. Or that we have need of rest as well as action. We must work with what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is bodies and minds that need rest. Energy will flow and it will ebb, and we have to make room for both if we are to be healthy.

I am at a stage in my life where I finally see what they mean about time speeding up when you get older. It wasn’t just a cute way to say that they’re busy. The flow of time I’m swimming in really does seem to be moving faster. The rest I’m used to allowing myself to have ends up feeling like it’s not enough, and my tasks rush up to meet me before I feel I’ve even settled in for my ebb. The edges of days blur and blend. A week whizzes by like a long day. The train of weeks is flying down the track. The sleeper car keeps bouncing me back to the engine to throw more coal into the fire.

So I have a new rhythm to get used to. I might have to power-nap. Or find a way to slow the time-stream. Or speed myself up to match it so it feels normal?

I have found myself in a mental ebb, lately, and despite having always had much to say, I’ve been in a more observant, resting state that doesn’t have an urge to speak. That happens sometimes. I’m trying to respect that and trust that my voice will re-emerge soon. I have recently gained opportunities to speak out, and I really don’t want to miss them, so some fear has seeped in. I want to be able to perform well, not be in the midst of a glassy-eyed stare. But perhaps the timing is nature’s way of putting me exactly where it needs me. Perhaps I need to be observant right now, and quieter for a little while, so I’ll catch something before I speak.

Luckily, I can backdate this very post, because I’m writing it a week later than the date it was meant for. I just didn’t have it in me, last week. It’s my personal spirituality blog, like a journal, so even though I’m participating in the Pagan Experience’s weekly topics, I gave myself the leeway to do it when I’m able, and slip it into place a little late. I could have even skipped a week, if I’d wanted. So I’m taking care of myself, and keeping up, more or less, with the project (better than the last couple of years where I didn’t even make it to March!). But I still feel the cultural pressure to be on the ball, and have to remind myself that off the ball is a valid place to be, too. I can flow back into the world when my internal tide is drawing me outward. Perhaps it’s turning already.


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