The ocean, the electric, the ashes, and the lilypad.

Scan of a Kodachrome slide of a photograph taken by my grandmother, Anzie Glover, in Colorado, probably in the 50s.

Scan of a Kodachrome slide of a photograph taken by my grandmother, Anzie Glover, in Colorado, probably in the 50s.

I have learned, through observation, that I cycle through energetic spaces.

Susan Greene helped me realize this when she worked with me as a life coach.*

These spaces are: the ocean, the electric, the ashes, and the lilypad.

I dive deep into my cool, calm center. I am gently suspended, lovingly held, by the quiet of the wide open ocean. All is clear, and I can see for miles. I float in my knowing, in my clarity. I am not pulled by the wild weather at the surface. The unsettled winds cannot reach me. I am anchored here in peaceful understanding. Currents come and softly alert me to the movement of my life, to the sensation in my limbs. I am fluid, flowing. I am the same as the ocean, pulled rhythmically by the moon. The starlight dances on me from above. I hear the bubbles of all creatures around me. I feel the coastline of every patch of land on the planet. I feel the abundance of life. I am that. I freely access intuition and inspiration.

Inspiration creates a spark that ignites my fire-self. I am static electric, lighting up from the friction of the muses fiercely alive within me. I rocket skyward from the depths with a snarling grin, and I cackle into the wind with arms wide as lightning shoots from my fingertips. I am fully alight and burning brightly. For miles you can see me illuminating the heavens. For miles you can hear my howl, my roar. Wind and rain and snow swirl around me; the elements are under my control and the landscape is at my mercy. I cut canyons with the flick of a wrist and build mountains with the stomp of a foot. I swirl across the sky burning words into your mind. My screams are a melody that startles you awake. You cannot help but burn brighter, too, as my fire enters your heart. My creative power knows no bounds. I am blinding color and flame. I am unstoppable.

I fall. My fire has burned through every last molecule of fuel in my soul and quite suddenly I am plummeting from the sky. My muses have gone hoarse from yelling against my storm, and they have fallen silent. My electric self has covered too much of the sky, and my energy is not infinite. I see the rocks below, and I brace myself for impact. I hit hard, unceremoniously, and find myself shrouded in a cloud of ash - the charred remains of my fire. I am coughing and weak and blinded. I cannot find my breath or my heartbeat. Fear threatens to overtake me in my self-imposed isolation. I am, ungrounded, thin, and crumbling. I have no form. I turn blindly, buffeted by the winds of circumstance. To spite having smashed into the rocks before (and survived), I am confused and surprised to be here again and unsure if I will ever find a way out. I shake violently and cower.

The dust begins to settle. My violent shaking calms to a weak tremble. I find my way to the water’s edge as the ash sinks to mix with the mud at the bottom. I stumble on a slick rock and fall, thinking perhaps this time I will finally drown, only to find myself landing softly on a wide lilypad. I curl up tightly at the center. Quiet misty rains wash away the remains of the thick gray stuck to my body, and my skin is tender and raw under the open sky. I give myself time to rest, a closed blossom. I find my breath. I find my heartbeat. I remember who and where I am. I tune into the pulse of the leaf on which I rest, and through it, the pulse of the earth below. Slowly, I begin to unfurl, one sweet petal at a time. When I am once again open to the sun, I smile gratefully and slip soundlessly off the edge of the lilypad, back into the deep ocean.

And so it goes.

The basic nature of life is change: arising and passing away. There is no such thing as steady-state. This is an illusion. Tune into the cycles of your own life so that you may more skillfully engage at every stage. When you are in your calm center, take advantage of the peace found there and relish in the wholeness. When you are on fire in the sky, create with reckless abandon. When you are crumbling ashes on the rocks, know that it will not last forever. When you are slowly beginning to heal, be gentle with yourself.

These metaphors for the cycles of my own experience may not mirror yours, may not resonate with you, and may not even make sense to you. This is okay. Mine aren’t always exactly like this, anyway. I share them with you to offer, as always, an unapologetically authentic slice of my own reality - but also to invite you to reflect on what your relationship may be to the cycles of change in your own life. Do you embrace the flow? Do you resist it? How might you begin to tend to your relationship with change?

It is the only thing on which you can always rely - the in and out, the up and down.
If you are interested in diving into the practice of skillfully experiencing change, start with loving observation of the constant in and out alive within your own body: your breath.

As always, if you are curious and want to dig deeper, contact me and join the conversation.

Lovingly yours,
Spencer


*Note: if you have never worked with a life coach and you’re curious, please contact me! I cannot speak highly enough of Susan and the other Souluna life coaches in my circle.