lie back – a meditation

the sea


Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

Philip Booth — First Lesson

I love this image of a father teaching his young daughter to survive in the sea. He knows that she will soon be swimming off on her own, independent, and that he won't be there to support her. And the program has taught me this, that I cannot control all the circumstances my loved ones might encounter. That it is not my job to fix everything for them. That the best I can do is to teach them to float in the ocean of life.

This poem also reminds me that sometimes it is better to stop and rest than to keep on thrashing towards a goal. In fact, it may be life saving to take that pause. If I am too tired, continuing on my thrash, I may not be able to keep myself afloat, and will drown. So, I will remember to pause, to “lie gently and wide to the light-year stars”, and let the sea hold me for a time, until I am refreshed and ready to go on.

A meditation for August 20, 2013.

The Moody Blues: Floating

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