Surviving Riptides

So I'm floating peacefully and playing in the waves just off the beach in the great Atlantic Ocean when suddenly I am being pulled by the sea out into the deep. My heart pounds. I know I am caught in a riptide. I think about the lady from Minnesota who drowned in a riptide last year. I know it is pointless to swim directly toward shore. The riptide is too strong to swim against it. So I try to swim sideways to get out of it, but I am still being swept out. I see a fisherman on shore and my wife and dog playing peacefully on the beach, on solid ground. I can see they don't know how helpless I feel, that anything's wrong. What an embarrasing way to die I think. I stretch one foot down as low as I can praying to feel the sandy floor. But there is nothing. I try swimming sideways some more and then stretch my foot down again and my toes feel the ocean floor. I try to pull myself toward shore with my foot. Finally, I am able to walk and get to shore. I am still panic stricken and panting. My wife hadn't noticed anything. I look down the beach and see my friend, a wise old surfer studying the surf. Reaching him, I say, "Guess what, I got caught..." He completes my sentence by saying..."in the riptide. I saw the whole thing." He says, "When you are in a riptide you just relax your breathing and gently float with it. You just let it take you out because soon it will dissipate and you can then easily swim back to shore. You don't put your foot down on the ocean floor because that is the way you get bit by sharks because there are alot of them and that is where they feed. Sharks are bottom feeders. The only time surfers get bitten is when they accidentally step on a shark." He adds, "Experienced surfers actually swim into the riptide because they use it to easily get out to where the better surfing waves are." He says, "Like life, you can turn this problem into an ally."  Pointing toward the sea, he adds "You can actually see riptides by noticing where the boils are in the surf...See there's one." He finally smiles and says, "Next time I want you to find the riptide and swim right into it and let it take you till it dissipates."



Breathe, relax, and do the right action in this moment.  Even best laid plans can be interrupted by sudden emergencies or surprises. Today I will not panic. I will do what is necessary but not overdo. I am not going to struggle against forces that are stronger than I am.  I cannot control the riptides. I am going to relax, breathe and float with them. I am not going to be impatient, anxious, or fearful. I will not panic or struggle, but just float, confidentally knowing they will dissipate. I am going to remember that the World has sharks and that they tend to attack desperate people rather than calm people. I am going to enjoy each riptide and gently swim back to shore when it releases me. I will remember that I can't fight the power of the great ocean. I will welcome the riptide and may even figure out how to use it to enhance my symbiotic relationship with Life. I may therefore choose to fearlessly swim right into problems for the riptides of life are unavoidable and the only thing that can hurt me is the fear, not the riptide.