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No Neutral Moments: Drowning in the Current

I’ve been feeling neutral. 

Like I am floating through life on a current, unsure of my next move.  

Observing, resting, sitting back and watching how other people move through the water. 

Some are swimming powerfully in a very defined direction- constantly progressing, pushing, often alone. 

Some move in schools mindlessly, relying on the pack around them to guide their every movement. 

Still others are flailing their arms, using every ounce of energy in their bodies fighting against the current, trying not to drown, gasping for breath. Afraid, or too tired, or too inexperienced, or to prideful to ask for help.

 But we are all here, in this same ocean, in this same current, all of us along for the ride.

 ***

I heard the phrase about a month ago at a new church we’ve been attending.  It seems to be one of half a dozen mantras this church has embraced. They say it almost every week in some context.  They have made mugs with the phrase, and t-shirts can’t be to far behind, and for good reason. It has stuck with me and made me re-evaluate how I exist on a daily basis.  It’s simple, as most wisdom is, but far more complex the deeper you dig. 

Three simple words – “NO NEUTRAL MOMENTS.”

 At first it seemed fluffy. “Oh how nice, every moment counts, everything we do matters, it has value, we have value, nothing is lost. Fantastic news.”

Then it felt heavy.  “Wait, EVERYTHING I do matters.  No free passes?  No fail days that I can just pretend didn’t happen?  No eraser?  No greys? Everything is black and white?  I am either nailing it or failing it. SHIT.”

Were these words inspiring me or just pushing me towards resentment.  I wasn’t sure, but they wouldn’t leave me alone.  So I tucked them in the back of my mind and let them make camp, hoping they would either explain themselves or go away.

 ***

A few weeks went by,

We were at church again. I closed my eyes and let the music surround me.

I let the rhythm of the drums rock me gently from side to side.

I let the vibrations of the guitar connect me, ground my feet to where I was then spread to all my limbs like a tree.  I was moving and immovable simultaneously. 

I let the words sink deep into my heart, pushing themselves around, making room, stretching me like a new yoga pose that hurts so good.  Hot tears leaking out of my eyes, a by-product of untethered feeling, of cleansing.

I was fully present, doing nothing and everything all at once. 

Disconnected from the world at large, completely connected to what was all around me.

I was just there, but just there was all I needed to be.

I was floating again, but this time it felt like fresh air and freedom, there was nothing neutral about it.

 ***

Maybe No neutral moments wasn’t necessarily a command to go big or go home.  Maybe it didn’t mean that I was always in either the "Nailing it" or "Failing it" camps, with a giant barbed wire fence in between. 

Maybe it didn’t mean life was an either/ or equation.

Either a good mom or a bad mom.

Either a good wife or a bad wife.

Either a good friend or a bad friend.

Either a good daughter or a bad one.

Either a good Christian or a bad one.

Either a success or a failure.

Either a creator or a destroyer.

Either winning or losing.

Maybe, I was the one who was telling those 3 words camping in my head what they should mean, and maybe I was wrong.

Maybe No neutral moments was just a simple reminder that no matter what we are doing, good or bad, we aren’t powerful enough to get stuck.  We literally can’t be neutral.

What if it means that whether we are the ones swimming hard with the current, the ones fighting against it, or the ones floating through it….

The current is not neutral. 

It’s always moving, and we are always wrapped in its loving, guiding, purposeful rhythm.

And when we are fighting, scared, confused and depleted.  When we think we are alone and can’t keep going, the current is there, holding us up, making us stronger, showing us parts of the ocean we didn’t know we needed to see, giving us perspective.  

And when everything hurts, it is not the current that is creating the pain, but our resistance to the current. And even in our pride, the current is still propelling us forward, despite our fighting and ignorance that it exists at all.

And eventually, when we have no fight left, when we are tired and feel like drowning would be easier than living in a state of constant exhaustion…

we have the option to rest in the current, to float, to give up control and let it take us where it wants us to go, until we are ready to swim with it. 

Then, when we finally embrace it’s power and path, when we find our own movement within it, when we let it lead us, we will find our strength amplified, we will find our progression becomes exponential, and we discover an entire ocean that we never knew could be ours.  

 

Even then, some days we will forget and we will fight the current. Yet, the current with remain steady, strengthening us in our ignorance yet again.

And some days we will rest, we will float, we will trust and we will be reminded that we can’t mess things up, that we can’t stop the current.  We will remember that we are stronger when we swim with it.  And we will understand that jumping back in does not mean starting over.  Because the current never stopped.

 There are NO NEUTRAL MOMENTS, because fighting, floating, or swimming all happens in the current, and the current is never neutral.

 

Sending Love, Light and Growth,

Nicole

 

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
Albert Einstein

 

 ***Ocean Totem Mandala Print by Nicole B Roberts ($16-$25)