The entry in question is titled “Embracing the Ebb” and it’s a story about a queen who finds herself melancholy for no reason. The story unfolds to find a gardener who urges her to walk outside and take in the beauty around her. The problem is, it’s early November and everything is just past the peak of fall color and slowly fading away. The gardener ends the entry by telling the queen that the soul has seasons just like life, particularly the ebbs and flows. Just as summer is giving way to dormancy, so too does the soul have active and restful seasons. She encouraged the queen to “embrace the ebb” with the final admonition from a brass plaque on a sundial that read “this too shall pass.”
Deep stuff, and also elusive. The problem is, that beautiful story didn’t tell readers how to embrace the ebb. I’ve returned to this entry many times throughout my passage through young adulthood and into middle age, wondering what it means for me to do that when I find myself in the “in between” seasons.
This can be big or small. Obviously, writer’s block is something that often drives me to this entry. I’m used to writing every day, so when I hit the wall (as I typically do after publishing and, without fail, find myself at now) I wonder how I’m supposed to embrace this antsy feeling of nothing. People frequently ask me “how do you write all the time?” and I often reply “how do you not write?” It’s part of who I am, and when I don’t do it, it just seems wrong. It’s like not brushing my teeth, doing my workouts, or taking a shower. It just feels wrong not to write.
And yet, it happens. Those “in between” seasons happen in the everyday things as well as the larger issues of life. I can say from experience over the past two years that I’m glad it’s least the smaller things now. I’ve had enough major issues and life changes since 2020, and am grateful that life has settled back into the “normal everyday.” The issue is that I see “normal everyday” in a new light, so it seems new to me even though it’s something I’ve experienced countless times. The obvious answers harken to me, and yet my soul is taking a new look at this season and wondering if there’s more to it.
I was taking a walk on my morning break when the difference finally hit me: I’ve done it. I’ve embraced a new season of life, and that means I appreciate the ways that “normal” is a blessing differently than I did before. Boring is a blessing when you’ve dealt with illness and injury. The past two days have been challenging, but my comfort has been that there were no doctors, surgeries, ambulances, or emergency telephone calls involved. It was everyday aggravations. And I have to tell you, I never thought I’d say I’m thankful for it being everyday aggravations, but I am now. It’s still stressful and frustrating, but a new perspective helps you to find ways to let it go and move on, grateful that tomorrow is a new day.
I think she didn’t tell readers how to “embrace the ebb” because melancholy can come in many forms, and there are countless ways to turn it to gratitude for routine and a season of rest. Different things work at different times. As I sit in this ebb in late summer, I know that it’s coming from accomplishment and a prodding to change direction, both in my attitude and my writing. It’s time for me to get back out there and connect with the world. It’s time of me to find new themes and meanings, both in reality and fiction. I have accepted this new phase in life, and it’s time for me to build on that foundation of faith and acceptance to accomplish the new goals and dreams that it holds for me.
I was at the gas station this morning when that annoying TV screen blared out a lifestyle segment. In it, the hostess said that if you’re overwhelmed with stress, then focus on your feet connected to the ground. That’s a yoga and meditation thing. The goal is to get “grounded” in the moment so you can release the stress and tune in to yourself, in the world, as you are right now. I think that’s what “embracing the ebb” means for me. It’s about embracing and having gratitude for who I am and what my life is now so I can replenish the creative for the blessings that lie ahead in a bright, bold future.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.