Calming the Kraken
I broke through the surface and grasped a lungful of air before falling back into the arms of inky darkness. Eight tentacles wrapped their way around my body. One crept into my head and, synapse by synapse, fried my brain. Another slithered into my chest and palpated my heart forcing an irregular, painful, pace. A third speared my gut agitating a wicked brew of corrosive bile. My limbs bound in iron bonds. An arm caressed its way around my neck. It’s suction caps sliding smoothly into place. How had it come to this?
Setting out, breaking away from the crowd to sail my own course had been an enticing invitation. To not “be a sheep” and to, “get out of the rut”, had been carrots I couldn’t refuse. So, step by trepidatious step, I had inched my way into the water. A crew of well-wishes and supporters cheered from the security of the shore as I made my way into the unknown. Waves of nerves and exhilaration lapped at my ankles as I boarded the raft. “Don’t die wondering”—a memory of an idea, a dream, a kernel of hope—like a cool breeze, invigorated my unsteady joints. I could do this.
Riding the tides, coasting the waves, making my way, was far more than I could have dreamed. Navigating storms, charting the unknown, constantly tacking between intense highs and overwhelming exhaustion was … what? Intoxicating? Too small a word. Challenging? Doesn’t come close. Eye-opening? Too insignificant to describe the experience. Like marriage, childbirth and grief, what vocabulary could I use to convey truth to the uninitiated.
It was no “perfect storm” that had me unstuck. Nothing worse than any other I had learned to negotiate. It was over-reach. Vanity. Abandoning my raft, I had forged onward into the eye truly alone and adrift. Blindly venturing beyond wisdom, I’d flown too close to the sun and like mist on a summer morning, a mirage in a desolate wasteland, my wings melted. And I crashed into the arms of the abyss.
But here I learned. The depths birth knowledge. The darkness brings light. The battle slays ignorance. It was never me driving or determining. My raft supported. The ocean steered. The wind spurred. I was merely a passenger along for the ride. Yes, I had rudder in hand, but at the mercy of the sea.
Quietening my soul, I stopped fighting the Kraken. I surrendered to the knowledge I could not win this battle by fighting. I could survive this battle by submitting; submitting to the knowledge I was fallible. Accepting the knowledge, I had fallen. Strengthened by the knowledge I could resurface, return, and try again.
Tentacles were loosed by the steel of my calm. Spat out, no longer entertaining pray, exhausted and humbled, I clawed my way back onto my raft. Once again standing secure, eyes to the horizon, rudder in hand, wind drying my drenched hair and a cool breeze invigorating my unsteady joints. I could do this.