Rhythms, Tides, Waves, Sine Curves, and the Ebb and Flow of Life

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I’ve been riding the swells of my moods lately, dipping into sadness, rising into joy, then back again. When I looked back at what I was writing a year ago, I see I was talking about the very same theme. I wonder if this is a bad thing, this apparent wallowing in the same topics, if I am not moving on, moving forward. Or if the continued exploration is just my getting deeper into an important rhythm of my life, a critical component of who I am.


I feel frustrated, sometimes, by the fact that I seem to write the same thing over and over. When I slide down the trough into another sad day, I often feel like I’ve failed, that somehow all this work to be more present, more engaged, more patient, has amounted to nothing and my hands are as empty and grasping as ever. Shouldn’t I be getting more steady, more happy, more mature?


Maybe not. It’s gradually sinking in (I’m slow, I know) that the up and down of happiness and sadness, of life and loss, will continue no matter what. I’ve described this pattern as a sine curve before, but it also reminds me of waves, of tides, of the waxing and waning moon, of some fundamental drumbeat of truth that happens deep inside my body. It is as unavoidable as the turning forward of time and as essential as air; both a reflection of and somehow animated by the natural world.


What I am beginning to suspect, though, is that it is actually in this slow, meandering oscillation, both rhythmic and random, that life exists. I return again and again in my writing and in my thinking to this space, the space in between, to the inscrutable and unknown force that sets the cadence of these movements. Is this another example of dwelling, and not growing, or is it just that I continuing to tell one of the elemental stories of my life?


Maybe my whole life, and all my writing, is simply my search for metaphors to express this. Maybe, as to my son’s blue eyes, I’m being drawn somewhere that I just don’t understand yet. Maybe the way I return over and over to these themes is just an echo of the mountainous up-and-down terrain of my emotional landscape. I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

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