My first job - ever - was teaching swim lessons to 2 to 5 year olds. Aside from just convincing the little cherubs to brave the cold water each morning, the greatest challenge for most little kids was to float on their back. Their once wiggly and soft bodies instantly became rigid and wiry, and their heads, cradled by my hand, would defy the surface of the water as though the liquid itself posessed an unbreakable forcefield.
Learning to float, for many of us, continues to be a challenge well into adulthood. So often we find ourselves flailing just to keep up with our own lives, or falling into a daily routine that feels foreign, flat, and inauthentic. In these times, we can choose to continue on, worried to rock the boat or challenge our own status quo. Alternatively, we can choose the far easier path to relax, let go, and float. Bouyed by our sincere intention to rise above our current patterns of self-doubt, fear, insecurity, and ego, we can float in a space of infinite ease and grace. Lifted by breath, we can hear our heart speak and allow intuition to guide us.
Just like the rest of our life - in which we've learned over 20 or 30 or 60 years to put our heads down and get through it - we have to train. We have to learn. Just enough relaxed effort is required to learn to catch ourselves in our ingrained habits of seeing or feeling or experiencing life.
The key to effortless buoyancy, whether in a swimming pool or in life, is to keep the heart wide and lifted. We do this with practice in not shutting down with criticism and instead inviting differing viewpoints to inform, change, or even confirm our own. We do this by using the adversity and difficulty we encounter as opportunity to witness our courage and creativity blossom. And we do it in relationships when we let ourselves be loved and cared for in equal measure with loving and caring for others. All of these feats require a letting go of the edge, of trusting the breath, and letting the heart lead.