I'm in the midst of rehearsals for another play, and last night's rehearsal was really difficult. The director was very patient with me, but it was clear that no matter how I played the scene he wasn't getting what he wanted from me -- not a problem I've had before to such an extent (though I've only been acting for 10 years), so it was pretty disconcerting.
Some part of me was embarrassed, and wanted to apologize to him and to the other players for taking up all their valuable time and not delivering the goods. But for the most part I was amused, and more than willing to keep trying different approaches to the scene in an attempt to give him what he was looking for. It was nice -- and a little surprising -- to see that my inner well of insecurity wasn't being tapped.
Looking at this image this morning helped me understand how it was that I could maintain my equilibrium under fire. I think it's because, at this moment in my life, my tide is relatively high. I understand that that could change at any moment, but I'm very grateful that -- for the time being, at least -- I'm feeling pretty resilient.
When the tide is low, as you can see in this image, lots of things get exposed; the ruins of elaborate defense structures from the past have a way of surfacing, of poking their heads up and reminding us of what has gone before, of past coping mechanisms and insecurities, of all the ways we've tried over the years to bolster our egos or to compensate for our sense of isolation or abandonment.
But when the tide is high and the basin is full, a lot of those rough edges disappear, and we find ourselves more able to float, to ride with the waves, to relax and let the tides and currents carry us.
I think we humans have low and high tides as well: times when we feel particularly vulnerable, and times when we seem to be able to relax and go with the flow. And while some of that ebb and flow is inevitable, I do believe that meditation and/or prayer have a way of raising our inner water level, of filling the basin and enhancing our inner buoyancy. Something about maintaining that divine connection allows us to be more flexible, less self-absorbed, less likely to fly off the handle or sink into despair.
Not that that's necessarily why we do it. But it helps...