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Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April StormsOur Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April Storms

Finding Spiritual Buoyancy
by Dwight Pope

Situations in life can turn so quickly, they hit us like a hot lead slug, piercing our chest at first with a numbing pain. Then the weight of it all moves through our systems rapidly causing a tide of fear that can overwhelm us. Sometimes we feel powerless and find ourselves sinking in the cool water of despair. These are just some of life’s many obstacles, Spiritual Tsunami, waves of emotions brought on by tragedy, heartaches, and unforeseen circumstances.

One can easily be overtaken with life’s stresses; they weigh on us and wear us down emotionally. Many people spiral into the abyss of depression. A lack of balance of our spiritual and mental state of being leads to all kinds of ailments and other side effects, physical and emotional abuse and self destruction. In any case, large or small, simple or tragic, perception plays a key role as to how we govern ourselves and navigate this turbulence.

It is natural to react to the unknown. Charged with a rush of adrenaline, we work overtime pumping out information which floods our thoughts and minds into a state of confusion. This mental thrashing about in the waters of emotions can create a spiritual fatigue that can offset perception and cause a form of drowning in which we emotionally suffocate. Though it may not cause a physical death, the damage to us and the impact to others can be just the same.

When faced with Tsunamis, the first thing to remember is that we don’t have to drown. Anything that happens in the natural happens in the spirit first. One of the things that we learn when taking swimming lessons is that we can’t drown unless we panic. Panicking causes us to thrash in the water. Thrashing causes either fatigue or the body to take in water, in which case we can drown.

We are equipped with natural buoyancy that will allow us to float, if we are still. Spiritually we have the same buoyancy, but we have to start by getting control of our perception of things. We can do this by being still, settling our minds and thoughts, slowing down the internal chatter of adrenaline charged emotions. Being still separates us from our fears, it opens the door to spiritual solutions, and we learn to listen at a deeper level and not to react.

Experience has taught me that the most critical time to find buoyancy is in the beginning moments of facing any difficulty. That sudden impact etches an imprint or impression in our minds, which is fear-driven. The fear impression creates a mental block that shapes our perception of things. Perception controls everything, because it shapes what we accept as our reality.

I knew of a man over six feet tall, who couldn’t swim. He was afraid of water, but his friends talked him into going canoeing. While on the trip canoeing in just three and a half feet of water, he fell out of the canoe. Because of his fear and perception of the situation he almost drowned until someone said, “Stand up!” The water barely reached his waist, but his fear had shaped a distortion of the reality. He could have floated or stood up; either way he was safe.

Each of us has within ourselves a buoyancy that will allow us to survive almost any situation. Taking control of our fear in the first moments is critical to finding balance. Spiritual buoyancy is a gift given to us for our survival. So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed with emotions, be still, find peace within yourself, and know. Remember, hope floats!