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Sunday, 31 May 2015

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Let life follow its own tide

There is a tide in the affairs of men. / Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; / Omitted, all the voyage of their life / Is bound in shallows and in miseries. / On such a full sea are we now afloat, / And we must take the current when it serves, / Or lose our ventures.
- William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar Act 4, Scene 3

If you ever went to the beach as a child, you will know what happens to sandcastles when the tide comes in. You build this fantastic sand castle, on a visit to the beach. Then the tide starts to creep in. What do you do? You slap a retaining wall around your castle. You frantically dig trenches to divert the water, but it is all to no avail.

The tide is a power that cannot be stopped; and finally, your beautiful castle is gone. No trace of it remains. Thus, time and tide wait for no one is an English proverb that tells us to work with time and tide, not against it. So often in life, we try to hold out against the tide. We want the cool and comfortable months of the rainy season to last longer. We do not want to age and grow old. We cling to a love, a relationship, or friendship that has lost its substance.

We fall sick and are in denial about our illness. We realise not, that it is important to be in harmony with time, with seasons, with the tides of our life; for the tide keeps its course, whatever be its nature.

Stitched

Therefore, do not try to stop the waves from rolling in, or the sun from rising. In the end, the waves will roll, the sun will set, and death will come. The only thing you have a choice in is how you deal with it, when it does happen. Hence, if, and when the tide of life turns against you; and the current upsets your boat; do not waste tears on what might have been. Just lie on your back and float; and ride the waves. Life consists of moments stitched together; and no one can ever judge, what tide and time has in store for you.

But always remember that the lowest ebb is the turn of the tide and there will come a rising tide that lifts all boats. Therefore, give wind and tide a chance to change; because, the tide never goes out so far but it always comes in again.

Parallel

Often we give up, just before the tide of fortune turns. The stories of successful people show that it is important to keep on going - even beyond what seems reasonable. When we try to effect a change, we have to be patient. It sometimes takes a while for a change of course to show. Thus, be patient. Do not dig out a plant to see if its roots are growing.

I have noticed that when we try to change something major in our life, there is a difficult point - the lowest ebb. That is when you can see clearly, what needs to be changed; but it seems impossible. Courage and faith are at its lowest ebb at such moments.

However, when you look back, you realise that it is exactly at that low moment that the beginning of change was marked. Sometimes in the ocean of life, there is a rip current. With rip currents, there is a powerful flow of water going back out to sea and the natural reaction of the swimmer is to panic and swim directly toward the shore to safety. However, this is the most dangerous route. Many swimmers die from drowning - not because of the rip current itself, but because of the exhaustion of fighting it.

The safest route for the swimmer is either to swim parallel to the shore or to flow with the current further out to sea.

This way the swimmer does not spend much energy fighting the rip current. Sadly, many swimmers die in rip currents every year. If they had been taught to, "go with the flow"; they would have saved their lives.

Hence, bear in mind that despite the sea of life being wild, and the waves rolling away from the shore, the tide always returns; and after every ill wind, the well wind will return.

Like the ocean, life ebbs and flows. "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors" is an African proverb. The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are to the ocean as they are to life.

There is a Thai saying to the effect that "at high tide fish eat ants; at low tide ants eat fish." What it means is that it is in the nature of ants to drown in water when the tide rises, and for the fish to eat them. Likewise, it is in the nature of fish to die when stranded in low tide, and ants to eat them.

Dignity

All of this is dependant on the tide, and is an example of the circle of life - for everything there is a season...When bad things happen, it may be difficult to stay calm; but if instead, we thrash around in panic, we are sure to drown; and become like sand castles in the tide, slowly washing out to sea.

The captain of a ship can run a great ship, but he cannot do anything about the tides. Similarly, we may lead a great life, but cannot do much to shape the events of life other than to accept them as they unfold. As the tides of life rise and fall, life will not remain a constant. Persistence is the key in high and low times.

Life is not fair - get used to it! The world does not care about your self-esteem.

The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. Flipping burgers in a fast food joint is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it a start, an opportunity. You will not make Rs.600,000 a year right out of high school.

You will not be a vice-president of a company with a smart phone until you earn both. Instead, if you mess up your life aiming for the sky at the start of your life, it is not your parents' fault. So do not whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Before you were born, your parents were not as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own

We are all identical drips and drops of people, hovering, waiting to be tossed and turned, waiting for someone to show us the way, to pour us down a path. Instead, transform yourself into a beautiful person.

The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen, they become. Recognize that happiness in life is not a matter of events; it depends upon the tides of the mind.

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