undertow-smallIt’s something you have to deal with when you’re around moving water. Something you can’t see. You want to swim, the water looks inviting, when you get it it’s the right temperature and everything is flowing and then, whoosh, you are dragged under, disoriented, going in an unknown direction, and leaving everything you were and you had planned far behind. You may be able to get yourself out of this on your own if you recognize what’s happened and remember the steps, however you may need help from someone else. You may not get out of it at all. So too go relationships.

People are multilayered. They do things for more than just one straight forward purpose. Often they don’t even know all the motivations for what they are doing, although some very much do. Without paying attention to the posted signs, without checking out the history of the waters, we can think we’re entering into a benign swimming spot when we’re actually going into very deep waters that can pull us under. The other person might have needs they don’t show right away, needs so deep that they suck us in. They might have a dark night of the soul coming that will unleash old hurts and dark intents which could harm us. They might feel that it’s completely ok to rely on us while they completely let go of who they were and give in to their addictions, compulsions, depression, reactions, all of which can pull us under if we’re not aware. Some may even want to take us down and so removed every warning sign, scrubbed every notice that something might be amiss.

Undertow is not some evil lurking thing, it’s a part of life. People are complicated. Relationships are complicated. Living is a complicated thing. Connecting with others is not necessarily an upward virtuous spiral. Sometimes its a deep learning experience. We go in expecting one thing, and then it’s up to us what we want to do. We can struggle and flail, we can simply go deeper until we are no longer, or we can acknowledge the pull while at the same time swimming at right angles until we are released from it and can return to shore. We can make ourselves as visible as possible so those who are capable can come and help.  We’re not responsible for the undertow coming into existence, but we are responsible for what we do with ourselves once we’re in it. Trying to prevent an undertow situation is like trying to hold back the wind. Life is going to happen and you’re alive so live.