Surviving a Whirlpool

Every year I host our family Christmas party. We have a large family with over 35 people attending bringing food and presents. I have hosted and attended many gatherings of that size and if planned correctly they can result in some sort of organized chaos.  Not this event…no matter how much I plan, it seems to end up being a totally “unorganized” chaos.  I don’t know if this comes from one of my control issues or if it’s just the dynamics of this particular group.  Since most seem to enjoy themselves I’m assuming it is likely my perception of unorganized chaos.

I try to prepare myself for dealing with the chaos and see it as a test of my centering practice.  All I have to do is find my center and enjoy the show….but this never happens, not even for a moment.  Most of the year I spend time in self realization, self inquiry, meditation and other various spiritual practices…so what good is it if it can all be erased in four hours?

It’s as if I have forgotten everything and am totally immersed in a whirlpool of activity that leaves me exhausted and wondering what exactly happened.  What to do when caught in a whirlpool?  I know nothing of whirlpools but after a little investigation it seems they are unavoidable if you’re following the flow of the river. The best you can do is to just deal with it for a while and then it releases you back into the flow. Doesn’t do much good to plan for it….

“Managing Whirlpools” by Ken Whiting (World Champion Kayaker)

“In many cases whirlpools can be totally unpredictable and pop up in front of you unexpectedly. Fortunately there is a way of dealing with them if you can’t miss them.  You can actually enter the whirlpool and use its energy to your advantage to get through it……If you fight the whirlpool’s current, you’ll get sucked into its maw……unfortunately the only way to really develop your comfort level with whirlpools is to play around in them.”

 Modified excerpt from “The Ultimate Guide to Whitewater Kayaking”


Filed under Absolute, Centeredness, Direct Experience, Direct Inquiry, Mindfulness, Self Realization, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Zen

11 responses to “Surviving a Whirlpool

  1. We host fewer people, but I have EXACTLY the same struggles, (particularly having PTSD to go with it). I’m the cook, and I don’t see much of the festivities – I just end up exhausted! But everyone seems to have a good time, so I call it my sacrifice for the happiness of others 😉

  2. Love the analogy to the flow of the river! I too deal with these issues at the holidays, although I don’t hold any gatherings… It’s the over stimulation of the season that gets me. I always feel like I’m being pulled *out* of The Flow – if you know what I mean… I think it *is* more difficult for those of us who are more inwardly inclined. I recently wrote about the “Frenetic Flow” I often find myself in during this time of year. I also deal with health issues, and end up feeling exhausted. The only way I can get through it is to spend a lot of time in meditative Silence. It’s like a sanctuary. Don’t be too hard on yourself about it. Just keep returning to the Silence within… And breathe 😉

  3. Gede Prama

    visit, read the article and thanks for posting your article is quite good and we hope that all our friends all success and thank you all, greetings. (This is a good thing) 🙂

  4. The whirlpools have to be experienced to be mastered and they can actually propel us forward – what a wonderful working turnaround for the metaphor for a real and sucking dynamic! Thanks for the fresh perspective.

  5. To Know Beauty

    Oh my goodness. Family does this to us… Especially parents and children…. It’s like falling into a spiritual coma when they show up. 🙂

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