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Is it Safe to Get In?


The waves crash steadily along the jagged, obsidian-colored lava coastline, and foamy-white salt water gushes up onto the beach. Its fierceness recedes and softens as it reaches up to touch my toes, inviting me, no, seducing me in.

It’s not an uncommon experience, here on the rainy side of the Big Island of Hawaii, to stand at the edge of the shore and wonder if it is safe to get in. Some days the waves are much too dangerous for even the most seasoned swimmer. It makes for an exquisitely vibrant coastline. Today, there is at least one adventurous swimmer making her way out to the big rock offshore, and I want to follow her.

I feel a wave of excitement. I stand at the edge of the deep, unknowable ocean, feet pumaced as I sink into course black sand, and I wonder:

Should I get in?

The sea has always called to me, and today, I am feeling at least a twinge of deeply embedded fear as I gaze out to the horizon and watch the large, unforgiving waves lay into the coastline. Beautiful. Dangerous. Exuberant.

This moment speaks to something larger, and mirrors a deeper issue in my heart. What quality in the human spirit allows us to get up after total defeat and continue on?

I have felt uncertainty about the next steps in my own life. We’ve all been there, right? But this is not a mid-life crisis. After three potent years of mourning, I now feel healed. Readied. Emptied. Open. Simultaneously, though, fear and doubt (see my last post on doubt), have become part of my journey, as reliable companions. Guides, really.

Today, standing at the water’s edge, another vision comes to me. This one is internal and visceral, and I feel it in my gut. I am standing along the edge of a deep and unknowable future. Here, too, the waves of possibility are exuberantly crashing along the shoreline of my consciousness, and waves of opportunity pour up along the shoreline of my awareness and reach my feet, inviting me in. But there are dangers. Will I get in, again, and brave the sea for all the gifts she has to offer?


Though the waves are demanding, there are windows into the sea, if we listen and watch carefully. Timing is important. I take advantage of a moment, and mindfully wade into the water. I am lifted up, buoyant, and the ocean and sky become one. I float, almost soar, in an aqua marine world. And I am happy for the opportunity, thankful for the constant resurrection of the human spirit.

As you face the next chapter or opportunity in your life, remember that your spirit is designed to flourish. You are already wired for success, no matter how many times you have been knocked over by the waves of life.

If doubt or fear limit your expression, then use them, let them be your guide and remember, they are windows into the sea of your own life. The ocean teaches us that we cannot argue with the waves. We must work with the currents and the flow of our own lives if we are to live a fully expressed life.

Will Donnelly

Will Donnelly is a nationally recognized, certified yoga teacher and writer, and is the author of “Practical Yoga’s Wisdom for Everyday People: Essays & Inspiration for Life" (2017), a compilation of his most popular online essays now available at Will has been a pioneer in the field of yoga, developing Practical Yoga, and co-creating a yoga–reality series for fitTV (Discovery Communications, 2004). As a writer and teacher, Will encourages all students to trust their impulses and find their true voice. Will currently lives in Hawaii, where he leads weekly yoga and writing classes at Kalani retreat center. He also leads several popular Practical Yoga adventure and healing retreats throughout the year. Information on retreats, his book, DVDs and other inspiration to be found at

GET A COPY of Will's New Book, now at 
Practical Yoga's Wisdom for Everyday People: Essays & Inspiration for Life 
JOIN ME for one of my popular Healing Retreats! At Kalani on Big Island of Hawai'i!: 
Holiday Yoga Retreat (7th Year!) December 21 - 27, 2017

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