‘In the spring sea
Waves undulating and undulating
All day long’
〜 Yosa Buson
As we navigate the choppy waters of COVID-19, we may feel we are cut adrift from all that is familiar to us in our everyday life. None of us can say with certainty when this will all be over, or what the long-term consequences will be. Many have seen their working and family lives disrupted. Planning for the future may seem futile as we continue to experience the continuing ebb and flow of this disease through our communities.
The ocean tides are really one continuous wave that moves around the world, influenced by the sun, the moon, the stars and gravity. This virus has also shown its capacity to move around the world, and like the ocean, it is coming in waves. As we move into winter in Ireland, we are experiencing a predicted second wave – and we don’t yet know how big it will be.
Waves come and go. Some are barely more than ripples: we can paddle in them, roll with them or enjoy surfing them. Others take away our footing, leaving us floundering. But if we take time to observe the waves, we can learn how to adapt to the ever-changing ocean, not only keeping ourselves safe but ensuring that others are protected too.
According to the Eastern Tradition, the body – just like our planet – is populated with seas and oceans that can influence our wellbeing. The sea of Qi, Sea of Blood, Sea of Grain and Water and the fundamental Sea of Marrow all interact to provide harmony with the body. If we nourish these seas and oceans, and we observe the tides, we will stay well. Unlike the planet, we can adjust our orbit when we find ourselves going into choppy waters.
Be a navigator in your own ocean. Nourish your Sea of Qi or ‘vital energy’. Support the Sea of Blood: help it flow smoothly and evenly. Move your body in ways that make you feel comfortable. Avoid ‘drains’ such as negative people or endless ‘doomscrolling’.
The Sea of Grain and Water will benefit from nourishing food and water in the correct quantities and at the right times. The Sea of Marrow? That is really our reserve tank. If the warning light comes on, take note, rest and recharge. It may be further than you think to the next stop.
Look at the chart, check the weather and set your course, but don’t be rigid. You may need to go to places you would rather avoid, and you may feel you have missed the opportunity to spend time in places where you would love to be.
This could be a long journey, and we will all need to look for safe harbours along the way. By looking after our own wellbeing, we will hopefully be able to provide an anchor for those who are finding things more challenging.