Holding Back the Sea- Houkje Ross

Are You Trying to Hold Back the Sea?

Lately, I’ve been a bit sad. A relationship that I thought was blossoming is now ending. I’ve been feeling a bit overcast… like a typical Dutch day.

My mother is from the Netherlands (also known as Holland). It is a cloudy, rainy country. Despite the weather, the Dutch are an industrious folk.

They are infamous for reclaiming the sea. They took large chunks of marshy land, built massive barriers and drained the water to create more land.

A large portion of the country is lower than the level of the sea. To keep it from constantly flooding, waters are held back by a system of strong dykes.

Remember the story of Hans Brinker? The boy who saves Holland from drowning by putting his finger in a leaky dyke?

Water always flows to the lowest point.

Hans Brinker was working hard to hold that sea back.

Sadness is like water behind a dyke. If there is a hole in the wall caused by a death, a loss of a relationship or job… the water starts leaking. Left to its own devices, the water would eventually crack the wall open.

Like water, emotions naturally want to flow. If you hold them back and build a huge resistance to them, they get stuck. But if you let them go where they need to, they can bring energy forward and balance back.

I like Holland. I don’t want it to be flooded. But when it comes to my own sadness… I’ll take the flood any day. It washes the sadness away more quickly.

Besides, I’m pretty sure a cloud does not put out the sun.

Resources on Dealing with Grief

The Kübler-Ross grief cycle – Details each stage as it applies to persons facing death or other negative life change. Note that the cycle as presented includes seven stages, including initial shock. (ChangingMinds.org)

What is Grief? – Lays out general stages of grief with tips for helping someone who is grieving. (University of Illinois Counseling Center)

Complicated Grief – Learn the difference between the normal grief reaction and complicated grief. Includes information about symptoms, risk factors, and treatment. (Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide)

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