The word “flounder” keeps presenting itself to me lately, as in, “I’m floundering in a sea of obligations and broken commitments,” or you shouldn’t let the people you love just “flounder.” To me, floundering is another name for “middle” or “plateau”, life spaces that are neither peaks nor valleys but active engaged struggle and thrashing through a real or imagined taffy patch.
“For most people brought up in this society, the plateau can be a form of purgatory. It triggers disowned emotions…Learn to love the plateau.“–George Leonard
I know three great perspectives on the subject of floundering, all of which remind us that to flounder wholeheartedly and with awareness is a kind of celebration of our humanity; a fierce grace.
As Adyashanti says, “Enjoy yourself. Especially when you’re not.”
It is what Rilke, in his amazing poem called “Pushing Through” was talking about with the surrender into the grief cry.
It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.
I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.
Rainer Maria Rilke
For the wide awake or desperately pained, there is the hardcore zen approach to floundering:
“What do you want? To keep it together with your efforts, your theories, and your strategies, or have the Truth sweep your life clean?” –J. Zandi