There’s a famous line in the film “Forrest Gump” that goes “Life is Like a Box of Chocolates…” and it may be like that for some people but to me that brings to mind an image of an ever depleting entity rather than something that lasts.
I have said before that life is not balance – it is not stationary. Instead it is flow – like a river. And whilst many people may go on to explain this analogy further as life springing from the earth, beginning as a small stream and growing as it moves inexorably closer to its end destination where it joins with all other rivers and becomes one body of water (the sea), I am talking more about the flow that moves the river constantly onwards.
Rivers never run in straight lines! How dull and predictable would that be – lots of straight lines carving up the landscape, all going in one direction, at the same speed & probably all arriving at the sea at the same time (rather like Milton Keynes now I come to think of it lol!!!)
That image (apart from reminding me of MK) also conjures up memories of reading the book “The machine Stops” by E.M.Forster – enforced order, rigid structure, unnatural life and movement, control, loss of identity… But here I go again…off on another tangent as my brain wakes up from the uninspired sludge it has been snoozing in recently.
Back to my subject for today – the River of Life and the fact that rivers never run in straight lines (not for long anyway).
Sure, there are long, slow, straight stretches where we can see where we are heading and any obstacles there might be in our way, but sooner or later something will cause the river to bend and we lose sight of what is coming up next.
As with so many occasions in life, this is where we have a choice – carry on around the bend and see what opens up in front of us (the potentially exciting but scary option) or we play it safe, steer our boat over to the river bank and get out. We like the security, the safety of being able to see where we are going so if the river is going to be so damned inconsiderate as to have a bend in it then we will stay right here thank-you very much!!
Where is your sense of adventure or even curiosity??
And have you stopped to think that if you stay here you will never get to achieve your end goal of seeing the ocean in all its power, glory and beauty?
Do you really want to miss out on that experience?
Is the bend in the river so scary it’s worth giving up your dreams for?
I know that if you have the courage, the tenacity & the curiosity to continue around the bend in your own personal river,things may be very different.
That gentle, slow-moving, calm, broad expanse of river may narrow, grow in speed, crash and bounce in a mad foam of white, blinding spray over hidden rocks and boulders but oh, the excitement, the adrenaline rush, the whoop of excitement, the overwhelming sense of achievement and pride when you get through it all. Isn’t that worth the risk?
Yes, our boat may tip over and dump us in the water but we are designed with all the right protective gear that will help us survive the rapids of life – intuition, experience, knowledge, friendship, love, tenacity, courage, determination, the ability to build another boat and keep going around the next bend, and the next and the ones after that.
You just have to believe that you have that protective gear and trust it.
Just as a river is never one long, straight line, neither is it one continuous, crashing, exciting but exhausting white-water ride.
Sometimes we are crashed and bounced through white-water rapids that scare, exhilarate and exhaust us with the speed at which we are travelling and the effort needed to keep our boat upright, in one piece and not full of water.
The adrenaline courses through us as we focus on one thing and one thing alone – survival.
Other times we travel along deep, slow-moving, languorous waters that allow us to rest and recover, take in the beauty of our surroundings and plan ahead .
Then there are those times when the river just flows at the right speed, in the right direction, sometimes shallow enough to see the bottom and without large, hidden obstacles that threaten to tear our boat apart. We move forwards fast enough to know we are getting to where we want to be. We still have to focus and concentrate, keep our mind on the job in hand and staying on course, but it’s more a matter of gentle tweaks and corrections, working with the flow of the river and not fighting it.
And yet we still have time to admire the view, enjoy the journey and relax in the knowledge that everything, for now is as it should be – not too fast, not too slow but just at the right speed, in flow and as one with the river.
These are the moment when we achieve, succeed, grow and expand and find that our inspiration is rekindled and we can once more write a blog post with ease, fluidity and joy!
Oh, and one last thing before I leave…
Please take this very, very important piece of advice…
NEVER NEVER NEVER decide that to try and take your boat UP-stream is a good idea. You are going against the flow of the river and its power is far greater than yours. All you will succeed in doing is waste a whole load of your time and energy going the wrong way and you will only end up further away from your goal than when you started. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that there is a better life up-stream, in the past – there IS NOT.
Up-stream is where you have come from. There is absolutely no point in trying to go back to it as all you will be doing is covering the same old ground and making the same old mistakes and believe me, as someone who has learned this lesson the hard way – it really is NOT worth it.
Until next week, enjoy sailing along your own River of Life and remember to enjoy every moment. Once the water has passed beneath your boat it has gone forever.