"Let go and go with the flow"
"Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it". Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever watched a river and pondered where it comes from? Where it’s going to? Or even, how it knows where to go? Some rivers flow straight and direct, and some meander along. The bendy river is no better or worse than the straight river, and the slow river is no better or worse than the fast, churning river. And vice versa. They’re all just rivers.
What got me to thinking about rivers was a television programme I saw recently about the Nile. Joanna Lumley was tracing it back from its outflow from Egypt into the sea right to it’s source. It was a wonderful programme showing how the Nile brings life and contact to so many different places and peoples. Never halting its flow. Flowing with determination and purpose. Sometimes meandering around but always, always flowing to the same end point – meeting up with the sea. The larger body of water.
It was quite humbling to see source of the Nile: a tiny, muddy stream that was barely flowing. It’s hard to believe that this little trickle would turn into something so huge and that has such an effect upon the world around it. Do you think the little trickle knows it will turn into a huge river hundred and thousands of miles away? Who knows. If it did, I wonder if it would feel intimidated about the power it has and just stop where it was instead. I very much doubt it. Whether or not the Nile Trickle knows it will turn into a river, it just carries regardless. Without fear. Just flowing, and flowing.
I think the key for me here was, the river didn’t really care – and I don’t mean that in a heartless way at all. The river just flowed and dealt with what was going on around it as it arrived. If the river was as big at its source as it gets further along, so much forest and life would be destroyed. So instead it gradually builds, in line with its surroundings, and they live in harmony together.
So many people rely on the Nile for what it brings to them: a means of transport, food, a place to wash and clean, water for fields of crops, and so on. It
also brings life for animals, birds, fish, insects, plants, and trees, and probably so much more that I haven’t mentioned.
We can learn a lot from rivers like the Nile, and modelling upon it how we approach life is one of the most beneficial. Wherever we are on our journey right now – be it a tiny trickle, a gentle flow, or a rush and churn, it is so key to focus on where we are right now and not worry about how big we’ll end up getting or where we’ll end up. Of course, it’s good to have an overall purpose to head to. It’s also good to know that life will bring with it unforeseen twists and turns before we get to the end. It will bring us into contact with many people whom we can help along the way. Living a life of selfless service, whilst enjoying the journey.
Sometimes it’s good not to know how powerful we can get right at the beginning of our journey or it might put us off starting it at all! Yes there’s a massive chance that we will. It’s inevitable that we’ll grow and evolve – just as the river does. But focusing upon the surroundings of where we are right now and enjoying the people and scenery is the most helpful thing to do. Just like a river, we need to build and grow in strength so that we’re more able to deal with the challenges further along in our life.
Could you imagine trying to run the marathon at the age of 5? Or doing PhD maths at the age of 12? Do people who run the marathon and obtain a PhD in maths know they will do this at 5 and 12? Probably not – imagine how scared or intimidated you might feel! Do you see, it’s important for us not always to be aware of what we may do because we’re not necessarily ready mentally, physically, and emotionally to deal with it.
To close, then, it’s good to have purpose, and it’s also good to share with others as we journey to and for our purpose. As we journey along we will also be supported. But all this can only really happen if we focus upon where we are on our river right now. As the saying goes: “Let go, and go with the flow”. Stop paddling back upstream when you see rapids just ahead – steer yourself around them or through them. The river always survives the rapids, despite everything being churned up and changed at the time. Just enjoy the bouncy ride!
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