It's often said that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. More often than not, all we need to do is go with the flow...
One morning, I had woken up to beautiful clear blue skies, but my mind felt rather cloudy.
I had been frustrated with myself for having writers block and every instant reaction I had to anything occurring around me was overshadowed by anxiety.
I was feeling stuck; in all senses of the word – which to be honest I know is to be expected in the current climate.
I decided to try and power through, brave the deceiving sunshine and get some fresh (-10degrees) air.
There’s a trail nearby where I live that I find extremely peaceful. I followed the trail down to the river in the hope of finding some clarity, or at least some tranquility.
I like being by the water. I find it soothing for the most part. It’s where I can instantly feel at ease. Though being emerged in the water is a whole other story. That’s where I find myself fighting with anxiety.
It’s incredible how your mindset can shape your entire experience of something for the better or for the worse.
‘The mind is like water: when it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear.’
I found a little opening in the foliage, turned my music off and and sat down and just watched the water do its thing.
A while ago, I had written a poem about rivers and how one can learn a lot from just watching them (keep an eye out for my upcoming book) but I couldn’t remember for the life of me remember anything I had written.
I had come to the riverside to find answers. But soon realised I was trying to force it. So I told myself I didn’t need to think about what I had previously written. In fact, I didn’t need to think at all. I just needed to sit there and let the stillness speak…if it wanted to, no pressure, just let it be. Just be present.
I looked to my right and just watched how effortlessly the water was flowing down stream. Not questioning its direction, not trying to change direction, just freely flowing.
I followed it with my eyes downstream towards my left. Honestly, it looked like chaos. Beautiful chaos. It was loud, choppy and splashing all over the place.
I found myself thinking about how what was before me, appeared to be a rather fitting representation of life and how I was feeling.
In the midst of the choppy water was a small cluster of waves being blocked by a rock. It looked as though it was trying to resist the direction the rest of the water was flowing.
Those waves represented resistance. That anxiety linked to the unknown. The anxiety that makes you want to hold on to whatever you can for dear life. That part of the river looked stuck, overwhelmed, like it was being drowned by its surroundings. But in reality, it was drowning itself!
The water around it, though also choppy, continued its way downstream, despite the bumpy ride. When I looked further down stream, the water had become calm again. Happily minding its own business.
“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.” – Paulo Coelho
And then the lightbulb moment: water doesn’t stay choppy forever. We always refer to ‘the calm before the storm’, but rarely give any attention to the calm that comes after the storm.
If the ‘stuck’ water didn’t resist, if it didn’t fight the flow, it would soon lead to calmer waters. Every single thing, every single situation is impermanent. This too shall pass. It always does. It always will.
Though things might feel like you need to hold on and resist the current, surrender to it and you’ll eventually come through the other side. If you’ve ever been on a plane you’ll know, sometimes you just need to go through turbulence to get to where you want to go.
The tides will change. The calm will return. Trust the process. Everything has a way of working out in the end, exactly how it’s meant to, if you just let it. Don’t resist it. Embrace it. Don’t rush. Just flow.
As my friends often tell me: ride the wave.