The River of My Life

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  • Recently a friend of mine told me that I have an interesting mind: one that can see anything physical and through metaphor, relate it to my life. Lately, just to see if she’s right, I’ve been paying attention to things around me, choosing an object and seeing how I can relate it to my life.

    Yesterday as I flew from Philadelphia to Seattle, via Dallas, I decided to see if she was right. As we were nearing Dallas, a river intrigued me, bending and winding through a very dry area. From 30,000 feet it looked like a cinnamon pretzel, twisty, multi colored, multi-textured, with varied width and depth. It went on for miles and miles through deserted territory. Certain parts of the river were dry with only a tiny trickle of water squeezing through and then, just around the bend the water was gushing and full to the banks, only to recede again on the next turn of the pretzel. It was really interesting to view from above. Where did all that water come from? Where was it going? What made some parts so abundant and other parts so parched?

    I imagined myself in a raft going down that river. At some points I would be riding high and hanging on for dear life, as we splashed through the high waters, and at other points where the river spread out into too many tributaries and the river was almost dry, I’d be carrying my raft over nearly dry ground. I imagined how silly it would be to try to paddle upstream.

    Then, just like my friend said, I looked at my life in relation to the river. My life IS like that river! Sometimes it’s full and abundant, sometimes it’s dry and in lack. Sometime it’s deep and other times it’s spread out in so many directions that it loses focus and things dry up, forcing me to carry my raft. Sometimes I’m going with the flow and sometimes I’m paddling upstream.

    Somehow when you can see the entire section of river it makes the twist and turns of life easier, because we can see what’s coming. It’s easy to get out and ford your raft in a dry area when you know that abundant, gushing waters are just around the bend. It’s more difficult to do so when you’re tired and you don’t know how long the low waters and lack are going to last.

    I found it interesting that in the river and in my life, where the water was focused there was no problem. The waters were strong, deep and constant. The dry area came when the river tried to cover too much ground, lost focus and direction. Problems occurred when the force of energy was divided and weakened between the many tributaries and directions. Not that I ever get overextended in MY life! Ha! It was all beginning to make sense to me.

    How many times in our lives are things going along just great- riding those gentle fun rapids of life, but we stop paying attention and we lose our focus? Some call it being negative. Some label it as fear. Others attribute it to lack of time, money or resources. No matter the reason, when focus is lost, the outcome is the same- dissipation and loss of momentum. Your raft will get stuck in the muck.

    Too many times we’re paying attention to what shows up in our life and losing focus on what we WANT in life. The more we lose sight of the goal, the more improbable it becomes. Fear and doubt build on top of confusion and frustration, and the goal moves even farther away.

    Look to Nature for the answers. How does Nature fix things when stuck in the muck? Easy, just refocus the waters into one area and your boat will be happily bobbing along in no time at all. When the waters of the river or the energies of your life are focused, you will be stronger, deeper and cooler ☺ too.

    Where are you stuck in the muck? Are the waters of your life focused on where you want to go rather than just blindly bobbling along hoping for the best? Many of us get into dry spots, forgetting that the gushing waters of abundance are just around the next bend. The trick is to remember that abundance is there for you and to not ever give up! When you’re 30,000 feet above your life looking down, it’s easy to see. It’s only when your feet are in the muck as you’re carrying the raft that life can appear to be difficult. Remember that when you’re in the dry part, you’re just a section away from more abundant waters- keep paddling!

    I watched the river for what seemed like a long time, paid attention to my thoughts and smiled. My friend was right. A crusty, winding and somewhat mucky river in Texas had something to teach me, and I was grateful for the lesson.  My energies are staying focused on what I want in life, not the muck that sometimes shows up. I’m keeping my river strong so my raft will avoid the yuck and the muck of life. Happy paddling.

    Gail Lynne Goodwin

    Gail Lynne Goodwin is the founder of InspireMeToday.com, bringing the best inspiration to the world. InspireMeToday.com provides free inspiration, each day from a new Inspirational Luminary, to a global community of folks from over 150 countries. Gail has interviewed many well-known names including Sir Richard Branson, Guy Laliberte, Seth Godin, Tony Hseih, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gerber, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield and hundreds more. According to Mashable, Gail was one of 2009's Top 25 Most Inspirational People on Twitter. Prior to InspireMeToday.com, Gail spent several years as manager for her recording artist daughter, Carly. As a result of the success of their co-penned song, "Baby Come Back Home", Gail accompanied her daughter to bases in the US and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Carly performed for our troops. Gail and Carly created the 'World's Longest Letter' of love and support and delivered the 18-mile long scroll on a month-long tour of Iraq and the Persian Gulf in 2006. Gail is excited to present her latest course, Love in 21 Days, a step-by-step guide to finding love online. Love in 21 Days is founded on a logical process that has been tested - and proven! - by not only Gail, but also by students around the world who too have found love. Gail is a published author and a regular writer for the Huffington Post. She offers mentoring and mastermind services to clients worldwide from her home in Whitefish, Montana. Follow Gail on Twitter or Google+.

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    1. Jeanette
      Jeanette says:

      Hi Gail!

      I was feeling stuck in the muck. Thank you for inspiring me today! I will try to enjoy the paddling, but some days I just was to float with a gentle breeze caressing me.

      Joy~

      Jeanette
      @jeanettejoy

      Reply
    2. Gail
      Gail says:

      Thanks for your comment Jeanette. I believe we can have the gentle breeze caressing us everyday. What we need for that is a steady stream, and just like in Nature, we get that by focusing our energies. I know you well enough to know that your river is very strong. 🙂 Abundance and smooth sailing are already yours. Stay focused on the goal instead of the muck and it has no choice but to come to you with grace and ease. Happy sailing!

      Hugs,

      Gail

      Reply
    3. Liza
      Liza says:

      I love the post. To offer another perspective, (wearing my hat as a scientist, not kayaker) is that the areas where the river spreads out and gets mucky are often very rich with life and diversity, and that the flooding, in many river systems, is absolutely essential for maintaining habitat for a variety of plants, animals, and insects, all nourished by the rich sediments and interacting in a complex web of life. Think of the Nile, and the literally thousands of years of agriculture that depend on an annual flood cycle that deposits river sediments on the land, creating a rich soil for crops. To carry with the analogy in your blog, I’d say that while these areas may be difficult to paddle and frustratingly slow if we’re trying to get somewhere, they also may provide an opportunity to slow down, sample the amazing variety and complexity that life on this planet has to offer, and then choose our course–or waterway–for going forward. In the end, the side channels and sloughs all flow to the same destination as the main channel. It’s just that the view and pace are a bit different. I think we need both the main channel AND the backwaters in our life. … they balance each other to create the complex ecology of the riverine system, and to provide the reflection time we need in order to sample variety and choose our course.

      Reply
    4. Angel
      Angel says:

      Absolutely right… i am truly inspired by everythin you’ve said.. and i agree with you. our life is like a river. there are points wherein the tides are high and there are times when the tides are low.. there are rough days and there are smooth sailin days.. truly inspirational!

      Reply
    5. Gail
      Gail says:

      Dear Liza, Angel, Lynn and Karen,

      Thank you for your comments. I love to hear the perspective of others on my topics. Liza, I especially loved the scientific viewpoint that you shared. Thanks again to all of you. Please feel free to comment anytime.

      Hugs and thanks,

      Gail

      Reply

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