Skip to content

Imagine walking through the woods when suddenly you begin to hear the sounds of running water. The sound touches you like music. It calls to you. Then imagine coming out of the trees and finding yourself standing on the banks of a stream that is cascading over moss-covered boulders. Pause for a moment and allow that image to nourish you.

River-Of-LifeWhy does moving water touch us so deeply? It may be because water flows! To watch a river is to see a glimpse into what Life is really like – a great river of dancing energy that has been flowing and creating for almost 14 billion years.  Rivers call to us because they remind us of this flow of Life and our longing to trust it. But we have lost our trust and spend a lot of our time trying to control Life, and when that doesn’t work, we oftentimes sit on the bank, lost in our ideas about Life, and we become half-alive.

I wake up every morning and say to Life, “Where do you want to take me today?” My life is an adventure that I am learning how to show up for. Can you feel the joy of that? Can you hear how that takes you out of struggling with Life and invites you to engage with it, as it is, rather than trying to make it be a particular way? At the same time, can you feel how that scares your fear-based mind because it thinks that would make you powerless? But it doesn’t understand that the greatest power you will ever discover doesn’t come from managing your life. It comes from engaging with whatever is showing up in your life and trusting the flow to bring you exactly what you need. Having been somebody who tried to get out of the river by digging a big hole in the ground and crawling into it, I assure you that the safest thing you will ever do is to let go and trust the river.

Yes, the river has rapids, and whirlpools and waterfalls, but as you awaken to your life, you begin to have an entirely new relationship with it – you begin to pay attention. Attention is like putting a life vest on your heart (being willing to be as kind and compassionate with yourself as possible) and stepping into the river of Life, keeping your feet pointed downstream (recommended if you fall overboard on a river rafting trip) so you can see what Life is doing right now. Very quickly it becomes clear that the river is always changing, but it is nothing to be afraid of – in fact it can be fun! With a curious mind and open heart, you can feel the currents of Life and respond to anything that comes your way. You become able to listen and know what you need to do, say or be in any part of your life.

It can be scary at first to open into the unknown. But once you recognize that the belief that you can control your life is an illusion, you begin to be curious about what the next bend in the river will bring. So, open your heart and use your mind to be curious about your life rather than trying to make it be different than what it is, and consciously show up for the great river of Life!

Avatar photo

Mary O’Malley is an author and counselor in Kirkland, Washington. In the early 1970’s, a powerful awakening set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with the challenges of life, freeing herself from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Since that time, Mary has taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Denmark.

She is an inspirational speaker who leads retreats that transform people’s lives, provides individual counseling, and offers ongoing groups where people can come together to experience the miracle of Awakening. Her strengths lie in her ability to be fully present in the moment, integrating information, technique and insight with simplicity and compassion. Mary is committed to helping people heal their inner wars, so they can become a part of the healing of our planet. She does so by drawing on her own life experience to facilitate healing and awakening in a compassionate and powerful way.

Mary’s books, which are endorsed by Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald Walsch, include: What’s In the Way IS the Way: Moving Beyond Your Struggle into the Joy of Being Fully AliveThe Gift of Our Compulsions: A Revolutionary Approach to Self-Acceptance and HealingBelonging to Life: The Journey of Awakening; and The Magical Forest of Aliveness: A Tale of Awakening.

For more information, please visit