Wouldn’t it be great if there was a formula if followed would be the answer to all of our problems and concerns. We are intrigued by books and lectures that promise us happiness and a better life.
If you have been a reader of this blog, you know that I make frequent references to the river. Perhaps you already know the story. When I was 13 years old, my Uncle Sam took me on a weeklong river rafting trip on the Green River in Colorado. We flew from San Francisco to Boise and then caught a little six-seat plane that flew us over the mountains and landed in a town near our campsite. We then got into an old school bus that drove us to the river.
On the second day of the trip I was swimming along the side of the raft when I noticed the raft getting ahead of me and I heard the yells: “Get in the boat. Get in the boat.” But it was too late. As I swam toward the boat, I became exhausted from the struggle. I heard more yells: “Stay in the center. Stay in the center.” That’s what I tried to do. I let go as I was swirled through the rapids a few feet behind the boat. I made it to the other side. I was now in calm water and able to relax for a second until I noticed the next series of rapids approaching. At the last second my uncle extended an oar and miraculously I was able to grab it as I was pulled onto the boat.
On the way home, my uncle said something to me that was prophetic. “ You’ll think about this trip later in life.“ It wasn’t until many years later, on a return trip to Colorado, while visiting a friend that I thought about it. As I sat high on a mountaintop, staring into a reddish canyon, I saw a river. I reflected upon my river experience many years previously. I thought about my life and all that had occurred up to that moment in time. There were the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows and the remarkable people who had been my guides on this journey. I reflected upon eight principles that have been my inner guides that have helped me navigate the changing nature of the river.
- Find and live from your center. When you are centered and connected to your source, you are connected with the source of everything. That’s when you are able to let go, to trust and to flow with what is. When I let go in the river and stayed in the center, I became at one with that same energy and power that had forged a path over thousands of years. Meditation has facilitated my connecting with that center on a daily basis.
- Develop the practice of gratitude. I was grateful for that oar. I was grateful that I got to experience the river. And I am grateful for my life. We have much to be grateful for. We are truly abundant.
- Be curious. Think of your life as a river with its lessons, challenges and complexities. Being curious about the changing nature of the river enables you to know and sense its many currents. As this knowing emerges, you’re more comfortable with not knowing where the river is taking you. In the process you become the person you’ve always wanted to be, fully present with life, and passionate about living.
- Be prepared. I wore a life preserver on the river. When you are prepared you can relax and enjoy life’s unfolding. Preparation involves nurturing your mind and body, including eating well and exercising. It involves working on yourself and being receptive to new ideas and concepts. In the process of becoming an expanded person, your sense of what is possible in your also expands.
- Get out of your comfort zone. I could have stayed in the boat and played it safe but I was curious and adventurous. My comfort zone for me was my law practice and as a result my life for many years was on hold. Getting in the current and flow of life involves risk, but that is what you must do if you want to realize your full potential.
- Learn to let go of resistance. Resistance is a constant struggle. At some point in your life, not only do you become tired from the struggle, you become tired of the struggle. When you allow yourself to flow with what is, you experience a synchronicity that can’t be described in words.
- Trust others and work together. You can’t do it alone and why would you want to. When you are open and willing to receive you create a synergy in your life that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. When the oar is extended accept it.
- The River of Life is a great mystery. I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with not knowing the next step. And when it comes I enjoy taking it. The river is unpredictable and you can’t figure it out.
As you begin to integrate these eight principles into your life, you’re more confident that wherever the river takes you, you have the tools and inner resources to swim in the deeper waters and swifter currents.
With each passing year I am blessed to share the journey with many likeminded travelers. Thank you for expanding our circle by forwarding this link to those in your circle. By the way when is your next river rafting trip?
Please join me for the Journey On radio show. I am cohosting the show with my good friend Ralph Marston who publishes the Daily Motivator. Http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyon
Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.