Your Life is a River. Follow the Current.

river image

© 2012 Kelly Burkhart

I know and love many people who spend their time rafting the rivers of the west. From time to time I’ve been invited to join them. A couple weeks ago I had just such an opportunity.

It was a “float” trip. Mostly flat water; no rapids. We moved through a beautiful canyon, lined with hot springs. The water was deep and clear. The early spring weather gave us ample up canyon winds.

Some trips I’ve marveled at the skill and finesse as the raft is navigated through and around hazards. This time I listened as the boatman described following the current. He talked about how to read the lines of the water. I tried to see what he saw. Bubbles. Little ripples coalescing into a trail of sorts. Occasionally I got a sudden, “Ah! There it is!” But sometimes I just couldn’t see it. Sometimes the messages on the water looked completely random, or worse, like nothing at all. But as I watched him make subtle shifts and adjustments, what was clear was that he could see it. And he could feel it.

He pointed out the eddies – a counterclockwise motion of the water near the shore line – how to use them and when to avoid them. When I looked closely I could see the water in the eddy moving upstream – opposite the direction we were traveling. Getting caught in one of these when you’re trying to move downstream meant a lot of hard work and no progress. But hit it right when you need to stop for a rest, and it’s your best friend.

I’m not a boatman and what I don’t know about rafting can and does fill volumes! But I am a life coach and a student of the natural world and those days on the water were a classroom. Here’s the lesson I heard.

In the river of your life, there is a current.

Learn to read the water.

Notice the places where your joy transforms your work to play. Where the sense of purpose runs deep through the core of your being and calls you forward. Some times it will be hard to see the current. You’ll look out across a glassy expanse and not know which way to move next. That’s ok. Feel your way. Listen to your body, your heart, your soul. Does this action feel good, expansive, uplifiting? Does it feel forced or pushed? You’ll feel the answers in your being. Watch. Listen.

Only you can find the current in your life. Others can help. A guide can point to signs. But you alone can feel the weight of the water against your oars. You alone are in the seat with the full perspective of the water, the obstacles, the shoreline. Stand up, look around. Listen to every piece of feedback, with every fiber of your being. The light on the water, the air on your skin, the vibration under your feet. It all mingles into the knowing that speaks in the very center of your chest.

When you need to, rest your back and shoulders. Tuck your oars under your knees to lift them out of the water and let the current alone carry you forward. When afternoon hits and the up canyon wind picks up, slip into that eddy, tie off the boat and take a nap. Don’t worry. When the time is right, the river will call you. The river is always calling you. All you have to do is listen.

Get in the water. Be aware. Be engaged in your life – your one precious life.

Let the current carry you forward.

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  1. Maria April 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I received the Kreativ Blogger Award and I’m passing it on to you. With love, Maria

    • Kelly April 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks so much Maria! I love your dive into blogging. Congrats!

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