“There is no way to push the river…” Ralph Blum
This is the story of how I tried too hard to push the river. And how the river brought me back to peace.
Recently I have been insisting, waiting, really impatiently waiting, pushing myself and others to meet self-imposed deadlines that seem important.
I am guilty of trying to show the universe my calendar: “here’s my plan and my timelines, are you listening?” I have been praying with expectations, asking “when will I get?” instead of “what am I called to give?”
And so I have upset and hurt people, I have missed opportunities, I have insisted when I could have assisted.
On a larger scale I have blocked the flow of natural insight and opportunity that the universe always provides.
My default when I am upset is to get outside. I love to be out in nature, and I especially love to walk by the river that flows near my home and listen. Next to the river, I was able to quiet my desperate, grasping mind and gain insight into my dilemma.
I realized that because the work in front of me feels so important, I thought that I had better be in control, in charge of it, to guide and ensure the outcome. My need for control was so strong that an image sprang to my mind of me trying to hold back and redirect the river with my bare hands, my feet planted in the muddy riverbed, straining and pushing.
This made me laugh and as I sat watching the river flow by me I understood the great lesson of the river: I don’t need to try to control how this unfolds and carry it all to conclusion. I don’t need to strain and force and insist.
I cannot push the river, but I can instead “give it up to God” and let the river carry me.
I had forgotten how a river always takes the easiest, most obvious path to the sea. Water knows that there is time and water does its slow and methodical work, cutting crevices and canyons out of mountains, turning boulders into beaches. Such is the slow power of water.
All in good time, water says.
If you let go you will find that you have this power too. You have influence, you create ripples and you cannot know whom they will touch or when.
“…control is impossible. We stand in the world as in a great ocean. Who could manage or possess such power? The only way to keep from drowning is to ride the currents. The ocean will support us as long as we swim with the flow.” -Joan Bunning
One of the pitfalls of wanting to trust in the river and go with the flow is getting stuck in a place of inertia. There are areas of the river that can flow in a dangerous circular motion, places where we feel apathetic and stuck and we can’t see the new horizons waiting for us further downstream. We must meet the universe half way.
Trusting the river, the flow of life, doesn’t mean you don’t have dreams and goals and aspirations. It doesn’t mean you sit back and wait. You do the work that is in front of you; you work with love on what needs to be done, with no expectation of the how or when or where the ripples of your thoughts and deeds will wash up on a new shore. This takes profound trust.
If you listen, you will hear the river inviting you in to play. To give up the stifling, heart-closing work of control and jump into a place of trust and freedom and joy.
We too are made of water; in fact, over 60% of our bodies are water. The river can help you know that you are part of nature and its innate flow, to understand that everything will happen in its own perfect time and that the “work” of fulfilling your purpose will not be difficult.
You do not need to push the river.
If you let it, it will flow through you like a song in your veins and guide you to receive the promise of cool, fresh, undiluted love.
If you’re struggling to let go and jump into a new way of life, a new purpose, I’m here to help.
Together we can explore the joy of swimming in the river.