Spring seems to represent a time of moving forward … a time to honour the death on one aspect of life and rejoice in the sprouting of new things. We see this represented in nature all around us as we notice the dead leaves and twigs from last year’s growth and the new buds and blossoms for the coming season. As you ponder the teachings of nature, consider how the plants grow and blossom without knowing what is ahead of them. How often do we set expectations for something that lies ahead of us? Perhaps it is a family gathering or a relationship or a health issue. Positive thinking can leave us negligent of ways we could support or prevent or offset something negative. Negative outlooks leave us discouraged, and hopeless.
The greatest challenge is to be without expectations. To be curious in learning and gathering information but to simply notice what is happening and in the moment be our best. “Let go of the outcomes” may really mean “let go of any expectations”. Life is to be enjoyed. Go with the flow.
But the challenge lies in going with the flow and having a degree of preparedness to be best able to use the flow to take us forward. Recently someone commented to me about that phenomenon. “I want to go with the flow but I really want to be prepared, ” she said. We talked about the fact that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. But it is difficult to actually know what that looks like. How can we get a picture of life that depicts going with the flow yet being prepared?
When challenges of this nature arise, I find working with analogies and metaphors very useful. We began comparing it to kayaking in white water on a river. Actually I have paddled in a canoe on class 1 and 2 white water with my husband in stern so I can relate a little to this. But I love watching him kayak in bigger water and that is what gives me a picture of the real meaning of the analogy.
When paddling in white water you have to go with the flow. You use the energy of the water to take you where you are going. There is no point in fighting the water. It is powerful. Trying to paddle upstream in fast water is a losing battle. Life is like that too.
Who would venture into white water in a kayak and plan on simply going with the flow. No paddle; no knowledge of the water; no steering; no skills???? No way!!! Being prepared gives you paddling skills to be able to maneuver the kayak in and out of eddies, for example, and to back ferry to reduce speed. You use the flow of the water in combination with the boat and your paddle to guide the boat where you want it at the best speed. A prepared paddler can read the water to avoid trouble spots, know when there are rocks too close to the surface or holes that would be difficult to get out of.
When we face new life challenges, we go with the flow. Fighting it uses too much energy with ineffective results. People build resilience to handle the challenges by learning good life skills. By looking at the challenges from different perspectives, we can be more ready for the bursts of rapids, the stones that lie just beneath the surface ready to tip us over if we are not ready. Learning skills to handle the challenges helps us take life with less speed, noticing more and harnessing the energy of all that surrounds us.
I love asking nature to reveal its lessons to us. I love how nature can teach us and speak its wisdom.
Till next time,