I have been watching a TV show this week, always delightful, often hilarious, for certain packed with pathos. Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. I have a new bucket list item as a result – I want to sit by a river, preferably alongside those two, concocting weird menus, reflecting on life and as Mortimer says “really knowing what it is to live it!”
With new regulations imposing restrictions again, I think I am forgetting what it’s like to really live and it’s very easy to feel like we are drowning in a river of problems. It’s looking like we have to cancel planned family gatherings again because of new rules as of Monday. It’s a funny old world – I’ve always thought it so but now it certainly seems more funny peculiar, than funny haha!
I’m so grateful that I have had so many times in the past when I didn’t consciously have to look for the positives in each moment. I have had so so many of them, and although I didn’t think I took a single one for granted, I know – now that I can’t currently have them in the same way or even know when to look forward to some of them again – that I will be super heightened to the magic of those moments when they return.
So what to do until then? Well, we cannot stop the flow. The rivers and streams of time simply cannot cease. My youngest brother (already well into his fifties, at what may be our last gathering of siblings for another while) noted that we are all now white haired or steely grey; it seems that it had finally dawned on him that, although he will always be the youngest, no matter how hard he tries to remain young at heart, he is no longer young! It seemed such a revelation to him and it obviously made him wistful. But for me, the epiphany was energising.
We are all in this river together, sometimes it’s fast paced and, at others it slows down to allow us time to take in the views on the water and on the riverbanks. We have little choice as to where it meanders; maybe we can swim towards a certain tributary, or we can use a raft of energy trying to get back upstream to the Headwaters or hang furiously onto the trunk of a tree while the river swells but we are all heading out in one irreversible direction to the ocean. So how, you might ask, is that analogy energising?
Because the epiphany led me to appreciating that instead of drowning in the problems, getting caught up in pollution of the river, we can be creative with the way we travel down or on it. (Of course, we can be careful not to add to it’s pollution but that is a tributary for another blog!)
Instead of using all our energy in fighting against the stream, we can create a raft from where we can enjoy the ride, the views, the fellow travellers, the other inhabitants. The raft is made up of our conscious thoughts. We can train them and learn how to exercise some control over how and what we think while we are on this river. By being conscious and aware in that exact place in the river, in that exact moment, choosing to what we pay our attention and choosing how we construct meaning from that experience we can, honestly, make the most of every moment. Sure, we will head over rapids, and maybe we will wallow in some of the muddier flood plains but, if we are aware, at every given meander, of the magic of the river we will stay awake to the journey, and that is energising and worthy of our fullest attention.