Life feeling unpredictable? Lessons from the river....

Greetings from the river, 

I am fortunate to have a beautiful flowing river in my backyard.  A few weeks ago I took my second kayaking trip of the season.  The river was running high and the current was strong.  I was mentally and physically up for the challenge of guiding my kayak upstream.  I settled in and began to paddle with equal strength and effort on both sides of the boat. I intended to stay along the right bank where the current was lighter. However the current had a different intention for my boat.  As I paddled with focus and strength the current pulled my boat to the far left bank. 
The lesson from the river:  Sometimes life’s current is stronger than our will and intent. For example recently in my personal life, I learned a friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, another friend’s husband left a 30 year marriage, and another friend’s husband passed away at age 54. 
So I asked the river….”What do I do when the current of life becomes so unexpectedly unpredictable?” The answer was simple, “notice what you notice, be present with what is and gentle with yourself. Remember to look around, you may see a gift even in hardship.” In that moment I noticed a beautiful aroma that I had never experienced before.  I noticed some beautiful wild yellow river irises along this side of the shore.   
When life’s current takes you into scary waters; how can you use this wisdom from the river to get you back into the flow?

  1. Breathe – yes I know we all breathe all the time, however when you take time to notice your breath it will create a bridge and guide you to feeling grounded when life feels unpredictable.

  2. Be present-notice the little things with a sense of gratitude. If you are grateful for someone in your life, tell him or her.

  3.  Acknowledge emotions with gentleness and feel them. Allow yourself to be sad, angry, scared. Let go into the current of the emotion. Stuffed emotions create dams, and the emotion can become far more destructive.

  4. Nurture yourself with an activity that is soothing and the awareness that you deserve it.

  5. When your mind goes into worry and/or fear, switch it to wonder.  I wonder how this is going to work out.  This simple word switch has power to lighten the mood from fear to trust.

When I turned my boat around I had an expectation of going downstream with ease. Instead a strong upstream wind hit my face and I realized it would not be an easy float downstream. This created a perfect opportunity for me to be present and focused. Letting go of what I could not control however still moving forward with intent and will in the downsteam current of life trusting in this process with a sense of wonder.  If you find yourself in unexpected circumstances I trust that one or more of these suggestions will help you to feel grounded and centered.
Be well,
Susie Raymond, Catalyst Life Coach, Reiki Teacher, Esthetician, Breathwork guide