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


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“Having known Susie for many years through the spa and through reiki, it was only by chance that I asked her to explain to me what coaching is. I was in a place in my life of uncertainty - stuck in my head as I approached several significant new transitions at once. I initially signed up with Susie for coaching on an emotional topic that concerned the aftermath of my mother’s death and how my family would cope and adjust, but when I started my sessions with Susie, I quickly realized that my sense of being stuck was much larger in scope. Through my sessions with Susie, I found myself able to articulate some key areas in my life that needed my attention before I could move forward. With Susie’s coaching, I developed new pathways for myself that have led me to an overall happier, and clearer place, than the one from where I began.
The power of coaching lies in the ability to look inward and recognize that sometimes it only takes a relatively small shift in thinking to move you from a place of uncertainty to a place of clarity. The virtue of the coach is the ability to listen intently and work with you to help you answer questions you would almost never think to ask yourself, to spot the hidden treasures within the words that you are speaking to her in your conversations and point them out to you so that you, yourself, can be the architect of a new, clearer pathway for yourself. Susie has been this coach for me. I invite you to experience whether she can also be this coach for you.”

— Maya, Mequon

“When I first met Susie, I felt overwhelmed with despair and was constantly on the verge of tears. I knew I wanted to be happy but I could neither visualize nor verbalize what I wanted in my life. I felt stuck, and I wanted nothing more than to discover my life’s purpose. In a relatively short period of time (only 3 months or so), Susie was able to guide me down an inner path that would help me “open up” to all sorts of possibilities for myself. Through her encouragement, positive energy, gentle voice, welcoming studio, and arguably most importantly, her angel cards, I learned to trust my instincts, act on my gut feelings, and “go forward fearlessly”. I consider Susie to be an angel here on earth, and I am so very happy to have met her. Her influence in my life has helped propel me forward with renewed confidence, strength, and happiness. Thank you so much, Susie!! ”

— Amy, Milwaukee

“How is it I am carrying around so much negativity? Why can’t I move forward? Why can’t I feel happier and free? These were questions in my daily thought process until I sought out Life Coach, Susie Raymond. My personal experience with Susie was so beneficial to my well-being. She helped me change my way of thinking through methods that work best for me. Life Coaching is a commitment that is worth putting in the time for the best results. I had no idea the transformation I was going through as it was happening but my approach now in daily life is more positive, happier and free. Susie has helped me unleash my higher self, which is taking me further in life. ”

— Lisa Gabriel

"I had the incredible opportunity to be coached by Susie. Throughout our sessions, she showed up in her natural state of authenticity, compassion, and honesty. She created and held a safe space for me to share my thoughts, fears, sadness, and any other emotions I was harboring. Susie listened with no judgment, and her guidance always coming from a place of love and acceptance, especially in those times she invited me to explore parts of myself that were raw or uncomfortable. Her reflections and feedback were always spot on, helping me to see where I was limiting myself from living my best life. As I made each shift, Susie was the first one to celebrate, reminding me of the importance of acknowledging myself along the way. I highly recommend Susie to anyone looking for a coach to guide them to live authentically."

-Sue January 2018

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