We can learn a lot from nature…
Rivers are sometimes slow. Other times they speed up, rush to the edge and fall off of a precipice, crashing on the rocks below. Yet – through the lazy, wide bends as well as the narrow canyons and rapids – a leaf that has fallen into the river will many times make it past these obstacles.
The leaf will flow with the river, and follow where the current takes it. Leaves in water don’t have an agenda, they aren’t scared of the rapids, and they don’t fight what the river tells them.
Be a Leaf in the River.
“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Zhuangzi
It’s so easy to make plans. We can create a grand picture in our mind of the future and how we want it to play out. We can project what we want the future to be, and become attached to this future. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we’re not in control.
We can feel in control, but at any given moment, everything can change. Sometimes things will change for the better, sometimes for the worse, but many times, life takes us off of the track that we had chosen.
This can be crushingly difficult to understand if we’re grasping at a plan and course. But for others, who allow the river to take control in moments such as these, it’s just another element of life.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
What would happen if your employer suddenly shut their doors tomorrow? Some would lament, fight, deny reality, and then sink into depression – suddenly unsure of the future and what lies ahead. Others would say – “Ok, it’s time to move on” – and look for an even better opportunity.
Which type of person are you?
There will always exist things outside of our control and we need to remember that. It’s great to have goals, take steps to achieve them, and plan ahead, but we must be ready for the unexpected. Maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance comes along, and you’re so focused looking ahead that you miss it.
“I don’t really make decisions, I go with the flow.” – Nicole Kidman
Life’s a river… it’s bigger than us, and it’s stronger than us. So while it’s important to dream and set goals, it’s also important to be a leaf in the rapids. Leaves can teach us. Leaves will follow the current, slip between rocks, float off of waterfalls, land gently, and glide further downstream. It’s when we are inflexible, unbending, and rigid that we crash like a wooden boat upon the rocks.
So let’s be a leaf. Let’s be flexible. Let’s follow the current. And let’s remember that this life is one, so let’s enjoy the journey downstream.
Be a Leaf in the River.