Maneuvering Through the Obstacles of Life
by Curt Remington
Like swimming boulder-filled rapids, life can be tough! A whitewater safety course taught me some important lessons, ones that apply to swimming rapids and to making our way through life. Now you may wonder why someone would want to swim in a whitewater river. Sane people don’t really want to, but it sometimes happens, when your kayak or raft flips over. Most of us would rather avoid many of life’s difficulties too, but some are unavoidable lessons that we need to deal with the best that we can. Learning to swim in life’s turbulent waters can help immensely. If you are constantly struggling, just to keep your head above water, it can be hard to get to where you want to go. As Paul Coelho said, “you drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”
There are four ways to swim a river:
- Look downstream in terror, then thrash around, maybe even trying to swim upstream to get away from all those scary boulders you’re being hurled towards. This technique will exhaust you in a hurry and certainly won’t help you reach safety or happiness. People that go through life this way probably haven’t chosen a practical course of action and may go from one emergency to another.
- Float downstream without a care, and get swept under a big submerged tree (strainer) or bashed into boulders. This can result in injury or drowning and is usually a bad idea. You can usually find this type of swimmer at home, laying on the couch. This is a relaxing way to go through life, but you can’t get much done from the couch. It may make it hard to pay the bills or to accomplish great things.
- Decide on a logical destination, then swim frantically downstream to get there as fast as possible. I often use this technique in life, and it is not the best idea. It uses a lot of energy and can leave you feeling stressed out and tired.
- The swimming technique that works best in a river, and in life, is to pick a logical course that takes advantage of the river’s currents and eddies (watch for opportunities). Commit to your chosen path, then let the river do a lot of the work for you. When it’s appropriate, swim some powerful, efficient strokes and arrive at your destination safely and happily, often more quickly than the person who used technique number three. You might still bump against a boulder or two along the way, but that’s part of swimming a whitewater river, and of life.
How do we swim more like Number Four?
- When an opportunity comes along that will bring more fulfillment into your life, face any fears and take action. This could mean changing careers, starting a business, furthering your education or initiating a new relationship.
- Make a plan and work towards that plan. This one might seem obvious, but an awful lot of people seem to wander through life with no direction. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.
- Remember that some of life’s hardships (boulders) are opportunities to learn. No matter what we do, life won’t be perfect. Instead of focusing on the hardships, focus on what’s positive in life. The law of attraction says that we attract more of what we focus our attention on.
- When you’re moving along with the current, go ahead and float a while. Too much effort causes stress, and it can actually be a block to creativity and accessing psychic abilities.
- Have fun! Be sure that you take the time to do things you really enjoy doing.
- Meditate! It gives your mind and body a chance to relax, to be in the present, so you can go with the flow and not be thrown off by the hazards we all tend to come across along the way. Through meditation, you can also access your intuition and psychic abilities, so as to better recognize good opportunities. Meditation helps us connect with our higher self, that wiser spiritual part of us that already knows the best way to do things.
My inspiration for this article came to me as a psychic (clairvoyant) image, while I was meditating, looking for a new visualization exercise. It came as a message that I need to quit swimming like number three, inefficiently racing downstream with too many projects going at once. What came to me is described below, as a meditation that you can try at home.
River Visualization Meditation
Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Take a few deep breaths, and close your eyes. It’s always helpful to start with grounding and running your energies. Once you’re relaxed and ready, imagine a clear, clean river flowing in front of you. Raging whitewater doesn’t sound very relaxing, so I recommend that you imagine a gentler river with soothing currents to carry you downstream. Most of the way, you can float on your back.
If there are obstacles ahead of you? What do they represent? Let go of any fear, and take a few smooth strokes to get around them. Observe all of the detail. What does the shoreline look like? Is it lined with boulders, canyon walls or sand? Are there buildings or wildlife? Where would you like the river to take you? Go ahead and visualize the destination you’d like to get to. Float as long as you’d like, swimming occasionally to stay on course. Once you’re ready, gently finish your meditation or imagine climbing out at your destination to end your river trip.