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Lessons from the River

Picture yourself coming up to a mountain river. It’s hot, you’ve been hiking for hours, and your water vessel is empty; so you head toward the flowing water to refill. It’s easy to picture different aspects of the river. There’s the water that rushes over the rocks and splashes in micro-waterfalls. There’s the calm eddies near the bank.

Where do you go to collect the water? The calm spots, right?

On second thought. Maybe not. While the calm spots can seem friendlier—no splashing water, closer to the banks—the still water also has the ability to become stagnant, to collect a film, or for unwanted things to settle.

But as the water crashes over the rocks and churns as it returns to the comprehensive body of water, it becomes purified, cleaner somehow.

The point could be made about the complimentary situation of stillness and movement in life. There seems to be an even deeper point as it relates to our journeys as humans. The calm water is inviting. Less tumultuous. We can rest and recuperate in the calm waters. It’s the rough waters of life, however, that purify us. The waters churn us over, stripping us of the excess and then plunges us back into the collective whole. It may be uncomfortable and less than ideal, but its as necessary as the times of calm and peace.

This recognition becomes a gift. Lean into the adventure. Lean into what can be shed and let go. Know that the rough waters won’t persist indefinitely, and it will give you the chance to emerge cleaner, lighter, and free of the things that aren’t really you.


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