The River of Life

by Nina Meehan

How is the river of your life journey moving right now?  

Is it flowing, rushing, babbling, churning, roaring, raging, tumbling? Or maybe its meandering? 

When you look at a river, you see the ebbs and flows. We never judge a river for the twists, changes and shifts of tempo—in fact, it’s what we find beautiful about them. We take photos at the eddy or the turbulent rapids or the placid open area with the trees reflecting in the early morning. 

So, why would we judge our own lives for having phases that are raging and others that are meandering? We often come to a turn in our personal journey that throws us into the rapids and immediately, we try to soothe or smooth. We make the rapids “wrong” or “bad.” We look for all the ways to “fix” the situation or we numb out and disengage. But, what if it’s the rapids that make life interesting?  And what if the rapids run their course and the river of life widens out and we get a time of tranquility and peace?  Maybe we will appreciate the tranquility and peace way more because we have just ridden those rapids?  

Here’ s a creative approach that might be fun to look at for your life. 

Take out some markers, paints, crayons, etc. (whatever you enjoy). Start by sketching the outline of a river on a piece of paper.  It can be any shape that you like–a big S, a lot of back and forth, linear or diagonal. Now, take your coloring implements and think about the past year or 5 years of your life. Draw the different phases that you have experienced. Where has your river been smooth, where is it jumpy, where is it wild?  You can choose to label it with specific life events if you would like, or just leave it as it is in metaphor. Take a look at the different phases and see if you can find gratitude and appreciation for all of it, not just the easy parts.  

Just remember, it’s all part of the journey.