I believe that life has a natural flow and resisting it only delays my inevitable destination. It doesn’t change it. So, one moment at a time I am learning to go with the flow of life even when it gets uncomfortable because discomfort and resistance are two very different things. Never was this lesson made more clear to me than the summer of 2008 when I was kayaking the Battenkill River with a friend in upstate NY.
It was a perfect pre-autumn day just after some very heavy rains. The river was higher and faster than usual. Bill and I, with lives in transition from previous relationships, had a lot on our minds and had spent much time talking the previous day. When we got to the river and boarded our kayaks, we each headed out on our adventures – together, but separately. On this day, it was my pleasure to ride the faster current, which put me 10 or 15 minutes ahead of him. So as I neared our destination where a van and driver would be waiting, I decided I would make my way to the shoreline to enjoy the scenery and wait. In my mind, together we would finish the trip.
The river current, however, had a different idea for me. The current was flowing, but determined to make things what I wanted them to be, I was resisting. I could physically feel my resistance as I fought harder paddling to direct my kayak to the water’s edge. The current took me and smashed me into a tree giving me seconds to make the decision to go under or bail out. Instinct kicked in and I lifted myself out of the kayak plunging waist deep into the cold water and smashing my leg against a submerged river rock. Later I would discover that I had fractured my tibia. Still, I managed to hold on to both my kayak and paddle and was able to finish the journey.
In this moment I came to realize, that for me, my instinct or my intuition is my life’s river flow. When I trust it, I go exactly where I need to go as smoothly as the current will allow. When I let my analytical tendency override my intuition for any variety of reasons, I have to fight harder only to arrive at the same place a little later and a little more battered, whether emotionally or physically.
So when I feel myself beginning to resist something in my life, I know it’s time to step back and check in with my intuition, feel what’s in the core of me. Do I go under, bail out, or stay the course? My instinct, my intuition, this is to be trusted and will get me to my destination faster and with as few bruises and broken bones as possible.