This summer has been a time of turmoil and change in our lives. But as often as I can, I go to the river and sit on a large rock, allowing the sights and sounds and the energy to open my heart and soul to the flow of the Universe.
Two days ago, I went to the river with this question in mind: What are the really important lessons in life?
As always, the river provided answers:
- Walking along the riverbank, I noticed how the extended drought had left the rocks exposed. A week ago, this was a desolate area full of mud and rocks. Today, growing among the rocks, was purple loosestrife, clinging to whatever small bit of soil it could find now that the river had moved away from the banks. The lesson: No matter how bad things are, there is always a little soil you can cling to, and in that soil, you can create life again. Never lose hope.
- At my feet I found an opened mussel shell, probably the remains of some hungry raccoon’s nightly feast. The outside of the shell was dark brown, covered with dirt and algae, nearly unnoticeable in among the rocks at the riverbank. Yet when I looked inside the shell, the iridescent pinks, mauves and creams made me sigh with wonderment. The lesson: What looks ugly on the outside can have, inside it, a small piece of joy and beauty. Take the time to discover the beauty in all things.
- I sat on a large, flat rock that overhangs the river where the rapids begin. The wind was blowing warm and fast from the south, bringing with it gray clouds and rain showers. Overhead, several large predatory birds circled and climbed on the winds. At first I thought they were searching for food, but soon it became clear that they were simply enjoying a ride on the wind. The lesson: Be “in the moment” as much as possible, enjoy the simple things that life brings you, and take time to play every day.
- The wind picked up and I knew rain was coming, but I was loathe to leave this peaceful place. I noticed that there were few insects around; the wind was simply too much for them. However, an industrious bumble bee was attempting multiple landings on the loosestrife, despite how the wind buffeted him away from his target again and again. The lesson: Persevere. Even when the winds of life push you around, always be the best Self you can possibly be.