There is a river running through Bern, Switzerland, that is used as a kind of moving thoroughfare by local residents and adventurous tourists. Individuals don swimsuits and hike upstream alongside the river and then ride the fast-moving current back into town (without boats or rafts). The Swiss pride themselves on the cleanliness of the water, and a recent PBS travel program showed people of all ages and body types zipping along rapidly, laughing in delight at how fast they are traveling, with no effort whatsoever. They just have to jump in and become one with the current.
If only we could always see life in this way: a beautiful river that will carry us home if we let go and flow with it. Nature gives us so many examples of how life flows if we don’t try to swim against the current: dolphins and porpoises surfing ocean waves, birds and butterflies gliding on airstreams. Surrendering to life’s natural movement allows you to just be instead of striving and struggling. Strenuous effort is so draining, whereas becoming part of something greater energizes you and moves you forward with lightness and grace. Even when the current feels wild and a bit scary. That wildness is life’s pulsation, which is within each of us as well. If you find yourself caught in a small eddy of fear, sadness, or tension, relaxing into feeling it fully often allows you to effortlessly slip back into the main current of life’s events.
For much of my life I was a “trier,” believing that nothing would happen without my own efforts. Of course, I was taught this, at school and in the world at large. Only later did I come to realize that it was in moments of being rather than striving that I always found a connection to life’s flowing essence, which is spirit. As a child, when I climbed trees, ran through open fields, or lay in the grass watching the ever-changing sky, I was most relaxed, alive, inspirited. The natural world held me in its arms and nurtured the evolution of my young soul. Today, it is gardening in my backyard, hiking in the mountains, or swimming in the ocean that fills me with that sense of oneness with all things. As a writer, I tap into this ever-present life energy in order to express my soul’s voice.
Aligning with the pulse of the universe, inside us and all around us, brings liberation and deep connection. When I allow life to flow through me, I am not forcing anything. The current carries me easily. I let go of judgments about people, events, or my own feelings and see them all as part of life’s river, alive with motion and possibility. Every moment is a new opportunity to release expectation and just experience everything openheartedly: “Oh, this is happening now…” Living with all the doors and windows open, no barriers to what is showing up, is the perfect way to expand your inner being. Every river you jump into wholeheartedly will carry you to magical and undreamed of places that will feed your soul. Ride the current of your own heart’s desire, and you will come home to yourself, again and again.
“…flowing like a river,
the changer and the changed.”—Cris Williamson