Imagine you are walking through the woods, guided by the sounds of a river up ahead. As you come to the edge of the wooded area, you see a wide river. You’ve been told the only way to get to where you want to go, is to follow this river.
But as you come closer you see that the river splits into three smaller very different rivers.
~The river to the left is murky, cluttered with garbage and slogging along slowly.
~The river to the right is home to beavers with dams that block the flow.
~The middle river is crystal clear, with boulders and logs here and there, but the water flows around the obstacles easily.
Sitting on the bank at the head of these three rivers is a rowboat for you to ride in and now you must make a choice:
~Choose the river to the left and you’ll be navigating garbage; your mood will be in the dumps and the view will be one of despair, feeling trapped and chaos.
~Choose the river to your right and you’ll flow for a while and then be stopped by large beaver dams. If you choose this river, your journey will be slow and tedious with the constant stopping and climbing (while dragging your boat behind you) around and over dams.
~The middle river appears to be the best choice, but there are obstacles and you begin to worry; your mind creates thoughts of your little boat running into a boulder or getting stuck under a log. You start to question your ability to guide the boat around the obstacles—what if your paddling skills aren’t enough?
If you take the river to the left, you will get to where you need to go…and besides, this river is somewhat familiar territory. You’ve managed to get this far in life hauling your cluttered thoughts along, staying in relationships that drag you down, not speaking up, being there for everyone (except yourself). It’s hard and you’re tired at the end of the day, but your doing it.
The river to the right is also familiar…if you move fast you won’t have time to think about what is worrying you. You know this route—keep pushing, keep moving, keep doing. When a dam blocks your way, plow through it, climb over. You’ve got this.
But…you’re tired, feeling a bit burnt out and that middle river looks enticing. You remember the story of the silver platter and so you put your concerns and worries on the platter and hand them to the Universe.
You look at the rivers on the left and right and remember that you can say “no” to what is cluttering your life and creating unnecessary garbage. You can also put healthy boundaries in place that keep the clutter out without feeling guilty and you understand that even a river has areas where it ebbs and then flows.
At this point in your life journey, you’ve had enough experiences to know that pushing through depletes you, makes you irritable, edgy and unhappy with everyone, including yourself. You don’t want to arrive feeling resentful and wiped out. The thought of climbing over dams and slogging through murky waters drains your life energy.
You take another look at the middle river and this time your eye spots a big boulder; but it’s okay because if you run into that rock, you know what to do to solve the problem—ask “how can I see this differently?” If your boat wedges itself under a log, you’re not alone anymore because you’ve created a network of support and you can ask for help.
You make your choice to take the middle river – as you step into the rowboat, you notice that painted on the side in beautiful script writing is a name. You bend down for a closer look. You pause and smile…
The name of your boat is T R U S T.
PS. This short story was inspired by one sentence written by Tosha Silver (who didn’t have Mrs. Cain for 7th grade English and is a ‘real’ writer with a degree in literature from Yale) that says,“let my highest destiny unfold.”
Just Say No
Five Causes of Guilt
Reduce Mental Clutter
Silver Platter (Letting go)
Do Everything Differently (Rewiring emotional response system)
Ebb and Flow (A different way to look at balance)
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