For as long as I can remember I have been unhappy with who I am, what I could physically do (sports), what I look like (unhappy with my body) and what I could not achieve. I was constantly looking for ways I could change myself via, endless weight loss campaigns, constantly looking for new jobs, new courses to study, ways in which I could change myself.
I had a vision of what I needed to be in order to be ‘fully’ happy. If only I looked the way I wanted to, if only I could surf better, if only I had the opportunities to become a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer anything other than who I was/am. I was devastated by a long held notion that I was ‘ripped off’ as a child, if only I had a ‘proper’ family who could have guided me to my ultimate goal. If only things had been different…I would have become the best version of myself I could have been.
I tortured myself with this nagging vision of the perfect me with the perfect body, the perfect profession, the perfect life.
Only, the perfect life eluded me for as long as a wished for it. The prospect of this ‘perfect life’ only created pain in my life
I spent a lot on time in nature alone, by myself. I used this space to get away. However, a recent experience has shown me being alone is not the answer, being alone stifles growth, being alone limits expansion, its dulls awareness. Growth occurs when we are lifted by the people we love, the people who challenge us and the people who bring awareness of ourselves not in the past or future but in the present. Growth provides for change and change provides for growth. There cannot be one without the other.
Its occurring to me, time builds change, it cant happen in a short period of time. Change will not happen when one is trying to change, quoting the founder of Gestalt Therapy,
“that change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not’.
I’m starting to appreciate the reasons for the challenges I had in earlier life, challenges that seemed to stifle my growth, my achievements my connection. Which lead me to starting efforts to change, always trying to change but never changing.
It was not till a learned friend gave me the opportunity to take a rest, to let go of the struggle, to not wish my life away with plans of what my future may look.
It was made clear to me by the use of this simple metaphor, life is like a river it flows in a single direction, from its source in the mountains to its end at the sea. The river has times when the water is calm and flowing at a relaxed pace, there is peace in the air, calmness and tranquillity. At other times the river is turbulent and unpredictable, dangerous and deceptive.
All along its journey however, the river contains a energy an energy that is expansive in its expression and at other times hidden beneath its depths…but its still persists wherever along the river one may be, as strong as when the river was created from its source.
The problem you see, for me (and perhaps many of us), I have for much of my life tried to swim against the rivers energy, exhausting myself attempting to change the energy from what it IS to what I wanted it to be. This energy is what we are made of, as we came into this earth the energy we brought with us, is just that, US, Me, YOU, WE. Consequently, there is no changing the energy within as it is our essence, its who we are. Just as the energy of the water flowing in the river is the rivers energy created from its source and developing as it flows.
So…swimming against the river, trying to interrupt its flow is as exhaustive as its impossible.
Swimming against the river is what brings us discontent with our lives, its what frustrates us, its what exhausts us.
The alternate suggested to me, was to stop swimming against the river, take a seat on the river bank for a while and regain my energy and be content in knowing the river will take me to where it was always going to…only now with less struggle.
I’ve been working on letting the river take me along with its flow, to let it run its course. To have less struggle, less wasted energy, less disappointment. To let the energy guide me in life, trusting it knows its way from the source to the sea.