Lessons From The River
A Tribute To A Creative Genius
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Joel’s newsletter on Lessons From The River, Sept 2, 2009
An ezine about Creative thinking, Coaching, and Making a difference
A couple weekends ago my wife and I were in Vermont visiting relatives. We spent some time walking around the old New England town of Middlebury and seeing the famous Middlebury Falls. As I watched the water tumbling over the edge and swirling around in the eddies, I thought about what it would be like to be one of the drops of water in the river.
I imagined a drop of water flowing steadily along the upper part of the river, reaching the edge, tumbling down, getting tossed into the air, swirling around, hitting some rocks, and then following the current and continuing downstream. The drop rides along, literally going with the flow and finds itself downstream, essentially the same as it was before.
This is quite a metaphor for life, I thought. We ourselves are like drops of water in the river. Life moves us along, occasionally banging us against the rocks. We constantly touch other drops in the river. We may tumble over the edge and have quite a fall, but that's not the end. We swirl around a while, then pick up the current and continue on the journey.
As I thought about this some more, I realized that this river and waterfall analogy taught me several things.
* We are all on a similar journey, although everybody is in a different place at any given time.
* We are not that separate from each other. In fact from a broader perspective it's all just water, and we're all simply humanity.
* It helps to have that broader perspective as we go through life. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day adventures and forget that we're all on a greater journey.
* Whatever happens to us, we are still the same in our essence. Water is still water, no matter how many times it gets splashed about. Each of us has a true self that doesn't change, regardless of how often we get knocked around.
* Even if we get pushed over the edge and experience a major fall, it's not the end. The river keeps flowing and we're going with it.
* It helps to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Trying to resist is a lot of effort, and we'll probably end up getting carried away with the current anyway.
* Although some experiences, like riding the waterfall, may be more dramatic than others, each moment is as much a part of life as any other. Every moment is an opportunity to get wet and live fully.
* Life, like the river, is always in motion. We don't know where it all began or where it will all end. While we can sometimes see farther up or downstream, we can't see all there is in the vast scheme of things.
I find the river metaphor, while not perfect, to be rich in life lessons. In many ways we are like drops of water, but of course, as humans, we have choices. Perhaps you can find further insights about life from this metaphor.
With everything going on in your life, it's helpful to get a different perspective to help you navigate the currents and get the most from your journey. Why not partner with a life coach? Contact Joel at email@example.com or 973-701-1007 for more details.
Creative thinking tip
Look for deeper meanings. There are two ways to look at anything. You can see what it is on the surface, or you can look for a deeper meaning underneath. In the river and waterfall example above, you could look and just see a waterfall. Or you could see the drops of water as telling you something about life. I find that 99% of the time I just see the surface meaning. But there is a deeper meaning (and usually many possible deeper meanings) to everything. Yes, I mean everything! All it takes is for us to look for it. The deeper meaning could be in the form of a metaphor, a principle, a logical conclusion, a sudden realization, etc.
When I look out the window I see a cherry tree in my front yard. Usually it's just another tree to me. But if I look more deeply, I see a marvel of biology and chemistry. I see a structure of branches that corresponds to the way organizations and governments are constructed. I see subtleties of color in the leaves that illustrate the laws of physics and light.
When I look closely at the rug on the floor, I see indications of where most of the walking takes place in the room. I see the taste in design of my wife who once purchased the rug. I see the geometric arrangement of the rug in relation to other rugs and furniture in the room.
I find it fun as well as fascinating to look for deeper meanings. This can also make an excellent topic for discussion, and it's a great way to develop your creative thinking (and coaching) ability!
Creative ideas from readers
This week's creative contribution:
* Gladys had the idea to use Facebook to describe something beautiful about the place you live in. This could be enlarged to describe special moments in your life, special people, pets etc. The very first messages she received brought friends and family closer together.
What creative ideas have you come up with? If you send them to me, I'll include them in this newsletter. Please let me know how you want your name to appear, or if you wish to remain anonymous. Thanks!
Quote of the week
"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Henry David Thoreau
What this means to me is that the each of the different seasons has something to offer. Likewise, each of the many facets of life is necessary to give a complete experience. We may have our favorite season, place, food, hang-out, etc. But if we are only open to the things that we like, we miss the richness of life and all the possibilities for experiencing and learning. As in the river analogy, why not just go with the flow and take it all in, wherever you are and whatever is happening in that moment.
This newsletter is written by Joel Remde, to receive this newsletter via email contact firstname.lastname@example.org
. I welcome your comments and feedback; that will help me learn what you’re interested in and also make this a better newsletter.
Learn more about The Creative Thinking Coach at www.coachjoel.com
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