A new friend was recently checking out my Facebook page and commented on how happy I am in my photos. I was about to say my standard “Facebook doesn’t show the sum-total of reality” speech when I stopped myself. Actually, I am happy. And the people in the photos are genuinely happy to be with me—if they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t let me smooch them like that. I hope.
Being happy doesn’t mean I’m maniacally excited about each day. I don’t really have the energy or personality for mania. That said, my life today does have a strong undercurrent of joy. My friend’s comment caused me to ponder how I’d become one of those happy creatures–because it’s a fairly recent development.
I concluded that I’m happy now because I’ve done just about everything I was terrified of doing. The fear was keeping me from feeling the current of Life, causing me to resist its flow. Paradoxically, the fear was also showing me where Life was calling. I had to let go and ride the rapids. Woo, scary.
What happened when I began riding the current is that I started to change my external circumstances, many times before I completely understood why. I found I couldn’t “be” myself into a new way of living, I had to live myself into a new way of being.
I learned to let Life’s current propel me forward, and to use tools like working my thoughts to navigate the rapids, not to stand on shore and contemplate what might be around the bend. To be more accurate, Life wrenched me from the safety of the bank still clutching dirt clods in both hands. Sure, my safe life had eddies of fun and satisfaction. But as I become more conscious of the river of Life thrumming beneath me, waiting to guide me into the uncharted, holding to the bank became untenable. The current became too strong, and I surrendered to its pull.
There’s no way to be fully prepared for all that Life has in store for you, you can strap on a helmet (your tools) and buckle up your life vest (your friends), but ultimately, it’s just you, Life and your ride.
But let me ask you this; have you ever seen photos of people shooting the rapids? Sheer joy. (Ok, they might be peeing their pants too, but for the most part, sheer joy.)