“Be the river and not the reed.”

We stood on the bridge watching the people on inner tubes navigate a small section of shallow white water.  Most of the tubes were tethered together in pairs. Most of the pairs had one guy with a stick used to help navigate the hazards in the river.  There seemed to be two types of people. Those that allowed the river to take them where it may and those that used their sticks to paddle, push and otherwise control their direction.  The ones who weren’t working so hard seemed to be having more fun. They didn’t get stuck, they didn’t fall out of their tubes, no one swore or got frustrated.

Later we took the plunge and floated on pink tubes tethered together, my husband being the stick bearer.  Another couple was ahead of us and he was using his stick as a paddle, telling her where they needed to be in the river,  I could see that he was stressing both himself and his wife out on what was supposed to be fun.  Why? Why was he trying to control the journey down the river? He wasn’t in a kayak or canoe with an actual paddle, he was in the bumper car of floatation transportation.  What did he hope to accomplish?

I think it’s about control. Having a sense of control makes a person feel more secure.  If I’m in control of my surroundings then I can control what happens to me, then I feel safe.

There is a story of  Siddhartha meditating by the river and he notices a reed growing in the current. Watching  the reed stand up to the river’s relentless current, he thinks “Be the river and not the reed.”  The river us unfazed by the reed, it simply goes around it.

When we let go of the need to be in control we can relax and flow.  We may find the journey fun and enjoyable or rocky and a little scary. Either way, being in the flow is much easier and less stressful than trying to control.

Just for today

When I find myself getting stressed out, I’ll pause and ask myself what am I fighting against? What am I resisting? I’ll name it and ask if there is anything I can do about it. If I can take action I will, if there is nothing to be done, I’ll relax and say “Let it be.”


God, help me to trust you more. Help me to flow with the situations and people in my life. Show me where I can add to the flow instead of resisting it.

2 thoughts on “Flow

  1. This is awesome. I love the tubing story – it perfectly represents the concept of glow vs. control. I want to flow!


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