Making Peace with the River

photo 3The only ripples on the surface of the water were those created by mullet, alligator gars and other fish schooling. The mirror-like river seemed to breathe peace. A few months ago it was a raging torrent that brought terrible destruction that created fear and chaos but today it invited me to reconnect, to dance…to renew friendship.

As I paddled my SUP board, the carbon fiber blade sliced through liquid reflections of clouds and I felt emotions arise that took me back to that scary night when the docile river became a viciously flowing white-water river that raced through yards, homes…though lives. I realized my reluctance to paddle these many weeks since then was due to resentment or distrust I had towards the river. I had trusted it completely and then it seemed to go berserk.

SimoneLipscomb (6)Of course, it’s irrational to resent a force of nature. It wasn’t responsible for paving over acres of land in nearby towns that causes water to run off the surface rather than soak into the ground. This quaint waterway didn’t cause two feet of rain to fall in 24 hours nor did it fill itself in with sediment from development erosion. The river didn’t do any of this….it’s just a river that reacted to an event.

As I pondered the resentment and distrust I felt, I realized how closely the river mirrors my life. Recently I’ve been journeying deep within to simply listen to what I say to myself, what thoughts I think and repeat. It has not been easy. I have felt the effects of a near silent destructive force of negative self-talk. As well, my perfectionism has been a dark force in life that, at times, feels like a ton of baggage that weighs down some of my most creative ideas and endeavors.

SimoneLipscomb (31)While I want to feel that calm, beautiful peace within, there are times when it feels like a river raging through my innermost calm. Sometimes a little extra force is good but when it becomes destructive it isn’t good or beneficial.

Perhaps it takes an inner storm every once in a while to clear out what’s no longer serving the higher purpose of life; however, it’s probably much wiser to avoid creating situations that produce such intensive experiences. For instance, don’t pave over or ignore emotions as they tend to build up and become bigger than if allowed regular expression. Don’t ignore the negative self-talk that can quite literally keep us stuck, mired in self-doubt and fear. And maybe most important…be kind and compassionate to ourselves.

Today as I paddled in the early-morning calm, I made peace with the river; I made peace with myself.

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