There is a woman sitting in a canoe. She is struggling to go upstream. She puts her paddle in the water, and she’s fighting to move forward. And Spirit is sitting by the side of the river, watching her efforts with amazement.
Eventually, Spirit asks the woman: “Why are you struggling so hard? What is your benefit of going upstream?”
The woman answers: “Going upstream is an amazing challenge! Going upstream lets you face your fears. Going upstream lets you face your limitations. Going upstream allows you to deal with the challenges, to strengthen your muscles and improve your abilities. When you go upstream, you show that you are not afraid, but you challenge the world and show your strength. There is great value in going upstream! “
“Hmmm – I see…” says Spirit and leans back, calmly watching the woman as she continues to struggle her way upstream.
As the day comes to an end, right before the sun sets, Spirit gets up again and kindly asks the woman, if she gives was open to him sharing something with her.
And as the woman nods her head, Spirit leans forward and says with a friendly voice:
”There is nothing you want upstream.”
There is nothing you want upstream because upstream is where you come from. You took what was valuable with you and then continued with your life. Upstream means going back, but there is no going back in time.
Whatever you do in the future has to be downstream.
Whatever happened is in the past. No matter how much you struggled with it, how much you still feel haunted by it: It is over. Please understand that.
It is great and wonderful if you want to prove yourself to the world.
But if you want to prove yourself, because you were abused as a child, because you were misunderstood, because nobody believed in you, you are struggling for the wrong reasons.
If you’re trying to do something grand, because your parents never did, because you people were misrepresented or disrespected, because somebody in your life like that you and that you would never amount to anything, this is the wrong motivation. All of this is in the past. And it wasn’t right to begin with. It hurt your feelings, it made you uncomfortable, and there was nothing good about it. All of this stuff is upstream, and no matter how much you try to transform it, it is still in the past and only exists in your thoughts and memories and how you chose to deal with them.
Okay, so now let’s take a look at what it means to go downstream.
Downstream is your life as it is NOW. No matter what happened behind you, your life is always downstream and with the flow.
You simply can’t go back, and create a different life. And if you realized that whatever happened in the past is over, you wouldn’t even feel the need to do so.
Of course you can decide to turn your canoe around and try to struggle your way back upstream, but the truth is, that you will not be getting anywhere no matter how much effort you put behind it.
Yes, you might have to heal from things that shouldn’t have happened, but the healing also happens in the here and now. You are not living in the past, no matter how much you think you do or should.
Just dream with me for a moment.
Allow yourself to imagine what would happen if you took all that energy you needed to be able to struggle with the river, and instead used it to turn your canoe downstream and face the obstacles as they naturally present themselves. . Imagine facing your life, instead of your past.
Imagine looking at what’s ahead of you instead of what’s behind you. Imagine being able to use the essence of your life’s experiences and obstacles to create your positive future in the life that awaits you downstream.
Imagine taking yourself so joyfully serious that you learn to focus on your goals, and recognize the opportunities in whatever it is that presents itself to you downstream. Picture the joy, the curiosity and fascination when you allow yourself to be surprised by what life has in stock for you.
Imagine the changes that could take place if you simply made the decision to forgive (not condone or excuse, but to forgive!) what happened upstream.
It is true that most people spend their lives between going back and forth between trauma and worry:
Trauma is the stuff that has already happened; worry is that which hasn’t happened yet.
When do they begin to live in the now?
The only thing that is truly happening is that you are sitting here at your computer reading this blogpost. Everything else is either in the past or in the future. That’s OK! There is nothing wrong with stopping to worry about things we can’t change. Rather spend your time and resources on the things that you can change.
Think about this for a moment: Which goals do you want to set? How do you want to live? If you had it your way, what would your life look like?
Let’s talk about this more next time.
Please leave feedback below! I’d love to learn what you think about this.
Much Love to You!