Happiness, Mind, Nature

Flowing with the River

river with green trees

As I may have mentioned to you once before, after reading Finding Your North Star by Martha Beck I did a visualization exercise about my future life. I imagined myself in a light and airy home with big windows and pale wood floors. And this home was perched on the edge of a river. It wasn’t a place or a river that I recognized, so ever since I have been checking out all the rivers I pass, thinking: Could you be the one? Are you my river?

Of course, the river I imagined might not be a real river at all. Many people have used the river as a metaphor for life. In his work on interpersonal neurobiology, Dan Siegel often uses a river analogy to describe the “river of well-being.” On one bank there is rigidity, on the other bank there is chaos. When you’re not bumping against the banks, life in the river is simply easier– you won’t be clenched in a tight ball, nor will you be falling to pieces. Floating along the center of the river is where you’ll flow with ease in that perfect balance between order and chaos.

Rivers are life in motion; they twist and turn, race and meander, and sometimes veer off to carve new paths. The river is filled by rain, which begins as separate drops. Once in the river, we’re all part of the same organism. We’re all water.


To be on the river means:

To flow

To move

To change

To surrender to the current

To journey

And that is what I am wanting right now– to be carried along in the current, to enjoy the ride.

I searched online for river quotes and learned that poets, musicians, politicians, and self-help gurus have at least one thing in common: they love to talk about rivers. Here are a few of my favorites:

May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.

Rainer Maria Rilke

He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.


If you live in the river you should make friends with the crocodile.

Indian Proverb

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.

A A Milne


P.S. What are you reading? I usually have a couple books going at a time, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction. I fly through some books and take ages to read others. Here’s what I’m reading this week:

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau


4 thoughts on “Flowing with the River”

  1. I too like the river analogy 😊.
    I’ve just started reading Meet the Frugalwoods by Elizabeth Willard Thames. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the Frugalwoods blog, but they saved hard in their twenties to retire early to a homestead in rural Vermont aged 32. It’s been fascinating so far.

    Liked by 1 person

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