When I first began practicing T’ai Chi, Sifu Gardner shared with us a concept that everything we needed to know in living a life that continuously flows was in a song we learned when we were young:
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
Row your boat, means taking action. You cannot stand still and expect to move forward in life. Visions are great, but action makes everything happen. It doesn’t need to be a huge-massive jump, it just needs to have your energy behind it, so that your “Self” knows you are moving forward—taking it one step, one breath at a time. Another way to look at it, is what I tell my students: “Touch your practice everyday.” Now, your practice could be doing 10 pushups, eating more real food, believing in yourself, a project you have been putting off. Whatever your desires are, touch it every day, even if it’s only for 5-10 minutes.
Gently down the stream… now here’s where choice comes in. How does one move gently down the stream? What if along the way, our boat tips over and we end up holding onto a rock? Now, this rock could be our comfort zone, physical pain, an unfulfilling job/relationship, or just simply being scared of the unknown. At times, it seems easier to stay where we are, in that so-called familiar place. If we would only trust ourselves, and the Universe, knowing that if we let go of this “rock” it will allow us a broader perspective of our life, and once again we would be in the continuous flow.
Now, that concept may be easy to understand, but it has taken me years to live it. And, let’s be honest, there are days, I still “hold on” to that damn resistance, whether it is change, stepping into my Authentic Self or letting go of something that happened earlier in the day. (For more on Resistance read: Any Resistance is My Own.) When I step back from my narrow perspective and loosen my grip of my “rock”, that’s when I can hear the melody of this childhood song. I smile to myself and take three long deep breaths, which allows me to become present, and I course correct.
Take a moment now and ask yourself, “What rock am I currently holding on to?” Allow the answer to arise from within, without judging it, just embrace it. Then ask yourself, what purpose is this fill-in-the-blank serving me? (And, really it is serving a purpose, or you would let it go.) Listen and once again allow the answers to arise from inside. Are you done learning this lesson? Take three long deep breaths, from your lower tan tien (below your belly button), become fully present and begin to take one small step forward in releasing your rock. Notice how you feel afterwards, do you feel lighter? More expansive? No right or wrong answers, just notice…
Continue to be aware of how the “rocks” show up in your life, release them, then row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, because in truth, life is but a dream.