Surrendering to the Flow: How a Day on the River Changed My Perspective

None of us got where we are by standing still.
And yet….

What if you just let the river take you ?

On vacation, we took inner tubes to a softly flowing river. The day was beautiful and alive. A short float downstream took us past geese, grasses, and general tranquility.

At first, I resisted simply going along with the gentle current.

There was a sense of anxiety or incompleteness. 

Is this it? Am I doing enough?

And then I thought about careers and life. If you’re generally OK with the “river” you’re on (and if you’re not, that’s another story) is there room to let events unfold without trying to brute force them into existence? What would that look like?

On the river, I learned what I’d have to give up to go with the flow:


This was a low-danger situation , but I still kept thinking about when and how I’d get out, even far from the exit point. Planning becomes worrying when the same thoughts repeat over and over, taking you away from the here and now. To bring myself back, I took a few breaths and focused on the colors in the scenery.


The river had little currents and eddies that moved the tube in different directions. My first instinct was to counteract them and paddle back to where I had been. Then I got curious and just let the small movements happen, wondering where they’d take me next.

Getting too clever

The river entrance was muddy, and to keep my feet clean I tried launching myself onto the inner tube instead of stepping in. The tube flipped over and I ended up on my back on the mud (sorry, no photo documentation!) On the one hand, this was an experiment and a little “f” failure; on the other hand, the unnecessary effort to avoid a small inconvenience caused a larger one.

The reward for giving up these burdens? Curiosity, ease, and allowing the good unexpected to happen.

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