Shaman Maggie emailed me not so long ago, a letter in which she stated:
"I see myself floating down a river in my inner tube and letting things happen as they happen with light and love and joy. This part of the river is flowing swifter now and still requires insight and awareness, balance and impeccability and a strong intention of goodness and foresight to maneuver this swifter water."
One of the first lessons I learned from Shaman Maggie was what I call the River lesson. In it, she invites me to join her on the Raft, from my stance on the shore. She invited me to join the flow of life, without reservation and with strong faith that I would be guided through the rapids.
For me, it was a great analogy. I have taken my problems to the River as far back as I can remember. I grew up near a river...Stamp Falls Provincial Park was only a couple of miles away. I would take my problems there, throw them into the churning waters, and watch them float away on their way to the sea, calming my tears.
For me, River was already a safe haven. But I have also seen the waters of River angry, swollen with raging power. Years ago, when I stood on shore marveling at Nature's force, had I not already forged a relationship with River as a familiar cleansing tool, if I would have understood both sides of the River...the one where rage is sometimes foremost, along with the lilting, tinkling harmony of its Waters that induce meditation and peace.
And so it is with the River of Life. There are times of peace and joy, when the River runs smoothly and calmly, when obstacles are small and easily maneuvered. And then, when the pace of life and life's events pick up, when the Waters churn a little, and there is a taste of the rougher waters ahead, I invite close contact with my guides, asking for aid...and relief from fear and apprehension of what I do not yet know.
When the rapids begin...I am ready. I have prepared the best way I know how, me on my raft. I have picked my tools carefully, keeping them close. I feel the force...the urge to face whatever is ahead, without fear. I have strong, unshakable faith that my raft and I will withstand the pace, will not be drowned under the onslaught of Rock engaging with swift moving Water, that we will be guided through...emerging on the other side, once again.
There is exhilaration, too...when the waters of the River dash with huge abandon against age old ravines, shouting its exuberance to the skies, showing its unbridled power and joy! These times, when the heart feels absolutely full...so full of joy it is hard to breathe...are the opposite of the dark, tumultuous midnight journeys also a part of River.
It is a long journey. A lot of the problems given to the River in my youth have a way of stirring the smooth waters...those problems that were given, and then never looked at again. They show up as jagged Rock sometimes. And then there are the seemingly impassable log jams...how will I and my raft circumvent those?
And yet...I would rather be part of this quixotic River, then standing on the shore, too afraid to join in, too afraid of consequences. I want to live my life to the fullest; I want to challenge what comes, floating out of the impossible rapids into smooth, peaceful Waters. Yes...over and over and over again, if that is what it takes to get to my goal.
I only gain more experience each time I traverse the rapids. I only receive more joy when I join in the River's exhilarating dance.
Shaman Maggie was right when she promised me journeying on the River would bring me serenity and acceptance, instead of fear and foreboding about what lies ahead. River forges on regardless of obstacles, real or imagined, sweeping me along with the current.
River has taught me there is always a way.