Life, A River

I woke up today with my true-self, a being who seemed lost for quite some time. As my life went on, I reshaped myself to fit different necessary hats. A career hat as a healthcare professional, someone serious, yet compassionate. A spouse hat, someone with the ability to support and love the challenges of life, yet also fun and cheerful. A parent hat with loads of love to give and enjoyment of the gift that has been given to me. I would not change anything for the last thirty years as a mom and a working wife, for I have experienced a compassionate career that has given me many life lessons.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I try to find the tom-boyish kid, the rebellious teenager, and the young adult that I once was. Somewhere between early adulthood and middle-age, I lost myself to the river that we call “life”. Where is that playful personality with a positive attitude towards the future? What happened to the rosy pictures of life? Did they get swept away with the water in the river? I think not. I am somewhere in the drops. I tell myself that I am still here. I realize that life does come with an instruction manual. Life happens as I go through experiences, delivering one lesson after another.

I look at this river, water flows whether I am observing or not. Events come and go and if I am present enough to enjoy them, I will not miss out. The fluidity of the water reminds me of the concept of time. It passes by so fast, paralleling the many years that have already flown by me. Sometimes water gets blocked by some rocks or branches on the path, but the current continues as soon as it finds another channel. I have seen that in my life so many times. A crisis may occur, emotions run rampant and I as a human being react with worry. Meanwhile, my mind gets distracted, my path becomes murky and goals seem further and further away. Instead, I have learned to trust that this flow is like nature and I am not in control, so I must simply accept. Do I stand by this river and ask why the water is flowing this way or that way? Do I wonder why the current is so fast? No. I just accept the way this natural flow is and I stand by it closing my eyes and listening to the sound of water moving. Sooner or later a solution appears and life goes on.

The climate around the river changes its quality and color. I dip my feet in the shallow part and enjoy the warmth of the sun shining on the ripples. As my body reacts to this sensation of wellness, it reminds me how my body is similar to this river as well, for it changes with the environment. In cold weather, the liquid freezes or the quality changes, affecting the plants and animals around it. My body reacts the same way to toxins, foods that I eat, and my lifestyle. Rain makes the river flooded and overflow to the nearest area. Similarly, my body gets overwhelmed with stress and overeating. If I only listen to the nature of my body and feed it what it needs and no more, protect it from toxins and harmful environments, it will flow and function just like this river.

I observe today with gratitude the person that I see in the mirror. Despite more lines on my face and gray hair showing up each month, I find my true-self as that playful kid, rebellious teenager, and young adult who still sets goals and goes after her dreams. I did not melt in the drops, rather grew and scattered by expanding my mind and maturing to a more observant being. One who loves life with the utmost gratitude for every moment of it.

I close my eyes by the river and inhale with appreciation and exhale by letting go of what is not, accepting every drop of this current until the end.


Shab Kamal

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