sometimes, life ain't so downstream...
In light of the last post, and knowing that life is...as they say...life, we'd like to take a moment to shed some more light on living the Downstream way. Life isn't always easy...it's quite difficult in some moments and in others it's overwhelmingly joyous. But, unlike anadromous creatures like the one pictured below, we have the power...the mental capacity to CHOOSE a different way. You see, these finned friends are acting on instinct and it's one of pure survival. It's a beautiful and necessary thing for them, as difficulties are for us, but we simply have more choice in the flow of our lives and, like our salmon friend's obstacle here, many of ours are "man (self) made."
As humans, our power is choice. Outside of where you're born and who your parents are, you really have the power of choice in all other aspects of life. Sure, some are "luckier" than you may be/feel, and many others are "not-so-lucky," (and I want to leave room here for hardships that may be less in our control...cancer for example)...but even in those strife-filled moments, we still have choices. But to say we have no choice in the flow, the meaning, the direction of our life is to relinquish our power. To be a victim of circumstance is to give your power to that circumstance/person/thing. Who would want to give their power away to something/someone else?
Well, it's really easier than it sounds. To give away our power is to allow us to blame other things and events and circumstances for "the way things are." It may keep us stuck but it also eases the burden of the idea that we are really the ones in control. To take ownership of "the way things are" is to carry the burden of your choices. How does this fit into our lifestyle? What does this have to do with living Downstream?
The answer is this:
Living Downstream means alignment...with nature, with soul, with God, with the power that creates worlds and holds them together (and I'm not talking religion here...faith, yes, but also real and actual science). To understand your true self, to be aligned with it, is to choose and pursue happiness. Happiness is not to be confused with fleeting pleasures that bring joy in one moment and then usually sorrow or longing in the next. True happiness is to know one's soul, to be aligned and in touch with it, and to use that as a compass for the carrying out of one's life, from the mundane to the grand.
We who choose to flow Downstream seek this alignment through the power and grandeur of nature. Its beauty and power centers us, lifts us, and keeps us humble at the same time. It reminds us that we can make conscious choices, big and small...consistently every day, to feel a sense of control and purpose. It means that the purpose of life is not to have a "problem free life"... that isn't possible...but we CAN AND DO get to choose the set of problems we want to have. No longer are obstacles a sign of struggle and weakness, but something to be relished and conquered to bring meaning and accomplishment. Even the hardships that seem out of our control will be met with more ease and grace. We will see "good" and "bad" in life to show us contrasts...to show us and teach us what we really do want or need. As this momentum builds, you get to feel that you are directing your life, not just watching it/things "happen to you." You get to feel that things are "on purpose," that your choices are preemptive or at least lighter and more fun , not in reaction to how life is happening to you.
And so, on the salt flats, in the back-country, on the ski slope, or floating down the river, we find the reminders of the bigger picture and our place in it. We find evidence of the vastness of the earth, the universe, of everything and our connection to it. We find our love for things and places and people, our momentum, our true voice and alignment to them. This is life, flowing. This is living Downstream.