There is a strong tendency for us as humans to get so enveloped with the idea of doing something, accomplishing a goal, or improving an area of our lives that, over time, we slowly but surely begin to like the idea of something more than the thing itself.
We say things like “I am going to start saving money”, “I am going to lose weight”, “I will one day start a business”, “I want to pursue the career of my dreams”, “I want to spend more time on the things I love”, but, for some deep, deep reason in the recesses and caverns of our being, these dreams and goals give way to an entire career spent on the all-too-familiar treadmill of commute, contribute, consume, repeat.
Always moving, never going anywhere.
Don’t get me wrong, there is virtue in the power of habit, routine, and discipline. What I am focusing on here is drifting – simply floating along the mainstream (looking at you, Sweetwater) down the wide, gently-moving river.
And as you float along this river in your makeshift raft, you from time-to-time look across the water on to the banks. And then a little higher up the ledge to the edge where the soil begins to firm and the green, flat land fades out of sight into the unknown. As your gaze is fixed on that distant land, there sparks, for a moment, a beckoning in your mind to get up and out of the river and adventure into that which lies beyond.
Suddenly, in that moment, the river’s current jolts, knocks you over on your raft and swoops you downstream for a second so swiftly. Almost just as quickly, the water calms and resumes its original speed. You sit back up after falling over, collect yourself and then down the river you continue to drift along.
After another fortnight of calm, carefree drifting has passed, and as the sun begins to set on another week gone by, you, lying on your raft after dinner, begin to recall that faint idea, that somewhat familiar inner spark of what it would be like to set foot on the river banks, climb up from the shore and walk out onto that uncharted land.
The rising swell of exhilarating uncertainty immediately starts to flood your soul again; but this time, so much so that you look down at your feet and start to regain a sense of feeling in your toes. Cold muscles in your leg begin to warm.
You go so far as to slowly get up to stand on your raft in the middle of that river, now ready and determined to leap in the water and stroke at intersect to the current’s pull.
Trying to ignore that suddenly loud inner voice that cautions you about leaving comfort and entering uncertainty, you lock your eyes directly on the water’s banks now just ahead, sensing, for an instant, that wondrous boundary where dream reaches out to touch reality.
In that moment, time gives way to eternity, and you forget the life of drifting down that river and see only the endless beckoning land above the shore ahead.
Now, at the edge of the raft, with the wake splashing on your toes, you bend your knees, ready to spring up and leap out into the water.
You struggle to open your eyelids as the rays from the morning sun awaken your senses. You are in that gray state of consciousness where you are not yet fully able to distinguish between what is a dream and what is reality.
As reality trickles in, your head aches of a pain that overwhelms all other thought. You look around to find your pillow so you may rest your head. As you do so you decide to reach your hand to the back of your head to feel a knot sensitive to the touch. Dipping your hand into the cool, gently flowing water beside your raft, you cup enough to splash onto your face in hopes of regaining a little more of your revitalization.
After coming to your senses enough to look around the raft and see your belongings scattered around, you breathe a sigh of relief that you are still in your familiar place and all of your items are in safe despite being unconscious for who knows how long.
Then, safely back in your space, with a slight pain in your head, you sit back on that raft and cross your hands on your chest, gently floating again down that wide, gently-moving river.
Do you want to get off the raft?