Carrying On

Two things are true: You are always moving, and you are carrying things.

In some sense those are probably literally true, but I’m talking metaphorically here. No matter how comfortable or boring you might think your life is, in reality things are changing every day. Whether big or small, those changes move you along your life’s path, and yesterday is not today is not tomorrow.

You can resist those changes or you can lean into them. Resisting them usually just means you change anyway, but you’re unhappy, adrift, and not in control. Life isn’t like a car on the road; it’s like a boat on the river. You’re moving whether you want to or not, but you can steer if you want to. It’s usually a good idea.

And controlling your canoe is easier if it’s lighter. You’re carrying a bunch of things – ideas, biases, attachments, preconceptions. Not all of that stuff helps you. Some of it weighs you down.

Love and joy are like rations and water – they keep you going. Morals and principles are like a compass and rudder; they help you go the right way.

But a lot of that other junk is just dead weight. Some of it might have been important at one point, but we cling to it far beyond the point where we should have just shoved it overboard in order to be lighter. The anger you feel gets in the way of your rudder. The attachments to things you have bury your compass and make it hard to see. The stress makes it hard to reach the rations.

Most things just don’t matter enough to be worth the drag. The river is one way only, but it has many fine sights to see along the way. You won’t always get to stay at any of them as long as you like, so make sure you can swiftly capture the moments you can.

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