I wonder, “Is rowing is the best metaphor for enjoying life more?” I speak as an observer rather than a regular practitioner, though I’ve seen enough for rowing to capture my imagination.

When we row, we set our direction, and then we face where we have come from. This, I believe, is the secret to joy. Every stroke of the oars takes us appreciably further away from the beginning of our journey. Every stroke of the oars brings us closer to our desire.

Of course, we have to look over our shoulder regularly to see if we are still heading in the right direction, but the majority of the time is spent noticing our progress in how far we have come so far.

Most of my life I have spent like an over-enthusiastic dog-on-a-leash. I have strained towards the future, always pulling on the lead – which, metaphorically, could be seen as the factors that hold me back and impede my progress. It’s an exhausting way to live.

If I were to choose, instead, to relax in the boat, carried by the River and Currents of Time, and occasionally dip my oars in to work with the flow instead of against it, I believe more joy will be experienced.

Nice thought? But how can we do this? I think rowing has part of the answer. The partial answer is for you and I is to notice how far we have come. Rather than fretting over the gap… or gulf… between where we are now and where we want to get to, how much more gentle it would be to celebrate the gain we have made from our start.

My days of naïveté are diminishing – at least I hope so. I know this model is too simple and life is far more complex. Many of us here may think we’ve often taken one step forward only to fall two steps back. So let’s take this only as a gentle call to reflect on the areas where we can notice a positive gain. Perhaps you’ve become a better listener than you used to be? Perhaps you think of others more than you used to? Perhaps you’ve learned to press pause before jumping, impulsively, into a choice you haven’t thought through? Perhaps you’ve moved on from a destructive relationship or personal habit?

May you row gently through the coming week, noticing all the positive changes to your landscape.

A Moodscope member.

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