(photo credit: Snake River, Grand Teton National Park by woodleywonderworks on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
“Muddy water, let stand, always becomes clear.” –Lao Tzu
One of the things I thought about when I came up with the idea of writing a daily blog for a year was that it would give me time, and hopefully knowledge, to figure out what comes next in my life.
As I head into the second half of my fiftieth year and take stock of where the last six months of daily dispensing of pieces of my life have led me, I feel a bit like I did years ago in a canoe on the Snake River in Wyoming, when after an hour or so of riding the current, our boat got pulled into an eddy and the swirl of water was so strong that we had great difficulty making our way out. In this case the river is full of the muck of the words and pictures and ideas and information I’ve produced daily for six months, and I am working so hard to break through the maelstrom of my mind that I’m pushing myself deeper into the vortex.
As I move around this way and that, trying to free myself from the confusion of where I am, and in the process make things worse for myself, all I can think is that I want this to be over. I want the ride to be over. Then, in the stillness of having completed the course, I can get some clarity about where I’ve been and where it has led me.
But I know that when I’m back on course, I will not be so anxious to reach the end. The effort of keeping the canoe upright and moving forward has been invigorating; the sounds and smells of life–the wind and the water and the wildlife brushing past me–makes me feel a part of something bigger than myself; and the enforced solitude provides a stillness of mind that opens up streams of consciousness that surprise me time and again as stories and ideas flow from a secret room I never knew existed, hidden behind a seemingly normal bookcase inside my brain.
It is a luxury to be able to travel along this course with its twists and turns and moments of insight, and I willingly intend to make my way to the end at the pace that best suits the journey. And when I reach my destination in another six months, I will stop and let the muddy water stand, and wait for the clarity that Lao Tzu assures me will certainly come.
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