The River~

"Into the same river, we do and do not step."

Christina Sell shared this teaching in a workshop I attended a little while back. She was paraphrasing a well known quote by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, which is: "No man ever steps into the same river twice." They both mean the same thing, but like the above version best.  Anyway,  when Christina shared this teaching in class,  I thought I understood the teaching then.  In hindsight, however,  I really understood only the basic premise of the teaching which is:  things change and we change. Yes, this is the gist of that particular teaching, but it's not the heart of the lesson, at least not for me anyway.  

As I was driving Lila around town while she slept the other day, I was taking in my new and not so new surroundings.  And what I realized during my drive, is that Flagstaff has lost a little bit of it's charm for me.  Now, this sounds worse than I mean it to, so let me explain. What I mean is that before moving back to Flagstaff, all I had was my memory of Flagstaff from 10 years ago. And my memories from that time are really pretty good, and most of them are happy memories.  In fact,  when I first moved to Flagstaff in 1998,  I came to continue the healing of my broken heart and to regain my confidence and connection to myself. I covered a lot of inner ground over the 6 years that I was here. 

Anyway, I guess when we decided to move back, I thought the move would be easier and that the feeling of Flagstaff that I remember would come back too.  And the feeling that I have carried with me all this time, is that this was the place that felt the most like home to me out of all the places I have ever lived.  Being an army brat with a long history of moving, and moving often,  home has always been an elusive thing to me. Add to this the fact that this is the place where Jason and I met and fell in love, and this is the place where I began my yoga practice, and you can understand why I hold this place in high regard. So because of my history here in Flagstaff, I thought that I would quickly feel at ease and at home here, but this has not been the case.  

Hence the saying, "into the same river, we do and do not step."  We can go back to the same river, to the same spot, at the same time, in the same clothes later down the line, but the river will not be the same. The river will not be the same because the current of the river is always moving and changing.  And that same river will not be the same because we too are different from one day to the next. We too continue to move and change. This is Life. 

Life and the river are one and the same. Life is no different from the river, it is the river: moving, flowing, changing, expanding, contracting, clear, muddy, raging, calm. How appropriate that this teaching is coming to me at this time when I have been searching for clarity and direction. Thank goodness I was listening when this quote was being whispered to and through me because that single moment of clarity helped me understand so much! 

And what I have come to realize, as I have struggled so much internally over the last few months, is that I thought I could come back to Flagstaff and re-create what I love and remember about this place and that it would feel the same as it did then.  I guess I've been chasing after an idea or ideal, a feeling of home and completeness, a feeling of the peace of belonging and of things making sense.  And now it is clearer than ever to me that it's impossible to re-create any one moment or thing in life because life is not meant to be re-created, it is meant to be created one moment and experience at a time.  
You enjoy what you have when you have it, and you stay open to all the other gifts and surprises that life has to offer you along the way.  All this is so obvious and intuitive and yet,  here I am just now getting it. 

It's like I've been living in the past and chasing the future, and it doesn't work.  And this way of living leaves everything in my life right now in an absolute blur. And maybe this is precisely the reason why I've been feeling so tired, confused and lost. Maybe all I need to do is find my way back to the center of the moment and all will get clear again, and I will begin to feel like myself again.  

So all this is to say that my life feels strange.  My life feels foreign to me at the moment, and I feel foreign to myself even though I am in a place that I know very well.  I am the same, and I am not the same. And this is all really fascinating and eye opening to me. I guess you could say that this is a turning-the-corner moment.  This is good, and I'll take it! In fact, it's imperative that I state that I am Grateful for this insight because it will help me move forward. 

As life flows on,  I will be sure to embrace the new and make a more concerted effort to try new things and allow for myself and my life to truly evolve.  As I do this, I will continue to let go of the old things I've obviously become a little to attached to so that I don't miss the chance to welcome whatever else wants to come into my life. 

Oh life! you are a fine balance that is hard to keep. And there again, I am reminded that there is no keeping anything. There is only living everything and loving the moment while you are in it.  

Awake and open,


  1. You articulate what I am experiencing so very well. Thank you for doing that. You know I hold you in extremely high regard.


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