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Just Keep Swimming – Rhonda Hull, Ph.D.

It has been awhile since I sat and watched the wonderful movie, Finding Nemo, with my first grandson. It’s a delight (and so is he, I might add)! Since my return from the birth of my second grandson on October 8th (my first grandson’s birthday!) I have been readjusting to life far from my loved ones, riding the waves that life brings, and preparing my work to travel with me again to the LA area for the birth of my third grandson, due December 10th. Yes it has been a fertile year!

Nemo (a little fish) develops a friendship with an older (and very forgetful) fish, Dora, who is trying to help him find his way home. One of my favorite lines is Dora’s suggested mantra for life when you aren’t certain you are making ‘enough’ progress …”Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

All around me I see everyone racing with the year’s end in sight. People seem to be in turmoil, and anxiety is heightened because change everywhere abounds. Fear, rather than creativity shapes their decisions. We become our harshest critic. We forget that the same amount of information that was taken in over a two year period of time a hundred years ago is what we are challenged to process each and everyday. We think if we ‘swim’ fast enough we will somehow manage to master it all, do it all, and control it all.

Although we manage to accomplish amazing things, we are not human doings. We are human beings! We create a life of ‘do-do’ when we don’t balance it with self-care. The amount of what we accomplish is not as important as the spirit and grace with which we accomplish it. We are amazing simply because we breathe. If at the end of the day you can say you offered your Self with integrity, patience, compassion, creativity and generosity, you are living the life that matters even when there are dust bunnies under the bed or the final report is not done. Happiness just is. The key is in our ability to access it. Life just is, and the joy comes from how we regard it. Love just is, and happiness is ours when we keep it the priority. Our power lies not in controlling and completing, but in being most authentically our self without self-judgment amidst the ocean’s ebb and flow of life.

Few of us probably realize that captured in an old childhood song sung in rounds is all the wisdom and insight we need to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

We row, row, row through life, often making it harder than it needs to be. We fall into the trap of expend far more of our energy telling everyone everybody else how to row their boat instead of paying attention to the quality of our own strokes. We believe the ‘if-then’ theory of happiness. ‘If’ only they will change, ‘then’ I can be happy. We fail to realize that we may not always be able to control the circumstances or other people in our life, nor is it our job to do so. However, we do have control over how we view them. Too often we get distracted judging, criticizing and blaming others, rather that taking responsibility for the grace with which we maneuver our own journey. We can truly only love and honor another to the degree to which we authentically love and honor ourselves. We need to first take care in rowing our own boat to genuinely be able to assist another.

Gently Down the Stream

We often travel against the current, resist change, and impose limits that need not be there. We flounder upstream, and too often choose being right over being happy. Rather than fighting against the flow we can learn to recognize it and become one with it, trusting it to take us in a productive direction. We can savor the wonders available to us in every precious moment, freely share our gratitude, and allow rather than force our way to greater happiness.

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily

Humans are a funny lot. We tend to focus on what isn’t working, rather than all the things that are. Let’s say that 100 things go generally right in the course of a day, and one thing does not go according to plan. What do we talk about over dinner? Choosing to place our focus on all our blessings, and looking for excuses to laugh and appreciate simple joys will offer us balance and comfort, and strengthen us for the times we are called to face the true challenges that life will offer.

Life is But a Dream

It is usually not our life that is off course, but what we think about our. If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up some place else. It is important to weed your negative thoughts in order to harvest happiness. The quality of your thoughts creates the quality of your experience. Dare to vision, to dream big, to make mistakes, and to apply lessons learned willingly.

Many of us have proven to be strong swimmers through life, and some of us feel like we are drowning, lost, or paralyzed by fear. Climb back in the boat and rest awhile. Glide through life with a bit more ease and learn to enjoy the adventure with the innocence and faith of a child.

When you are ready, take Dora’s advice and…”Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Knowing that it is not reaching your destination that is important, but the quality of the journey.

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