Our lives can be compared to a river.  The sheer force and playfulness of the river at the start  is like our childhood, when we have no fears or inhibitions but gush forward enthusiastically.  A little further on,  the river encounters boulders over which it leaps and bounds which is like our teens and the start of our adult life.  We leap and take falls and we carry on.  The river soon reaches the plains and flows much calmer compared to its earlier phases and this is like our middle age which is less turbulent comparatively.  Finally, the river meanders its way to merge into the ocean which for us is like passing on and becoming one with the Almighty.

A river weaves  magic by her sheer presence and brings life, happiness and joy wherever she flows.  She embraces and accepts all unconditionally.

Our lives can be beautiful when we learn to flow like a river accepting everything gracefully that comes our way.  But, can we do that?

Life can be simple but don’t we all complicate it?  We seem to give importance to matters that have no value and we end up doing all the wrong things.  Many  times in our life,  we forget to exercise kindness, compassion, empathy and forgiveness.  We don’t seem to have the time to savour this beautiful earth, the ever changing sky,  fresh air, flowers, trees, plus all the other things that nature has gifted us with.   Our mind is clouded with a false sense of prestige, fame, popularity, splendour and riches.  We seem to be perpectually in a rush  to get somewhere.

It is surprising what growing up has done to us collectively.  The wonder and curiousity that we carry as a child,  completely disappears as we reach adulthood.  The fun in watching butterflies flitting from flower to flower or the dragon flies flying in circles, the birds chirping, the moon rising, the rainbows forming and so many other beautiful happenings around us do not charm or delight us as we start aging.   These things do not give us the same joy as before as we suddenly discover  ‘more important’ things to do in life.  We forget that this whole universe is a wonderland!   We just don’t have the time to stay and wonder anymore.

If we just go back in life to think of our happiest moments, it is always associated with the joy of being in the lap of mother nature and the simple pleasures shared with family and friends.  It  always contains one or more of the beautiful emotions of love, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, forgiving, giving and sharing.

Lessons taught by life take us a life time to learn.  Maybe, that is why old age and wisdom go hand in hand.  That really does not mean that all old people are wiser!  Usually,  by the time we reach our sixties,  we are more sober.  Our priorities change and we learn to savour life more.  We are in no hurry to prove ourselves to the world, and that is a huge lesson learnt!  To learn that we don’t have to compare ourselves with others but can strive each day to better ourselves is a wonderful thing to understand, comprehend and be.

Whenever, I look back at my life I imagine myself standing on top of a mountain and surveying the peaks and valleys which are like the highs and the lows of my life.  The highs have always been the times when i have spread happiness, been patient, humble, giving and forgiving.  The lows have been when i had acted mindlessly and foolishly.   It is interesting to observe that whenever we give time and contemplate about our life we get clarity.  We, then realise how to resolve issues and make amends.  Life teaches us many lessons and it takes a life time to comprehend learn them.

The greatest lesson life taught me is patience.  Patience is indeed a great strength.  Time and again i have seen the  outcome of having patience and it has indeed surprised me!  Patience gives us the time to think and respond better.  It makes a huge impact on us, our families and our friends.  There have been times when I have fretted and fumed over the injustice of things but nevertheless I convinced myself to choose patience as a response.  Each time it has been rewarding and I have always reaped its benefits which have been multifold.   All this of course did not happen in a day or two.  It has taken me a life time literally!  It has come after a lot of introspection, self dialogue, weighing the pros and cons, taking other people’s emotions into consideration and a horde of other things.  Patience has changed me as a person for good and has brought stability in my life.

To be patient definitely  does not mean that we become a doormat.  It means that we give ourselves that pause and we know when and how to say things without hurting others.   However,  this does not mean that i am always calm now. There are occasions when I do lose my cool  but I bounce back faster.  It is just that life now is more like a river flowing calmly,  but with the occasional eddies.

Armed with patience we understand that proving a point or winning an argument means nothing.  If we give it a little thought we understand how pointless it is.  Initially, proving our point does give us that high no doubt, but in the process we break hearts and destroy everything that we actually hold dear.  Patience helps in creating strong bonds and brings about the happiness we all seek.  It is a virtue worth practicing.

Life is fragile and it has to be handled with care and patience.  It comes with the fragile sticker on it!  It is the greatest teacher and it teaches us in its myriad ways.  We learn some lessons,  we don’t learn some and we don’t want to learn some as we think we know better.  We fight life, throwing tantrums like an angry child.  We keep punishing ourselves without realising that life is indeed simple if we but know how to relish it simply.

Let us try and flow like a river embracing life and all that it has to offer.  Maybe, we all need to reconnect with the child within us crying to be let out.

 

 

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Revathi Ravi

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