09/08/2013 07:50 BST | Updated 08/10/2013 06:12 BST

Lessons From the River



I've been in Switzerland recently and, being land locked, the people here make the most of its lakes and rivers. They even swim in the Rhine along with all those huge boats! Instead of complaining that they have no seaside they simply use what they do have and everyday past our office people are either in little boats, floats or simply swimming downstream. For the energetic ones they swim upstream - it is like having one of those machines that you get in swimming pools to swim against - except this is the natural version. It is one of the most fun things to swim in the river and be taken by the current - a lesson in letting go.

A couple of weekends ago I went with some friends on a three hour river float. We got our oversized rubber rings, dropped the car off down stream and then drove back and launched ourselves three hours upstream from the car. Up until that weekend I had only ever swum in the lake or the river, never done a long float, and this river was a fast flowing river - and it had rapids! (not as in white water rafting rapids I hasten to add!) As we turned the first corner there was the white water churned up by the rocks below and for a moment I felt a frisson of fear. But we were moving so fast I did not have time to do anything but go with the flow and relax and let the river take me through.

As soon as we entered the rapids it was such fun, like a fair ground ride and we were all laughing out loud. We carried on down the river, some sections were slower and more gentle, others were fast and again we encountered more rapids. What we learnt was that even though the river was taking us downstream we could actually paddle and control our passage to some extent. Sure we had to always keep on going forward, no point paddling upstream, but we could pick our passage and avoid the few rocks that were near the surface.

As we went downstream the front floater would point out hidden rocks and we would navigate our way around them and we continued like this for three hours. It was such fun, and taught me a lot about going with the flow and letting go.

Almost everyone I have been speaking with this month has been experiencing some kind of challenge around letting go. Letting go of expectation, letting go of outcomes, letting go of an image of themselves, letting go of doing things in a certain way or like myself, letting go of being the doer. So as I contemplated my float down the river I began to see that it had some valuable lessons about letting go.

Firstly - simply no point in paddling upstream, fighting with 'what is'. It gets us nowhere and is simply exhausting. Instead save your energy for when you need it.

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