Rowing the treadmill to nowhere

“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream … ”

As children, we learned that life is but a dream meant to be traveled by gently rowing your boat down the stream.

So, why instead do we ditch the boat for a treadmill and run faster and faster on an uphill climb?

Why do we overlook the four words repeated in the “row row” ditty that sum up the reward of living gently?  “Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily … ”

That’s because sometimes life is not a dream and there’s nothing merry about it. It’s a freakish nightmare splattered with events that kick you in the gut and make you vomit.

There you are merrily rowing your boat and a wave comes along and knocks you into shark-infested waters, leaving you with nothing but your fears for company.

“Treadmills are safer than boats,” you conclude.

Last night I had a dream that I was walking in an open field.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by a white, vapor cloud — a tornado.  I have never been in a tornado, but something told me to lay down.  I was on my back, looking up to the sky as the tornado began to whirl around me.  What struck me was my lack of fear and my complete surrender to what was going on around me.

Suddenly I realized that this moment was a Facebook posting waiting to happen. I reached for my cell phone to take a photo, but my arm was stuck to the ground.

“Just enjoy the show and trust,” a voice said.  “Don’t take a picture of the moment.  Live the moment.”

So, I did.  I relaxed.  Just as fast as it had formed, the tornado dissipated.

The symbolism didn’t escape me.

When caught in the whirlwind of life, let go.  Do nothing.  Watch life unfold the way it was meant to unfold.  Consider that right at that moment — no matter how dizzy you may feel — your prayers are being answered.

Get off the treadmill, stupid.  When you’re on a treadmill, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, you’re still going nowhere.

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to stop.

You’ll know when it’s time to get back in the boat and start rowing … ever so gently.

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