Your life is like a river, with bends, twists, calm, turbulence, and all kinds of experiences
along the way. When your actions match your thoughts and
feelings, your truth, the ride down this river is an enriching experience.
Now imagine riding down the river with one leg in one
canoe labeled your genuine thoughts and feelings, and the
other leg in another canoe labeled your actions.When you
feel something in your heart and think something in your
mind, but your spoken words do not reflect that truth, the
two canoes separate, pulling your legs apart as you ride the
river of your life. This is a most painful way to travel, and
the simple truth is that it is unnecessary.
If you applied this concept to every area of your life, starting
today, your life would certainly make a dramatic turnaround
because you would genuinely be living your truth.
To do this, first acknowledge every aspect of your life in
which your actions or words are not congruent with your
genuine thoughts and feelings. Next, place all of those aspects
in an imaginary basket. Then, one by one, resolve
those aspects or get rid of them once and for all.
Suppose you are not truly happy with your job but you
continue to go to this place of employment day in and day
out. Put the job in the basket, find a better one more in line
with what you love to do, and toss out the old job.
You may be in a long-term relationship; perhaps the one
you love has been sitting on the fence, causing you a lot of
pain. You can never demand that others do something they
are not ready for, but you can make your own decision to either
continue living with the pain of settling for less than you
deserve or to walk to the other side of the fence alone.When
you do that, you clear the way for someone else to enter your
life…You see, it takes courage to live your truth, to be honest
with yourself and show it. It is far easier, and far more painful,
to feel one way and behave in another.
Why is this called spiritual consciousness? Because it provides
the impetus to get in touch with the deepest part of your
innermost being, the true core of you and you alone. When
you bring your essence, your truth, out from within and up to
the surface of your life, then you can see and feel the real you
in all your life experiences.
When you do this, you glow.You awaken your own vitality.
Your unique inner spirit comes forth and shines in every part
of your life.
Your consciousness, which is your mind, intelligence, intuition,
and wisdom, marries that inner essence, which is
your unique, individual expression. It is the flour and water
combined that makes the wonderful bread.
Self-truth causes us to face things we would rather avoid.
Yet, after enduring the pain of traveling down the river of life
with each leg in a different canoe simultaneously moving in
opposite directions, at some point we make the decision to bring the two together.
From this point forward we find
peace. Our inner life matches our outer life.We say how we
really feel.We speakwhat we honestly think.We dowhat we
know to be right, true, genuine, and good for us and others.
We stop avoiding the truth and find the guts to live it and
express it no matter how itmay temporarily bruise our own
ego or someone else’s.
This is taking individual power to the pinnacle of performance;
this will transform every obstacle life offers.
If you believe in your heart that you want something,
your actions will take you in the direction of your goal one
step at a time. Conversely, if you desire to achieve something,
and you do not do what it takes to reach that goal no
matter how difficult it may be, then your legs are back in
two separate canoes moving in two different directions
along the river of your life. This is no way to travel. It is
painful and gets you nowhere.
The current of a river changes moment to moment and
day to day. You cannot go backwards and duplicate yesterday’s
path. You cannot live with regret, wallowing at the
turn you didn’t take prior to this moment. You have to begin
where you are now and ride the river of the rest of your
life moment to moment, with your canoes aligned. Then
and only thenwill you ultimately getwhere you want to be.
So if life brought a storm, and the ride was miserable,
okay; now what are you going to do?
If you believe you can have a better life, you are right!
Match your belief with your actions, and your journey will
surely take you there.
If you believe this is it and there can be no change, no
benefit, growth, opportunity, or learning, then you do not
realize you are traveling on a river. You have managed to
convince yourself you are in your grave.
So you may find that being honest with yourself is difficult.
It is scary and painful. Yet the eternal saying still carries
all of the wisdomin theworld: “The truth shall set you free.”
No matter what you try to have, do, be, bring into your
life,make better, or release from your life, as long as your efforts
genuinely match your truth and your motive is purely
to live your truth, then ultimately youwill indeed have what
you need. As you live your truth, you will refuse to settle for
less than what you know, deep inside, is best for you.
If you do settle for less, then you are not living your
truth. You are, once again, riding your river with each leg in
a different canoe, where pain is the only possible result.
There is a saying I learned along my life journey: “You
cannot serve two masters.”You cannot serve love and fear at
the same time. You cannot serve truth and fallacy at the
So at each step, for each decision, you must make a
After giving in to fear or fallacy over and over again and
finally realizing the river of your life has taken you nowhere
you truly want to be, you learn, as I have learned, that self
denial, procrastination, and wimping out are not the truth.
Ultimately, you choose to be true to you. Your life then
becomes a physical expression of your ideal you, one day,
one experience, and one decision at a time. It is then and
only then that you are genuinely free.
You refuse to settle, give in, or give up at the expense of
you and your truth. Then you ride your river with joy, inner
peace, and clarity of thought. Then you achieve the results
you seek. Yes, this is the scariest part of life. It requires the
I have spoken much about letting go of fears when seeking
to manifest something, and I have talked about embracing a
challenge no matter how tragic or painful it may appear to be.
How does one genuinely do this? With hindsight, I realized
that I always saw the gift as a result of an unpleasant circumstance.
I also looked back and realized how hard I fought
to hold on to what I did not want to change inmy life. Trying
to keep the status quo is not transforming an obstacle into an
opportunity. It is delaying or trying to stop the realization of
an opportunity, no matter how much we think we do not
Our egos will fight, but ultimately, our highest purpose
and the wisdom of our soul will win. That explains the cliché,
“Everything always works out in the end.” Sometimes it
works out after much fighting on our part.
Move into the area you fear most. Tell yourself: “No matter
how I may be fighting this now, the gifts of this experience
will emerge over time.No matter how much my fearful
personality fights this experience, I can see from past experience
that something happened for reasons I was unable to
see at the time. For the first time, I amgoing to trust, even if
it is for only a second at a time. I am going to allow this river
to take me where I probably wanted to wind up anyway but
did not know exactly how to get there. Life knows.”
We cannot know everything at every turn. That iswhy so
many of us hold on to our current realities so tightly. The
unknown is out of the ego’s domain. It is the domain of the
soul, filled with wisdom and gifts. The only domain of the
ego is the past. A prior point of reference, based on the experiences
we have already lived. We want to evolve, however,
not stagnate in our own history.
You will find that as you move willingly into the experience
staring you in the face, a lot of the pain and anxiety
lessens. You may even begin to see the gifts offered as a result
of the experience a lot faster, which of course will only
I love analogies. So here is mine. Back to the river:
You are on this wild river of your life. The river is your
life. You have a goal or a number of them. You have dreams,
hopes, wishes, and a life purpose. They all intertwine. You
think something is supposed to happen at a certain time or
in a certain way as you ride along. Then comes the bend in
the river. The current takes you inwhat you think is a different
direction. You grab onto a branch dangling from a tree,
and you hold on for dear life. You fight, cry, bargain with God, resist, avoid, and fight, fight, fight the current with every
ounce of fearful strength your personality has to offer.
What you or your personality or your ego can not see is
that this bend is taking you exactly where you truly wanted to
go. But you are so busy fighting it all and holding on that it is
only after you let go that you realize it. Maybe you let go two
years later. Maybe twenty. I hope you will let go at the onset of
this bend in the river and move with the current rather than
fight it. Then you will realize how necessary this bend is to get
you where you want to be.
I just experienced this in my own life. Letting go was the
hardest thing for me. I always wanted to feel in control. I
fought until I was left with no choice. And then, I was grateful.
Or I understood. Or I realized all of the reasons why.
We will always discover the reasons in hindsight, but with
this process, we can see them from the beginning, and that
truly transforms the obstacles our fears create for us.
Move into the experience you are fighting so hard to avoid.
The gifts are there!
I wish you every joy and beauty life offers, and I wish that
you discover where it truly resides: within you.
© Copyright 2001, 2003, 2011, 2019 by Barbara Rose, PhD All Rights Reserved. Excerpt from Individual Power: Reclaiming Your Core, Your Truth and Your Life re-printed with permission, published by The Rose Group (April 17, 2003) ISBN: 097414570X.