I wake up from my slumber well before dawn, not doing a damn thing but lying in bed thinking. At roughly six o’clock I decide to get up. I make myself some coffee. Having nothing else to do, I go on ahead with some light exercising and start getting breakfast ready before the boy wakes up.
Not half an hour later, he’s up.
“You’re up awfully early,” I say to him.
“Mmmhmm,” he mumbles. “I was dreaming about blueberry pancakes and bacon.”
“Well kid, sometimes dreams do come true. Here eat up.”
After pretty much a wordless breakfast, we do the dishes, tidy up the kitchen, and wash our hands.
As we have done when washing our hands since he was just a tadpole of a toddler, we sing along to the song Row, Row, Row Your Boat. You know the one.
“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” We sang it three times over with the harmony of an eternal bond.
Shortly thereafter, after a bit of silence, came a question that just might change one’s life forever. Especially mine, as I feel quite the rippling effect creating waves throughout me.
A SIMPLE QUESTION
His questions, they often range from the semantics of all that is silly to some that are downright mind-blowing. And as he looked up to me, the look in his eyes meant I better buckle up for one helluva ride.
“Dad, I am the boat?”
At first, I can only smile astounded. Astounded at his modest cross-examination of a children’s lullaby, which leaves me wondering if said lullaby, now carries with it, the deepest meaning of any song. Ever!
After a few moments of unforeseen deep thought, I did what I do best. I spoke without much resolve.
“Why Dad?” He asks with genuine curiosity.
“Because I said so, and because you are. It’s like this.”
ROW YOUR BOAT
By rowing your boat you are aware that you must take control of your own life and nobody else’s. And besides, our bodies are made up of 75% water. So yes, of course, your body could be considered a vessel of sorts, or even better, a boat. But you are the captain of your own boat and you choose your own journey. Just as everyone else is the captain of their own life, or boat.
This is super important for you you to remember. Never try to take control of anyone else’s boat, nor should you even try to take their paddles. You may offer them direction if they are lost. You may even offer them your paddles if you feel the need to help them. But never try to take control of anybody’s boat. It’s their boat to sail, and they must set the sails for their own journey however they see fit.
GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM
And throughout this sea of life we must remember to row so gently, and not so forcefully. By rowing gently we go with the flow of things, with the way our life is meant to go. We must not keep going against the currents of whatever negative approach reality decides to throw at us.
When you try and maneuver against the natural flow of things, your boat, or life, will struggle mightily to get through the angry, choppy waters of reality. So don’t go about rowing angrily. Nothing is worse than struggling through life when mad. Because when you argue against reality, you’ll lose every damn time kid. And who knows, but your boat may wind up upside down, and then you could sink, and maybe even drown.
“Dad, I know how to swim.”
“Besides the point kid. Are you listening to me? And what if there’s sharks? Did you ever think of that? Now, where were we?”
“Good point,” he said aware.
See rowing gently through life represents the fact that we must row with finesse down the stream. It could even be considered that the stream, is but a stream of consciousness. Of being aware of all that is good in life.
You know, just go with the flow of consciousness. Do this, instead of struggling against the flow, or going against the currents of the way things are. However bad they go, just remember to row with hope. Because struggling against the flow makes things really, really, uncomfortable. So just go with the flow. Whatever is meant for you will find it’s way to you without forcing it too, even the truth.
MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY
And also, by rowing merrily, we are confident and aware of all the happiness that waits out there in life’s endless sea, but we must not always take everything so damn seriously. It is a lot better to see things through the eyes of silliness, instead of such seriousness. Sometimes acting silly is all we really need to be happy. Because, even though life can get uncomfortable at times, there is always something to smile about. You can always smile and laugh at the little things that make you happy.
“So don’t walk through life like you have a finger up your butthole all the time, and just laugh and smile instead,” he interrupts.
“Exactly!” I laugh back at him, spitting out the swallow of water I just took all over the place.
See, when we row the boat through life merrily, we must remember to try and smile, even at all the uncomfortable things. There is no difference in the way that anxiety and excitement flare up in our mind. They fire on the same cylinder, so to speak. The difference is how we interpret and react to what’s happening around us. After all, it is Shakespeare who said that a tragedy is nothing more than a comedy misunderstood.
“Who’s Spearshaker, Dad?”
“Don’t worry about him just yet.”
AN OPTIMISTIC APPROACH
And we must always row with endless amounts of optimism, without trying to force ourselves in the wrong direction, or force our way into someone else’s flow.
Just because reality doesn’t always go the way we planned, doesn’t entitle us to force our own overbearing expectations of how things should be upon anyone.
And if I might add, never afford the future the cost of misconception, or else, against your heart, your mind has found it’s greatest weapon.
“Pay no mind to that one for now,” I say with a shit-eating grin.
Though, it is said, that 75% of success, whether in regards to your coming education, or my ongoing career, is predicated by your optimistic levels. By how much optimism you consistently operate with, or row with, if you would. And by how “healthily” confident we are about where we are headed and how we are rowing through life in the process.
By rowing happily—or, merrily for that matter—through life is proven, by both doctors and philosophers alike, to keep us healthy, both mentally and physically.
So not only is rowing through life optimistic, healthier for us, but it also tends to keep us from getting sick so easily. It is just as well, that if we do get sick, remaining optimistic helps us to recover much more quickly from any illness and we may even go on and live longer than expected. That’s a fact, Jack.
LIFE IS BUT A DREAM
And yes, in the end kid, life is but a dream. It’s absolutely a dream, and it’s a dream worth living to the fullest.
“So are we dreaming right now, Dad?”
“Boy, you are on one this morning. Aren’t you?”
I guess, in a way, yes. Life is but a passing dream. So it’s your duty to wake up to the truth. You must wake up to the truth that every morning you believe that you are a more powerful being than you sometimes feel. And that you are given the freedom to choose how you see life. You have the ability to manifest your dreams. To choose what you wish to do. To view the things the way you do. To say what you want to. How you live your life is up to you. This kiddo, is the God to honest truth.
But do not, I repeat, do not ever force anything upon the way others view life, or how they wish to row their own boat. All you can do, is offer them direction, if they feel they need it, or even better, if they come looking for it themselves, on their own. If they wish to climb aboard your boat because they want to join your journey, then let them.
All you can really do for anyone, including yourself, is offer consistent and unconditional love and support them wholeheartedly along their journey. If they do not need it, or do not wish for it, then let them go about their own way, merrily. Do not try to force them in the direction in which you want them to go. And just move along with your own creative flow.
This my child—I will be 100% honest—is one of the hardest thing to realize when rowing through life. So it’s imperative, you remember this, and start practicing it now, as your personality is being well put together and rounded out.
And you must understand that the reality of things is not something you convey to people, but something you create.
This is what gives birth to its meaning.
SEE FOR YOURSELF
So you’ll see, that every morning when you wake up. You have two choices. You can either say, “good morning God, it’s going to be the most amazing day ever, no matter what.” Or you can say, “good God, not another day full of misery, what on earth can possibly go wrong today.”
“You, my son, have the power and freedom to manifest the life you want, and how you wish to row through it. You’ll see for yourself, that it is entirely up to you and must be seen through your own point of view. Okay.”
“Sure Dad. Whatever you say. But hey, so is God camouflage because I can’t see him?”
“That’s enough questions for now kid. And plus, we have art class in a few.”
“Heard, Dad. But I have two more questions pretty please.”
“Shoot for the moon, kid!”
“Can we listen to my new favorite song first? And what happens if there is a flood?
“Sure thing kiddo. And I’d be the first to guess, that we are going to need a bigger boat.”