Are you a Rock, or a Leaf?

Photo by Simon Berger

The River is an unstoppable torrent, carrying with it the Rock and the Leaf alike. Each follows their own way, inevitably arriving at the same Sea.

The Rock resists, splitting the stream wherever it can find solid footing, while the Leaf floats swiftly along, effortlessly carried by the mighty current.

But even the largest, most jagged Rock is smashed and worn down to smooth pebbles by the time it reaches the Sea, while the Leaf has no say in the meandering route it takes – from the moment it departs the branch, it is tossed and tumbled by churning forces beyond its comprehension.

No Way is the Right Way

Our culture relentlessly demands that everyone follows the Way of the Rock — to resist the current, and split the stream; we are told at every turn that we’re each the Masters of our own destiny, and that for our dreams to not instantly materialize must be some kind of failure of our own making, or weakness of character. No wonder so many of us feel worn down to pebbles!

Consequently, the dispirited among us turn to the Way of the Leaf for all the answers — they relinquish all notions of their own power, and allow themselves to be swept away by the River’s whim. These people often suffer greatly, struggling to find meaning and direction as they’re buffeted around, out of control.

I suggest a third approach.

The Way of the Otter

“Come again?” (Photo by Karl Anderson)

Otters are powerful swimmers that easily navigate the currents of the River in pursuit of their prey, but also playful jokesters who aren’t above rolling on their backs for a nap while lazily floating downstream, bellies shamelessly pointed to the sky.

The Otter also inevitably reaches the Sea — but it seems to have a much more enjoyable ride getting there, than either the Rock or the Leaf!