The amazing journey of writing Dancing on the River—Navigating Life Changes is complete for now. I only say “for now” because there always is more to explore and navigate, although we don’t know what that might be from where we are now. That’s the way it is—our lives—a never-ending journey in which we learn more about who we really are and where we are going.
I always loved the title, Dancing on the River, which my good friend Alan Harris sourced, but it was only after writing the last chapter that I realized that I had to rewrite the introduction and put in words what it means to be dancing on the river of your life. That final process was transformational. If you have been reading Letters on Life for some time, you might already know the river story. But since our lives are constantly evolving, it has new meaning.
When you stand in the river for the second time, is it the same river in which you had stood earlier? ANCIENT PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION
Let me share with you some excerpts from the introduction:
A few years ago, I wrote an article about a river-rafting trip on the Green River in Colorado, where I had a near-death experience. As I was propelled through the rapids, behind the raft, I wasn’t sure if I would survive the swifter currents of the river. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized the significance of what happened on that trip. I was thirteen at the time.
As I relived this experience, during the writing of this book, I gleaned eight lessons and insights from the river experience, and the river of my life that have guided me on my life journey. They form the foundation for this book. I truly discovered what it means to be Dancing on the River. It’s an attitude about how you approach life. It’s a belief system that you cultivate. It’s a reflection of a life decision that you make to be happy and to enjoy life in this moment. Your enjoyment and appreciation of life is not dependent on what might happen in the future. I haven’t always felt this way. It’s taken me a while to get here. Some days I feel it more than others. Some days I forget.
Dancing on the River is the journey of how I have gotten to this place in my life. It’s been a process of discovering what beliefs and attitudes were holding me back from moving forward. It’s been a process of discovering spiritual practices and mental disciplines that have supported me in integrating more empowering beliefs and attitudes into my way of thinking. It’s been the awakening to a rich inner life that has fulfilled me on many levels. It’s been the willingness to face adversity and to be courageous when I needed to be. It’s about a leap of faith. It’s also a story about others and how they have changed their perception of life. Underlying all of this is the commitment to developing the life skills and belief systems necessary to face life’s challenges.
We are affected by events and circumstances that we have no control over. There are no explanations for many of the things that happen. We struggle with trying to make sense of it. More than ever, the world we live in is changing at an accelerating rate. Navigating these changes, both personally and globally, has become an art form and is the greatest challenge that we all face. It can feel overwhelming at times and can drain us emotionally. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
It is my sincere hope that after you read this book you will feel empowered to embrace life’s changes rather than avoiding or reacting to them. Like most rivers, our lives are constantly changing. It’s just that we are more aware of it now. So jump in—you’re going to get wet anyway. These challenges are there to nurture and accelerate your life’s unfolding. Avoiding the challenge just delays what you ultimately have to learn.
Most of us have experienced those moments when we are not sure what to do or which way to turn. While trying to figure it out, you can dance on the river, even though you are not sure where the river is taking you. You’re not alone on your quest. It is my hope that Dancing on the River becomes your guide and provides you with the tools and inspiration that will help you on your journey.
Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of, Dancing on the River…Navigating Life’s Changes.