Headwaters and Confluences
On a beautiful spring evening driving along the Columbia River with my wife, the air was warm, there was no breeze and little traffic as I gazed at the river. I wondered ” Where does this river start? I’ve hardly seen any of it.”
It starts far from where it empties into the Pacific Ocean at Columbia Lake in Canada. It looks so different at the headwaters. At its beginning, the casual observer would have no idea that 1243 miles later it’s the largest river in the Pacific Northwest to mix with the Pacific ocean. It’s tributaries making it the river I see. They all go into the creation of this living body of water that ships, people and animals use.
If there were no tributaries, what would it look like? How far would it travel? How would that change the greater world for ships and people?
Like the Columbia River, we have our headwaters, tributaries and effect upon the world. Who we are and what we choose to become are more complex than a river. How we see the purposes of the many tributaries, the relationships in our lives, affects us. We can damn off or limit the affects of a relationship. We can also take these confluences and advance our lives.
Whether it’s our relationship to work, children, family, significant others or friends, how we see the purposes for each, affects their role in our lives. Once, I saw myself in more of a compartmentalized way- I go to work to be best l lawyer I can be. When I’m at home, I want to be the best husband and father I can be.
Several years ago I started to expand how I saw those relationships. No doubt many of you are way ahead of me: I started to see them as being mutually expansive. I want to be more than a husband where both of us are happy. I want work to be about more than being a good attorney.
When I think about my wife I want it to include- how can I help my significant other live her best inner personal life- dealing with her demons and dreams like I do? I know she wants to be this for me, but if I’m not allowing her to fully be that in my life, she has been dammed off or limited by me.
I have to make the decision first to be expanding how I live and then to work at not blocking off aspects of how she enters my life. It’s not always easy, right? It can be messy and mucky- that’s part of the nature of a confluence.
It’s true for work as well. If I see being a lawyer where I’m only primarily serving my clients, I’m limiting what it can be giving to my inner personal life.
Work is one of the many tributaries that flow into my life- where the confluence of the two makes me who I am miles from where I’m seen by others. Work is a tributary into my life, expanding the importance of exploring and bring out who I’m waiting to become.
I love that we are tributaries helping one another. The deeper we see the purposes of each relationship and the potential they hold, the more dynamic and powerful a force we all can be. Remembering the power that our headwaters and tributaries hold, is how we live our best lives.
Who are the main tributaries to your life? How do you see them helping you create a greater life? In what ways are you doing the same for them. Is there something you are doing that is limiting the confluence? It easy to do. It’s works to keep it all flowing.There is no greater personal endeavor we can undertake.