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Graceful Rowing

By Beca Lewis

A few days after Del and I had completed our cross-country move and I had arrived in my new office I went for a walk down to the Connecticut River.  As I approached the river, I heard the sound of someone calling out what I recognized as a cadence for crewing.

When I reached the river, I expected to see the beautiful sight of a boat skimming across the river as all onboard pulled evenly and gracefully together.  That’s not what I saw.  Instead, I saw oars bumping and moving in and out of the water at odd times. The boat barely moved.

As I watched the crew learn how to work together I knew that what I was looking at was a symbol that I would write about, but where was the rest of it? What did it mean to me? Two weeks went by and I still didn’t have a clue until one morning while out jogging, it all clicked into place and I started laughing.

The symbol of the boat and the crew was exactly what was going on in my life and I had missed it. Of course, that is usually what happens isn’t it?

Because, at the time, we wanted to add my skill as a financial planner into The Shift services we offered, I was back in an office to hone on these skills. This meant I was working within set time periods and how things are done as a group.  Used to working only in tandem with Del I certainly wasn’t used to working as part of a crew.

I kept struggling with what I had to learn as part of the “new kid in the boat” and wondering why it seemed so hard, until Del pointed out to me that I was resisting it because I didn’t write it, or it wasn’t the way I would do it.  He showed me how well someone else had thought through the process, and once I was willing to see that, everything clicked into place and became much easier.

Haven’t we all experienced the feeling of being at odds with a group? How often do we want life, people, places, events, and things as we think or even demand them to be?  We row our lives as if we are alone in a boat and as if we were calling the cadence to ourselves. The truth is, we are all always in the same boat and we either pull together as one or try or delude ourselves that we are making it on our own.

Back in the 70's in Venice, California, I was proclaiming how “independent” I was to my dad because I grew my own food, made my own clothes, and sometimes built my own furniture. As I handed him a bowl of cereal he pointed out to me how many people had been involved with providing me with the bowl, the cereal, the spoon, and the milk.

There isn’t any aspect of our lives that hasn’t been provided for by someone else.  There isn’t any moment that we are not involved with others rowing together in the same boat. We row with them in the store, on the highway, at the movies, and sitting “alone” in our homes.

Is it possible to row together gracefully in life?  If we base our thoughts and actions in the human realm it would at best be difficult. The air is full of separate opinions of what is right or not right. The human point of view can sometimes be intelligent and kind and others times vapid and hateful. If we start from a human point of view, seeing ourselves as human, we will never be able to continuously row gracefully together.

The only solution is to rise above what appears as human and into the realm of Spirit where all is One without human opinion or creed. Don’t we waste an extraordinary amount of time trying to decide how we want it to be or what we think it should be or how we thought it would be?

Instead, let’s focus on how it is. Let’s take a spiritual point of view of others and ourselves. Instead of just speaking or reading about One Love or One Mind, let’s begin and end our thinking on this Truth of One. This beginning correctly will open our ears and our hearts to hear the cadence call of the One and letting go of human ego we will find we are already gracefully rowing together as one crew skimming beautifully through the eternal expanse of Spirit.

"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself." —Richard Francis Burton.

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