This is a song that my boyfriend sings to me all the time. I always thought it was wierd until I read this. Very inspirational…….
ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT
By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
A few years ago, a good friend suddenly died. At her
memorial service we wept, prayed, listened to music, heard about her from
friends and relatives, and sang. The song we sang was “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
The words to the song were printed on the program under the heading, “Our
As we sang, the words took on an entirely different
meaning for me. A meaning far greater than the round usually sung by small
children. Here was a group of adults, singing it in cooperative harmony to
memorialize a beloved woman. What was so special about “their song?”
Today, the words of this childhood round have
significantly greater meaning than they did then.
“Row, row, row.” Persist in the effort to move
forward in your life. Put your energy and effort into growing, learning and
moving ahead toward creating the quality of life you really desire. If you stop
in that effort, you get nowhere and stagnate. Certainly my friend was always
focused on learning and growing in her life. She indeed, was continually rowing
“Your boat.” It is, after all, your boat… your
being. Being who you really are not only allows you to move ahead, it is also
the vehicle which keeps you afloat and safe in a chaotic world. When we jump out
of our own boat, stop being our true selves, we often land in shark-infested
waters and are drowned or eaten… or both. Don’t try to change anyone else.
Trust being who you are. Enjoy being you. Value your uniqueness. After all, you
have been in your boat all your life. And there never was and never will be
another craft quite like it. My friend loved being who she was.
“Gently.” It is so important to be gentle in life. We
live in a violent culture. Being gentle with yourself, others and your
environment helps dampen the violence, and heal the wounded. We so often cling
to, and struggle with, forces beyond our control. We become frustrated, angry or
resentful, and destructively take out these emotions on ourselves, on those
around us, or on our home… the earth. I learned how to be gentle partly by
knowing my friend. She was always gentle, especially with her grandchildren.
“Down the stream.” Not up the stream. Not across the
stream. But down the stream. How often do we fight the flow of life? We’re
usually so busy swimming up stream, we exhaust ourselves. Take the time to allow
the current of life to move you gently down stream. Let go of the struggle once
in a while. Allow your life to move with Life’s currents as opposed to always
wanting to change the course of the river.
It was not easy for my friend to accept her
imperfections, her problems or her losses. But she moved more than most with the
flow of Life. Several years prior to her death, she confronted widowhood with an
acceptance and equanimity rarely seen. She learned to “flow” with it. And as she
did, she more easily adjusted to being single once again.
“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.” Oh, the joy of
being alive! We so often take life too seriously. Or we keep reminding ourselves
of all its negative aspects. And when we do we become bitter. We create a lot of
misery. Despite her human frailties, despite her share of pain and suffering, my
friend found joy in being alive. She went through life merrily. She chose to
focus on the positive aspects of her life rather than the negative. And in doing
so, she found laughter and merriment joy and delight.
“Life is but a dream.” Perhaps the Buddhists are
correct. What we usually call “life” is an illusion. Perhaps we are actually
expressions of consciousness…spiritual beings having a physical experience
rather than the other way around. Perhaps the perceived physicality and
permanence of life is indeed, nothing more than a dream. Perhaps we create our
own dream/life. Perhaps when we become “enlightened” or die, we cease
superimposing upon Life only what we think, and for the first time, experience
what life is really like. I know my friend believed that after her death she
would be really alive…perhaps for the first time. May it be so!
Command Your Clutter is a professional
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