Reality is a strange river. Sometimes you are traversing upstream, and sometimes downstream. Sometimes you float easily, and sometimes you are exhausted with the effort of staying adrift. Sometimes the water is calm, and relaxing, and sometimes the torrent is turbulent and treacherous. Sometimes, the horizon has a rainbow, and bright sunshine, and sometimes it is dark and ominous. Sometimes, the river feels like a beatific experience, and sometimes a hellhole. Sometimes, you feel bright and radiant, and sometimes hideous, and pale. Sometimes, you are strong, and sometimes, weak. Sometimes, the water beckons, stirs and inspires, sometimes, it thwarts, blocks and leaves you reeling. Sometimes, the water glimmers, and sometimes its murky. Sometimes the river is comforting, and silent, and sometimes its eerie and ferocious.
The river feels confounding and surreal. You continue to swim, and float. And then, you see some of the others paddling their way in canoes. They smile, and wave at you. You wonder what's it like to own that machine. You have no notion or idea of where you are trying to get, but you are curious if being in the canoe might help your cause. So, you get yourself a canoe, and start paddling with rest of them. At the beginning, you feel great as if you have ventured out on a great adventure or a noble cause. You feel this sense of kinship, and a feeling of pride that comes with being accepted by a creed, and finding yourself a spot where you belong, and fit in. You feel the power, and exhilaration of commanding the canoe, and your body, and mind syncs in with the rhythm and movement of the canoe.
As you drift, you become aware of this persistent but subtle disconnect. You are not fully aware but your subconscious has begun to emit messages of unease, anxiety and discontent. Slowly, but surely, you feel restlessness making you a captive. You feel troubled, lost and stranded. Your blood feels like liquid pain, your mind a world of apathy and lethargy. You can't understand what’s going on, and why you have lose the drive. You keep going, regardless.
And then you hear loud noises. You jolt out of your silence, and tormented mind, and look around. The herd is organizing races, and you have been signed to participate as a functional member of the creed. Your first instinct, and your inner voice urge you to refuse, and stay away - but you are scared of being the only one to deny them what they expect out of you. So, you comply their wishes, and defy the sanctity, and truth of your soul, and mind. You see others discussing strategies, and forming teams. You see them getting excited and aggressive. You find yourself doubting and balking. You hear their loud cries of jubilation, and your core cringes. You work with them for hours, pretending to be one of them. You try to copy their style - you move your hands, and steer your body in a way that matches their form; you rest when they rest, and you work when they work. You try to be part of the camaraderie that ricochets in your ears, you try to be as competitive and fierce as they are, and you try to put your body, heart and mind into it.
By now, it's obvious to you, and you can no longer deny the truth of your inner voice. While, at the beginning, it was elegantly and subtly beseeching you to quit on this chaotic straying from a meaningful life, now it has begun to scream and holler. You can hear the shrill shriek piercing your skull, and you start to wince, and gasp and go all sad and moronic. The others gape at you with horror, and ask you to explain your ridiculous, inexplicably weird, unpleasant and counterproductive behavior. You look at them, pleading for empathy and understanding. They stare back at you with a ruthless eye judging you as a perennial fool and despicable idiot.
You realize you have no choice. You understand you have always had this choice. You let go of the paddle, and the canoe, you smile and in one swift movement - jump into the river. You find yourself struggling, and sinking - its been awhile since you have treaded the waters in your skin and blood. You despair, and claw, and then suddenly you hear a voice asking you to be calm, and keep your shit together; it says you will either rise or drown, and that it will all be okay. Your inner conflict and the struggles in your mind ease off, and you concentrate in the present. You become aware of your movement, and you instinctively beat your hands and legs to keep yourself afloat. You pant and gasp, cough and shake your head. And then you settle down into a movement and pace that suits you just fine. You look at what lies ahead of you - the mad race of the canoes, and you feel grateful to have broken away from that madness.
You look around, and there’s no one but you, and the steady rhythm, and the churning sound of the water. You gaze at the horizon and a beautiful sunset lights up the sky in shades of orange, pink, red and yellow. You smile but you have no idea why you are at so much peace. Soon, it gets dark, and you realize what’s going on. The stars blaze across the sky, leaving you dazzled and bringing to life the poet in you. You start working with words, and you feel the flow of a divine, transcendental movement. You feel like a thousand poets are whispering to you the most beautiful thoughts, and ideas, and you are being inspired to write about something profound and moving. You start writing, and living the life of a poet. The stars and the sky are your inspiration, and you drift away from the canoes and the sailors. As you craft and work on your art with a diligence and perfection close to an enlightened madness, one starry night, you see a flock of people in round wooden boats. They talk about the beauty of words, and the inspiring darkness and the fury of the storm, and of a lost soul, and of a respite found in the stars, and of a higher calling, and you know you have found your place in the strange river of life. You join the crew, and you have begun to live.