Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

The River and The Salmon

While life has been moving in the right direction for a long series of months I always kept in mind that things would turn again. It always does and will continue to do so for a time to come. One motivational speaker said that you can expect four serious crises each year and -while I don’t completely agree with the number- my own life experience seems to prove the statement true.

The last couple of weeks have been rocky with no clear end in sight. First, my dad had a cardiac arrest at the age of 61 and what followed where three and a half weeks of travelling up and down to the hospital, motivating and encouraging him, my stepmother and myself, dealing with emotional and physical stress while at the same time contuining with the daily affairs of life. He is okay now and the process of rebuilding his life and confidence has begun. I am glad it all turned out that way. However, the whole time period brought me to the brink of another burnout, the fourth one, and it takes a lot of energy and effort to avert that from happening. Thirdly there is the issue with the book we are writing. There is a strong possibility that the current project will be halted. The best case scenario hints at a delay (meaning a serious re-write of the chapters somewhere next year), the worst case would be a complete cancellation. Due to the inability of the publisher to make amenable agreements with one of the authors we might loose him and his long-time experience in Ubuntu as well.

When things start to move in the negative direction I become more introspective, tapping the source of inner strength and conviction. I start thinking about my life plan which was carefully designed and is in the middle of execution. What are my goals? Why did I choose those goals? Does the current crisis change any of those? Since the life plan and it’s goals are firmly rooted in scriptural principles this kind of introspection also brings me closer to the spiritual man. This time it brought me to the scripture “keep on searching and you will find, keep on knocking and it will be opened to you, keep on asking and you will receive”. Keep on…. Life and the pursuit of it’s goals is a process. Getting the results is not a one time effort or a one shot affair. Keep on…

The image that came to mind was that of water. Left to it’s own water follows the laws of nature and will take the path of least resistance. Water always runs down a mountain, never the way up. And don’t we say that life is an uphill battle. But when the water runs down, how do we ever get up. The answer was and is simple. Be like a salmon. The salmon is driven by a strong inner instinct to move to the spawning grounds, where new life will be brought into existence. Rapids, rocks, bears and waterfalls.. the salmon doesn’t care about any of them. On the contrary, it results into one of the strongest images in nature. The salmon jumping out of the water, ignoring the claws of the bears in order to reach the next level of it’s journey. The salmon doesn’t follow the current. It fights it, goes against it. Not all salmons reach their destination, only the strongest, the most determined and the ones who were not caught by the bears and fishermen. And yet, what a journey they make.

From there it was a small step to another motivational speaker who discussed the value of goals in life. The goals themselves are unimportant. They are merely the tools for the life you lead in order to pursue them. Pursuing the goals change the person you are into what you want to become. And when the goals are achieved, like the salmon when it reaches the spawning grounds, it brings new life into existence. Now it time to stop introspecting and continue swimming. Blasted rocks.;-)


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