A number of years ago, a friend told me that under natural conditions, a river can cleanse itself in 10 miles. What that means is that if some leaves, or an animal falls into the river, 10 miles later, all traces are gone.
Now, imagine what it would be like if someone built a paper mill on that river. It would take more than 10 miles for it be cleansed because paper mills aren’t natural. And then imagine what it would be like with a paper mill every mile or so. The river would probably probably become totally fouled and we’d need to add a lot of filters in order to move it towards its natural state.
Well, living life the way we do is a lot like having many paper mills on your river. It’s just that our form of pollution is the stresses we face in life. Everything from hurtling along a concrete corridor at 70 miles per hour with other drivers who may or may not be paying attention to what they’re doing. Having your boss question you about why you haven’t finished your project on time. Arguments with relatives, financial concerns or worries about your kids involvement with texting and Facebook. All of these modern life stressors are creators of pollution on our rivers of life and are not what I’d call natural.
Unfortunately, most people I know can’t really change the number of polluters on their river. They may be married to their biggest polluters, whether it’s their spouse, job, kids or lifestyle and that’s not going to change. So the solution to dealing with these polluters is a lot like our river. We need to add more filters.
Filters can be anything that works for you. Taking the phone off the hook, going for a walk or bike ride in nature, forgoing the nightly news, taking a hot bath or getting a massage. It can even be pounding pillows or screaming under a railroad bridge. Whatever you need to do to relieve the stress.
When looked at this way, you can see that when the number of polluters on your river grows, as your stress intensifies, you’ll be better able to handle it if you add more filters. And when your filters match your polluters, you’ll have a much cleaner river.