Lessons from the River Creatures

Sections of this topic

    One of my all time favorite parables is from Richard Bach. It is the story of the river creatures in his book, Illusions.

    Here’s a summary of the parable:

    Part I Clinging to the Rocks

    There are some river creatures who cling to the rocks in the river. They know nothing other than clinging to the rocks. One day one of the river creatures exclaims aloud, ‘I’m tired of clinging. If I keep clinging to these rocks the rest of my days, I’ll die of boredom’.

    The other river creatures say to this one, ‘If you let go, the river will carry you away. You’ll be smashed into the rocks and die for sure.’ To which the river creature responds, ‘There must be something more to this life than clinging. If I have to take my chances and be smashed into the rocks, so be it.’ And with that he let go of the rock where he had been clinging his entire life…..

    What do you cling to? What holds you back from going after your dreams? What are you most afraid will happen if you let go of the life that you know and try a new path?

    Part II Letting Go and Floating

    The river creature does let go and at first is smashed about and thrown against the rocks. But over time he learns to float. He loves floating effortlessly, letting the current take him where it will. One day he comes to another group of river creatures further down stream. They see him float by effortlessly and exclaim, ‘Look a river creature just like us. Yet he does not cling.’ and ‘He has no fear of the rocks or the current. How does he do it? ‘ The river creature replies as he floats peacefully, ‘The river delights to lift us free if only we dare let go.’

    When have you completely surrendered and found that a problem resolved itself without any further struggle? How does your faith support you to follow your dream? What can you let go so you move effortlessly through the challenges of your day?

    Part III – Lessons from the River Creatures

    1. There is no need to cling to what you have always done. There is no need to do what everyone else is doing. There is only a calling for you to step into the power and splendor of Who You Are. It is up to you to step into your radiance and glory.
    2. The opportunity always presents itself for you to take another approach, shift perspective, change gears.
    3. You are the only one holding you back. You are the only one who can set you free from your self-limiting beliefs, victim identity, not-enoughness thinking, they-won’t-let-me mindset.
    4. There are ample opportunities to grow, stretch, reach, claim. It is up to you to do it and
    5. You will always have the support of the Current to take you where you need to go.

    The river delights to lift us free if only we dare let go.

    Please share with us in the comment section below your story of how you have set yourself free.

    We’d like to hear your stories of working spiritually. Please write to us to share how you integrate your spirituality with your work so we can share your story in future blogs.


    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.


    Linda is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant. Go to her website www.lindajferguson.com to read more about her work, view video clips of her talks, and find out more about her book “Path for Greatness: Spirituality at Work” The paperback version is available on Amazon. NOW NEW!!! the pdf version of Path for Greatness is available for download from her website. AND…. Linda has recently completed her new book, “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand”!!! It is now available on her website as well.