Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Downstream Guy

This is a troublesome poem. My old hippie sense says you go with the flow. That seems so self evident to me. Back in the day we wrote songs about that. It was a goal. Don’t strive, don’t push the river. Then I got sober and there has been a challenge from that direction. It is all packaged in the thing so many of us in AA will say, “My best thinking got me to AA.” That is not a really great thing. It means my best thinking is out to kill me, and in an effort to save my life I was driven into AA. So what seems easy to me is probably not very trustworthy. Going with the flow will mean getting drunk. Not good.

I want to just drift downstream, just like the Beatles sang of it.

Even so, I have lived the upstream life for nearly 27 years now. I have gone against the current. I have chosen to believe that the current eventually leads back to some kind of addiction. I cannot afford that.

A Downstream Guy

You tell me to swim
upstream against the current.
I am not so sure.
You say swimming down
the stream I'll stay unaware
of the way currents
control my pathway.
I hope I'm more sensitive
than that. I hope all
I need is to tack
side to side a little bit
to tell the currents.

I'm a downstream guy.

March 18, 2009 11:04 AM


  1. I have never been one to trust going with the some areas...but oh the longing

  2. "Going with the flow" is a popular translation of certain eastern disciplines. If a person has done the spiritual work, then the instinct involved with "the flow" is trustworthy and the outcome is impeccable.

    This is actually the heart of Taoism.

    However, doing the spiritual work required for finding the flow involves intimacy and honesty usually beyond the capacity of the ordinary mind and heart. Hence the need for a guide, for a community, and for a practice.

    In Buddhism this is called Buddha, Sangha, and Dharma.

  3. Without that commitment, "going with the flow" leads to unfortunate consequences.

  4. Isn't it about balance and really, about the river itself? Knowing when to float and when to fight and when to blow bubbles? It's nothing easy, that kinda knowing, but that's where all of that try and fail and learn comes into play, right?


  5. If the stakes weren't so high it would be more light hearted. At least how it's turned out in my life, I gamble everything on these choices.

    Oh yes. If I make the choosing too grim, I lose my way. Staying light hearted is in the center of my life saving strategy.

    Now what?

  6. I agree that it is all about balance. And I also agree with knowing when to get off....having said that from this floating flowing place that I like far too much........well, I am aware. That has to count.


  7. beautiful!
    think sometimes when we go with the flow we can direct it to the place we want...


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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