Row, row, row, your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.


My dear friend and Mastermind partner, Donna Cox, recently wrote a blog post entitled Row your own boat that reminded me of the hidden wisdom in this little nursery rhyme.

I entitled this website and my novel in progress Life By Fire in juxtaposition to my past feelings that I was living a life in which “I barely tread water, barely keep afloat. Perpetually behind, perpetually overwhelmed, stuck in a whirlpool going round, round, and around. Life by drowning.” As a result, I find the wisdom in this little song particularly fitting! I wanted to share my contemplations on this rhyme with you—as Donna said, “Now who would have thought that this children’s song could be so filled with wisdom about how to live life?”

How to Live based on Row, Row, Row, Your Boat:

1 Get into the boat.

As intimated above, I spent too many years feeling that I was treading water, cold and wet, working wearily but getting no where. We often make life harder on ourselves than it needs to be. Why? Many reasons but, for me, the issue stemmed from some deep-set scarcity issues—believing that I never had enough energy, time, money, freedom—to do what I really wanted to do.

Some people spend their whole lives swimming, without ever realizing that there could be a boat. Some people spend their lives looking for the boat, but never swimming downstream to find it. Some people spend their lives swimming beside the boat without ever giving themselves permission to climb into it. The key to happiness is to get out of the water and into the boat.

What does the boat represent? The boat represents your rightful place in this life. Your boat is your purpose.

2 Get your own boat.

Don’t squat on or borrow someone else’s purpose—find your own. We’ve heard of the classic empty nest syndrome—mothers who devote their entire being to raising their children and then feel devastated and empty when their children grow up and leave. Other people give responsibility for “doing” to their spouse, and support their spouse’s purpose, rather than finding their own. Some people feel unworthy of their calling and therefore never answer it. Others believe that what they want to do and need to do conflict. We all have our own unique purpose to fulfill in this life and we are all worthy of accepting it. Get into your boat.

3 Choose the boat you really want.

Current science indicates that the natural state of the universe is constant expansion. Nature shows us countless examples of abundance. As eternal beings with infinity as our playground, we are made for expansion and fuller expression. Abundance is our natural state; scarcity is an artificial construct. So, don’t settle for a second-rate boat! Don’t stay in the job you hate because you think it’s the only way to make money. Don’t settle in the house you don’t like because you don’t believe you can afford a better one. Don’t ignore those good ideas that you really want to pursue because you fear taking a risk. Don’t get into the leaky little fishing boat, to spend your life bailing water, when you really want to sail! Think bigger—make your goal the luxury yacht!

4 Anchors aweigh.

The only constant in life is change. We can’t stop time. We can’t keep things perpetually the same no matter how desperately we want to cling to the past or the present for comfort. We need to embrace the journey and move forward.

If you want to go somewhere, you need to raise the anchor. The anchor represents spiritual blocks and judgments, terror barriers and paradigms—deep-rooted conditioning that keeps you stuck in a state of fearful paralysis. We need to raise our awareness and make the conscious choice to release these blocks and overcome fears in order to move forward.

5 Row.

Life requires work—mental work, physical work, emotional work, spiritual work—work. We can ignore it, deny it, lament it, procrastinate about it, and complain about it, or we can accept it and do it. So, we may as well get on with it.

Most people do not come into this world knowing their purpose. You have to work to find it and then work to fulfill it. There is no magic bullet. Most people go through a significant amount of dreaming, hoping, wishing, desiring, planning, struggling, and working before they attain their goals. So, get rowing.

6 Go gently.

Be gentle with yourself and others. Forgive, forgive, forgive yourself and others for mistakes you have made in the past so that you can move forward with a clean slate. Row gently—don’t wear yourself out with daily toil—balance efficient, productive work with rest and rejuvenation.

7 Point your boat and your focus down stream.

“Resist not…” If the universe is always for expansion and fuller expression, then so are you—go with it. Dissatisfaction is healthy if it leads you to positive change. Embrace change and opportunity. Take risks. Follow your instinct. Go with your flow and look ahead!

Some people spend their lives focusing on the past—lamenting it, regretting it, reminiscing about it. Don’t sit backward facing the wake and then worry over the tumultuous water! Forget the past, only now really exists. So, take your seat in the Captain’s chair, look ahead, and steer your boat! As you travel downstream, it widens into a river—the vast open ocean of possibilities awaits you!

8 Feel joy—sing along the way.

“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…” Life is an experience, not a journey to a determined destination—enjoy the ride downstream and sing along the way. I recently watched a beautiful video based on the words of British philosopher Alan Watts who likened life to music. (I wrote a Life is a Musical post about it.) He said:

“Existence, the physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But, it is best understood by analogy with music. Because music, as an art form, is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano. Why? Music differs from, say, travel. When you travel, you’re trying to get somewhere. In music though, one doesn’t make the end of the composition. If so, the best conductors would be those who played the fastest. And there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to a concert just to hear one crashing chord because that’s the end! Same way with dancing. You don’t aim at a particular spot in the room, because that’s where you should arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance.”

So, sing and dance! Celebrate life. Live in the moment. Set milestones. Enjoy the process. Reward your progress. Practice gratitude. And have fun.

9 Understand that Life is but a dream.

From a scientific perspective, in my Manifesting Reality post, I discuss how “most scientists now believe that materialism is not a valid world view. Physicists now accept that particles do not exist as objects in the absence of observation. They exist only as waves, which transform into particles when observed.” The material world is not the static, permanent, “real” thing we thought it was—it is waves of potential, which sometimes transform temporarily into particles with lots and lots of space between them.

From a spiritual perspective, many traditions describe the universe as a mental construct within the Mind of God. From this perspective, we realise that we are eternal spiritual beings who have chosen to have a temporary physical experience. As A Course in Miracles states, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (Your body can be threatened; your soul cannot. Therefore, your soul is real; your body is part of the dream.)

Created in the likeness of God, we are eternal beings with infinity as our playground. This physical life is but a page in our book of life—a book without an ending. And, we have the power to manifest our physical reality with much greater precision than we formerly ever imagined. Life is but a dream—so live it on purpose and make it a beautiful one!

It is with great pleasure, humility, and gratitude, that I invite you to get into the boat and embark on this beautiful journey with me. I invite you to live a Life By Fire.

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this: In the ocean of life, the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming.

Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Mistress; She does but sleep; awaken her.

Self-control is Strength.
Right-thought is Mastery.
Calmness is Power.

Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!

From As a Man Thinketh by James Allen