June 05, 2012

The Same River Twice...

"You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on you. 
No man ever steps into the same river twice,  for it's not the same river and he is not the same man."

Heraclitus, Greek philosopher




The subject of time is currently the essence of my existence. This very relative subject occupies my thinking, or rather the different aspects of this elusive term. More closely, the effect that time has on us.

I am endlessly intrigued by the way our perception can modify time intervals, making them undefinable by scientific terms. Instead their length and the speed with which they proceed is determined by our experiences.
As life takes us on the journey from our past to our future, we rarely have the ability to be objective when assessing who we were and who we have become. Tracing back the decades in my own personal history I was under the impression that except for my physical appearance - I have not changed at all, or very little.
My values are still the same, so are my traits. I feel I am the same woman within that aged body and I still want and like the same things I did when I was twenty five. Yet I have recently realized that I am not the same person I was just a year ago - thus how can I possibly be the same woman I was thirty years back...?

Being currently once again - albeit temporarily - alone made this epiphany so painfully obvious. Only slightly more than a year ago I lived on my own. That was all I knew. Even though I longed for having someone to love, I was satisfied with my life and found solitude freeing and revitalizing. Yet today that allure is long gone. I can still manage it, but I do not enjoy it for very long. Reverting to activities that once made me happy and content, I was so surprised to realize that today they have the opposite effect.
What a truly shocking revelation. I could never ever imagine myself living alone again, a notion that is endlessly unsettling to experience.

Indeed, we never step into the same river twice, as the wise Heraclitus once proclaimed. Our experiences and our decisions change the direction of our lives and in its turn this irreversibly changes us. What once made us happy and what once defined our reality might no longer give us satisfaction and on rare occasions can even bring us grief and sadness.

We can never go back to what once was.
When we fully comprehend this statement, it will suddenly reinforce the meaning of our present and the immense value of who we are today, as well as the very profound significance of seizing the day. We might have dreams and wishes which direct the roads we choose to travel on in life. They fuel our hopes for the future. We also have our memories of the journeys completed.
Yet nothing holds more allure and importance, nothing is more tangible and real than our present and who we are today.

25 comments:

Elizabeth said...

oh so, so true!!!!

Kath said...

I have found this to be very true. You will rediscover your strengths, of this I have no doubt.

Brian Miller said...

isnt it interesting how we paint the past in a much brighter hue than it may really have ever been as well. and there are plenty that spend so much energy trying to get back to the way it used to be but even if they did it would be different because we are different people now as well...always flowing forward...smiles.

Laura said...

personal truth like a river is continuously flowing...I just watched a film on netflix I think you would enjoy, Rivers and Tides(Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time). It is a visual, philosophical, spiritual journey, that in a way depicts exactly what you are describing, with humility and equanimity.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Although there are TIMES in my life I would like to re-live (and DO in my mind) I would NOT like to go BACK and re-live it AT ALL. Like Brian said...sometimes we paint things a little brighter than they REALLY were. Zuzana...such insight....LOVE this post.

MarieHarmony said...

Very true and so well expressed Zuzana. I hope you are keeping well dear. xo

Julie Hibbard said...

What a gifted philosopher you are! So good!! So true!! So amazing! You make me think so deeply--and in ways that wake up my heart!
Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world!

A Plain Observer said...

Dear Zuzana, when will that book be available??? ;) It is your writing and photography that made me stop and appreciate nature. What a gift.

Absolutely, we can never go back. History may repeat itself but always at higher levels. If, hopefully, there has been growth in our lives, we can never go to the past. We might be able to bring aspects of it to our present and enhance it in that present. When that is the case, we have a good combination.

Maggi said...

Wise words indeed. Thank you for expressing them so well.

Myrna R. said...

Lovely reflections Zuzana. Change is the one thing we can really rely on in life. And yes, time does seem to slow down, when we are filled with anticipation. It's not easy to always appreciate the present moment when we are focused on an expectation for our future. It's nice how you recognize the subtle and larger changes within you and the things that have remained the same.

Rajesh said...

More than external beauty, what matters most is what we are from inside.

Lilybets said...

To live the present is the only opportunity we have,the past and the future look to fly away if you concentrate yourself on them,beautiful Country Zuzana,beautiful!

SandyCarlson said...

We change ever so subtly, don't we? And then we are a new person. And that's on a daily basis, I think. Thanks for this thoughtful post. I am grateful for your beautiful blog.

Rustique Gal said...

Zuzana, Wiser words were never said. I find that who I am today is so much more...everything, than ever before. I feel more interesting, more involved, more enjoyment from life than ever. I just retired, and I think I actually feel younger and better than ever. Seize the day-my new motto. Enjoy your days, dear!
Hugs,
Sherry

ladyfi said...

What inspiring words - and so true.

For most of us, the past is remembered fondly. And that's a good thing too - to have mostly good memories remaining of our past experience.

Cro Magnon said...

The great philosopher Mohammed Ali once said 'A man who thinks the same at 50, as he did at 20, has wasted 30 years of his life. I tend to agree with him. Most importantly, we should all try to see the best in everything... very rejuvenating.

Donna said...

Very thought provoking, and very true.

Hugs,
Donna

Mimi said...

Oh so very true, dear Zuzana.
Each day changes us, even in a small way, brought about mainly by the people we meet, but also by events. I suppose it's so subtle we don't even notice it, until we try to step again into the same river and discover it's different.

I couldn't imagine living alone, the short while that I did, I did not like it. I always assumed that people were designed to either like or dislike solitude. And here, on your blog, today, I've discovered that's not the case!
More change!

GlamBabble said...

How philosophical!

Zuzu said...

How interesting and so true. My husband and I were having a very similar conversation last night!
Hugs & happiness to you today, Zuzana!

Marianne said...

Very true Zuzana! I sometimes think of life as a series of rooms that I inhabit. You can leave a room and move forward into another but you cannot ever retrace your steps. Enjoy where your life is today is the best way x

sprinkles said...

So true! I love your way with words. You can say things so much more elegantly than I.

Rowan said...

How very true this is - I really like the quote from Heraclitus although I've never come across it before.

A Lady's Life said...

So true Zuzana - I am a changed woman that's for sure.
I was innocent and life has aged my soul. Also circumstances as more people began to depend on me. More responsibility makes you more serious
You become your parents which you said you would never become lol

Amanda said...

this is so beautiful, zuzana - i have been thinking about the concept of time lately. all my life i've felt i've had a different relationship with time and often feel as though something that happened a year ago happened only yesterday.

the quote from heraclitus is so wise - and true. if the notion encourages us to live in the moment, the only time there is, then we are fortunate.

blessings for the week ahead,

amanda
xoxo