“Don’t Push the River…

…It Flows by Itself.”

Courtesy. Sue Vincent

Released by author and Gestalt therapist Barry Stevens, it was the self-help book of my generation.

The pages are well worn, dog-eared, book-marked and highlighted in my copy of the 1970 book.

I often recommended it to friends, who were quick to notice that the title just about says it all. The original is no longer in print, and that’s too bad. It is the kind of book that is more of an experience, than merely a good read.

Barry Stevens, 1902-1985, born Mildred Fox, documented her 1969 experience at the Vancouver Gestalt institute under the teachings of Fritz Perls.

This high school dropout, who claimed that in 1918, she “could not learn what she wanted to know in school”, went on to study Zen Buddhism, Native American practices, and the teachings of Krishnamurti, and presented a book that flows very much like life itself.

There have been many times in my own life that I’ve forgotten the lesson of letting the river flow.

This photo triggered some wonderful memories, and maybe a return to my bookshelf for a bit of a refresher course.

Thursday photo prompt – Flow #writephoto

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67 Responses to “Don’t Push the River…

  1. i don’t always like cleaning my books shelves it can take days…but then i find a book and get lost in in it again…i understand to need of releasing and letting the river flow…a song comes to my mind from Dylan…compose a beautiful day Van πŸ˜€

  2. joey says:

    That sounds fascinating. I think I’ll hunt down a copy.

  3. I love the sound of this book and its message. πŸ™‚

  4. It really sounds wonderful! I think the title is a great one and a lesson we often forget!

  5. Frank Hubeny says:

    Letting the river flow sounds like good advice.

  6. I have not heard of this book before but it sure sounds like a keeper. 🌼🌼🌼

  7. Bernadette says:

    Interesting recommendation, I am off to the library to see if they have a copy.

  8. I remember the quote, but never read the book, Van. You’re right that the title says it all. Happy revisiting. The book sounds wonderful.

  9. Val Boyko says:

    There must be so much of wisdom embedded here … I’m going to check it out too! That photo made me smile.
    It’s like a green otter or badger smiling up at us through the river rock. πŸ’›

  10. George says:

    I don’t remember this one. I’ll have to check it out..:)

  11. J.D. Riso says:

    It’s always interesting to revisit the books that had such a profound impact on our lives when we were younger.

  12. Need to check it out. Thanks Van

  13. markbialczak says:

    It’s never crossed my reading list. Thanks for the nudge, Van!

  14. We don’t need a PhD to learn the most important lessons.

  15. Sue Vincent says:

    There are some books that are perfect in ‘that’ moment… some stand the test of time too. Thaks for sharing, Van.

  16. I managed to miss this one somehow, Van – tho’ I read (and still own) a great many others. I’ll bet the book would create a whole new audience for itself in a Kindle edition.

    Before he married, a madcap friend of mine used to have a goddess statue on the back of his john named “Flo” – nametag and all. I think more men than women had time to get the humor, however. πŸ™‚
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

  17. Pingback: β€œDon’t Push the River… by Van #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  18. “Don’t push the river,” or it’s corollary “You can’t push the river” has become one of those things people say that is so obvious, you can’t even argue with it. Most little comments like this are stupid, but this isn’t stupid. You can’t push everything. You can try, but you will lose.

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  20. More than words…a wise philosophy to LIVE!

  21. Some books Van we can read again and again.. And such books as this I would think is one of them.. May we all learn to live within the Flow.. and appreciate our particular rivers we are travelling upon..
    I hope as we push off the shore and allow ourselves to dip in our oars.. We see also the ripples that we send out .. may they be ones filled with love,..
    A great reminder the world needs to hear right now my friend xxx ❀

  22. dgkaye says:

    Some of those old books are refreshing to read again Van. πŸ™‚

  23. Definitely sounds like a book worth reading.

  24. What a beautiful quote (it sounds familiar but I’ve never read this book) and so true. Love the idea and concept here. ❀ Thanks for sharing. Off to look it up.

  25. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up – Flow – #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  26. amommasview says:

    Oh I love this! And I really need to read this book. Thanks for making me aware of it πŸ™‚

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  28. I enjoyed your thoughts here, Van. Rivers, streams, and life — all can flow with such force… It doesn’t seem like we’d even think of resisting. But still, it’s hard to simply go with the flow. Maybe we make it harder than it really is… Just “ponderating.” πŸ˜‰

  29. That book sounds like a gem of wisdom to have and to hold.

  30. bobcabkings says:

    Thanks for the reminder of Fritz Perls. I’m not familiar with Barry Stevens’ work, but Perls’ “In And Out Of The Garbage Pail” is one I remember from long ago. “It Flows By Itself” also reminds me of another title, “The Grass Grows By Itself” by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, his book on Zen (He was a professor of comparative religions before being seduced into becoming a cult guru.) It is quite good.

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