Connecting Dots in the Amazon “The 18 Mile Rule™”

The 18 Mile Rule™

One of the great mysteries of the rain forest resides six miles east of Manaus, Brazil on the Amazon River.   This phenomenon of physics brings a global lesson to possibly every local organization, group and individual who look at it and think about the higher meaning of this transformational occurrence. “The 18 Mile Rule™” at the mixing of the waters represents  a message to help any community or individual looking to combine ideas and resources.

Eighteen miles along the Amazon River the dark waters of the Rio Negro tumbling from Colombia lay side by side with the latte colored water of the Solimoes River stemming from Peru before they mix into one turbulent entity flowing to the Atlantic.

The Amazon River has recently been deemed the longest and widest river in the world, ousting the Nile by a mere 150 meters according to our jungle guide. The Amazon has one of the largest drain basins in the world with over 7,000,000 square kilometers and accounts for 1/5 of the world’s total river flow.

Extreme Science published an article giving interesting statistics and showing some of the huge creatures that live below the surface of the Amazon giving it even more intrigue.   Smells, sounds and  visual stimulation come alive along the amazing Amazon.

As my husband and I travel the world “Connecting Dots” we are taking the global lessons and applying them to local situations as identified in the theme of the Spring 2011 Semester At Sea voyage.

The graphic illustration of the two entities of water created the perfect metaphor representing the three variables which are part of the physical equation to sustain this phenomenon

  1. Temperature
  2. Velocity
  3. Density

The Solimoes River travels at 6 km per hour with a temperature of 18 C and a high density.

The Rio Negro is traveling at 1 km per hour with a temperature of 23 C and a low density rich with natural acids and chemicals from the jungle. The acidic content of the water actually kills the mosquito larva coming in from the hibiscus leaves so there are very few mosquitoes on the Rio Negro. There are some unique physics involved in the mixing of the waters with the three important physical variable factors existing between the two bodies of water. The significant force which is created by both rivers takes 18 miles of traveling together before they actually combine as one.

The picture of this phenomenon stimulated thoughts about how this compared to people and organizations. Two different organizations might be moving at different speeds, some are warmer in the way they present their services and they might be rich with content. The other group might be slower and cooler with what they are providing and not so dense with additives. The two groups must travel the 18 miles together twisting and turning before they can blend and become one. Many times the people running the groups might not have the patience to go the 18 miles for success to become one entity and the blending never takes place which could be a severe loss for many causes.

The same concept could be applied to people. One person is warm, friendly, inviting engagement at a moderate speed in a light manner. Another individual might be cold, running at a fast pace and be more toxic with external additives. Unless the two people are willing to travel the 18 miles together, mixing the ideas, concepts, sharing and respecting, they too will never become one entity blending with a harmonious union. The waters can part, never to combine now or in the future with each entity continuing on an independent path not ever creating a blend of talent or resources which could help make the world a better place.

The rule of 18 miles™ has emerged as a new principle to be shared in “Cosmic Cow Pie…Connecting the Dots around the World,” derived from the meeting of the waters in the Amazon. The rule requires someone to travel 18 miles with a group or an individual before the “parting of the waters” or “kicking them to the curb.” Today it appears many are quick to pass judgment and make decisions without nurturing the merger or association between people and groups. It takes time and energy to accept and process the value one gives to another. Ridicule, condemnation and misunderstanding others stand in the way of a great mixture. Political agendas or simply personal agendas keep groups and people from combining to create a successful combination.

Thinking about the rule of 18 miles™ could possibly change the course of many a group or relationship by giving the relationship time to see if the temperature, velocity and density can blend to create a harmonious flow between the two. Each group or individual might be coming from a different “temperature” so taking time to warm up to giving each other the opportunity to reflect and then the respect of different thoughts and ideas has to be an integral part of the mixing. Some individuals or groups proceed at a different “velocity” moving faster than the speed of light and others take time to strategically asses the possibility of a merger. Taking the concept of “density” to an organic level brings to mind the content and toxicity of the combination. Utilizing the 18 miles to reach a common temperature, velocity and density ultimately ends up with a successful mixing of the waters and a flow that reaches to the Atlantic to become one with the ocean or larger purpose.

Taking the global lesson from the mixing of the waters at the Amazon River outside Manaus, Brazil and applying to our local situations might create some lasting relationships that are built on understanding and a concerted effort to mix and create one massive entity flowing together combining the uniqueness of each.

The question to ponder will be how do we apply and quantify the The 18 Mile Rule™. How much time or how many twists is 18 miles when trying to blend or mix with an individual or group? Are you willing to implement The 18 Mile Rule™ to help to work together to reduce social  injustice and create a sense of balance around the world and in local communities?

About Carra Riley

Fun loving classic writer who is a life long learner. Helping people connect the dots as a consultant for small business and real estate along with custom workshops and seminars.


  1. Very graphic analogy. Good rule.

  2. This is very interesting and nicely written. I can tell how much you are enjoying your lifelong learning! I can use this as a great analogy about collaboration in my trainings.

  3. I had shared this blog this morning on FB and added that the perception of patience of the waters to merge into one body was quite deep. No pun intended.. ok pun intended.

  4. Sandra ~ Glad it made sense!
    Karen~ So happy you think you can use it! Every day learning from the world and the amazing lessons it has to give.
    Tric ~ Great concept 🙂 You have taken it to the next level!

  5. Joy McCracken Chichester says

    I love the implications of this article, “18 Mile Rule”. I shared it as a message in Facebook to the president of Rocky Tops Square Dance Club, and to my son, and asked, “Have we gone our 18 miles together yet?” I hope they get my point – that after all these years together, why are we still bickering? I want to send it to the President of the Denver Area Square & Round Dance Council, but he’s new in Facebook, and we’re not ‘friends’ yet. I suggest that members of clubs could consider this advice in settling their issues with each other.

  6. Joy ~ I am so happy to read your comment… the issues are the same the world over and with every group… so we really do have to go the 18 miles if we want to work through things… so we can think about the chapter in the Cosmic Cow Pie…Connecting The Dots about communication. To connect the dots and get to be one river we have to communicate and respect one another. Maybe this lesson of the Amazon can help people understand that it takes time to work through things but if the goal is to be one river in the end.. we have to go the distance… thanks Joy we are all learning together!

  7. Margaret Tompkins says

    I like your 18 mile rule and how you apply it to people!  I know from working with groups of developers for many years that it takes them a while to really get started – they have to travel that 18 mile journey before they become really effective and productive!!    Margaret Tompkins

    • Margaret, I think the graphic on this and the concept of 18 miles helps people connect the fact it takes time for different personality types to blend Thank you for your comment.