This weekend I went down the river on a funyak. A single person inflatable kayaks. There was a group of over 50 of us with 4 guides. I knew it would be a challenging day from past experiences with white water rafting. Turns out it was way more challenging than I anticipated & I discovered many other things along the way.
The first bit of the water was little rocks and rapids to navigate. The blood got pumping right out of the gate. We made it to our first check point and I had only had time to look around at the beautiful trees along the river once. I was so focused on navigating. I was committed to staying in my boat.
Lesson #1 was considering the prices and benefits of taking the time to look around at the view vs staying focused on the river. What do you take time to take in when you are focused? What do you skip in order to maintain navigation toward your goal?
This rest stop is when we were informed that we were going to approach the most challenging rapid of the day. The main guide explained the route we were going to take and the way we were to approach a side wave. This meant despite the common sense we would think to stay going straight down the river... we had to cut into this particular portion sideways or we were going over.
The theme of the day was to KEEP PADDLING. No matter what. If you wanted to stay in your boat, that was what you did. Often times people would get stuck or turn around or hit the white water and stop paddling. It is almost a guaranteed dunk into the river. So, competitive and determined as I am, that was what I kept telling myself as we were about to face down this first rapid. Even if we tip sideways, if we kept paddling we could correct our boat. That is what my guide said so that is what I was sticking to.
Lesson #2 - We have guides on our path. Even when we are facing the unknown, they have done this before & have our best interests in mind. We can reach out for support and trust. I didn't know exactly what was coming but I knew that if I stuck with what they had taught me, I could do my best to stay in my boat.
Lesson #3 - When we know what we get to do that is our "Keep Paddling", we can stay in our boat through almost any obstacle, even if we are tipped sideways for some of it.
So trusting my guide, and knowing that the only thing I had to do was keep paddling, I approached the first rapid. And boy did I paddle. I was roaring with the white water determined to stay in my boat. When I think about where I want to go in life, what is the "Keep Paddling" that is going to move me forward? What consistent action am I going to take no matter what?
I got turned sideways but kept paddling and soon enough, I was out of the hole, watching about half of my comrades take a swim.
As the day continued on, I made it through each rapid in my boat. On one occasion I was paddling backwards because my boat got turned around. I knew I had to keep paddling in the direction I wanted to go and if I tried to correct myself, I would have tipped sideways into the water. So I backwards paddled as hard as a could. KEEP PADDLING.
Lesson #4 - Even when I get turned around, I can still move forward. Where in life can I remind myself that even if I feel like everything is backwards, I can keep going in the direction I want to go? The rapid I went down backwards was actually my favorite one. I felt proud that I didn't freak out and try to right myself but used my back paddle to push onward. I knew I had a better chance doing that than trying to fix it. I trusted that I would make it out & I did!
As the rest of the day went on, each of us got down the river whether we took a swim or stayed in the boat. All of us made it back to the landing.
Lesson #5 - When we venture into the unknown, we aren't always promised that we will navigate the rapids with ease. Sometimes we end up in the water, scrape our knees and gain a few bruised. But we still keep moving downstream. We still learned how to keep moving forward. Even though I stayed in my boat in the river, where in life do I quit when I feel like I fell out of the boat? How can I remind myself that I can still move forward even when I fall?
Lesson #6 - I was determined to stay in my boat when I had a 50% chance or higher of falling out down at least one rapid of the day. So when it comes to other goals in life, how can I apply that same determination and stay in the boat to keep paddling towards my vision?
Lesson #7 - I was EXHAUSTED by the end of the trip. It was one of the most challenging things I have done physically in a long time. And, I HAD A BLAST. I had fun doing something super hard. Who'da thunk? Where in life do I make hard things not fun? And how can I treat the challenges like white water instead of a giant wall I can't get past?
Last post I wrote about Find Out 2020. The rapids to me were about finding out. Finding out if I could stay in the boat. That relates to me around going after dreams. When I make goals I don't exactly know how to navigate, I can treat it like the rapids. Find a guide, use my consistent action to "Keep Paddling", know that if I fall I can still move forward, and use my pure determination to stay in my boat. I can do hard things, and have fun, and hit my goal. <3 What can you go after in your life like white water rapids? <3