Early Sunday morning was my very first time out on a kayak. For three years I’d been feeling this nudge inside to get a kayak.
It was mid-winter last year when I mentioned this to my chiropractor and friend, Cindy. And that’s when she told me about inflatable kayaks. I never even knew there was such a thing!
As the weather warmed and the trees began to bud, I answered the call of that nudge and took a leap of faith and invested some money I was gifted to purchase an Advanced Elements Firefly Kayak (with a periwinkle dragonfly and periwinkle stripes), a life vest, a paddle, a pump and a lumbar seat.
There was a small part of me feeling a little resistance to it because I’ve never been taught to swim. In a pool, I feel okay and can “swim” as long as I’m along the edges.
But I didn’t want this fear to stop me because I really wanted to be out on the water in a kayak. Everything about it I’d seen seemed so peaceful and a way to experience nature in a new way.
So for my maiden voyage Sunday morning my friend, Cindy, met me at a beautiful, small lake about five minutes from where I live.
With her guidance and a gentle push from behind, Cindy had me floating in the water within minutes as she followed behind. And away we went!
There was a bit of wind as we started out. She coached me to sit back and straight against the lumbar seat (just like a chiropractor, huh? 🙂 ), and not to dig my paddles too hard or deep into the water and it is all about using your core in a left to right motion that the paddling works best.
It felt awkward at first – just like anything one has never done before. A part of me was wishing we had no wind and perfect conditions for my first time out, as I felt like I was struggling to move ahead in the wind.
But then I remembered what I had taught in the Walking Sticks and Mindful Walking Meditation workshop I’d done the day before with my friend, Rachel.
In mindful walking it is about bringing your mind into the present moment – and just walking without anywhere you need to “arrive.” And when in those moments of just being, taking mindful steps of being present to what is right in front of you, letting go of worries, concerns and struggle…and simply walking with no agenda, but just to walk and enjoy being one with nature.
It occurred to me to do the same while kayaking. I was fighting and struggling against the wind, which caused my body to lean forward and I was digging my paddles into the water harder as if that would help.
But when I let go of the struggle, sat back, and paddled with ease, the ride became so much more enjoyable. I didn’t need to prove anything or strive to make it around the lake in any given time.
While I still need practice with paddling and navigation, once I let go of trying to be perfect my first time out, I simply opened to the experience of what I was going to learn…and thus ended up enjoying the ride so much!
And it didn’t occur to me until several hours later that fear of the water and my not being able to swim never entered my mind while being out on the water. What a lesson in surrendering and trusting!
When I got home about an hour and a half later I was as high as a kite! At one point John said, “You are so happy!” And I was. It felt like such a huge accomplishment to me to do this…and the new found energy had me cleaning out and re-organizing my writing cottage an hour later which I had no previous intention to do!
But time out on that kayak was another lesson about life that to follow the flow is what it’s all about…and when you do how much more your life can flow with ease.
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