“When you put your hand in a flowing stream,
you touch the last that has gone before and
the first of what is still to come.”
White Water Rafting
One of my favorite activities is white-water rafting. I don’t get to go very often any more, but my favorite place is The Gauley River when the dam is open in early October. If you haven’t been, you must put this on your “bucket list”…but I digress.
Cold, bracing air, water as far as the eye can see, trees, eagles, and the rapids! Tons of rapids. You and your paddle. Man, what a rush!! You, and your little paddle, and your helmet and life jacket, in a little rubber raft of strangers.
Rules of engagement
They give a 15 minute drill before you and your boat-mates embark on your journey downriver. And, this is a lesson in follow-ship. Yes, follow-ship, not leadership. People die on the river; not often, but it happens. The discussion is about paddle strokes, paddling together, losing your paddle, leaning to shift the weight inside the raft so that it doesn’t capsize or run into very large immovable object, saving a “man” overboard, being the “man” overboard, and finally, what to do if you are floating away downriver separated from the boat.
When you are surrounded by the roar of the rapids, looking at the next BFR (big freaking rock) that you are heading toward, water splashing everywhere, including inside your ears, it is very easy to get caught up in the moment.
You become so focused on doing your part of the job, moving in rhythm with your mates, and getting the boat down river safely with all of your teammates (and sometimes your children) still inside the boat, that you sometimes forget the rules.
The Paddle Doesn’t Care
When the paddle gets knocked from your hand, your first response is to quickly get it back. Get it back and get back in sync with everyone else. Become one with your team again, because that’s what good and loyal team members do.
But in that critical moment, as you are reaching well over the side of the boat, starting to feel your feet slip as the whole boat shifts with the unbalanced weight, and the paddle teases you just out of reach of your fingertips…you remember. You remember the rules, and you remember to think.
Is it worth everything?
Is your life worth the paddle that is drifting away of its own accord, unencumbered by your worries?
Is what you have invested in a particular situation worth your sanity, well-being, or even your life?
Sometimes in life, just like on the river, all we can hope to do is figure out how to keep “hanging in and letting go.” Often situations or people are just outside of our reach for “correction,” “fixing,” or making everything alright. It’s a bumpy ride. Its hard work, and sometimes it is a heart-breaker.
So, what can you do?
- Stop, and…
- Remember to think outside of the emotional storm.
- Let go of what you can and the things that you cannot fix
- Hang in, and help where and in ways that you can.
- In time we will be okay – and safe.
What is it that you need to let go of today to move forward?
You have to make a plan:
What specific step(s) are you going to take to start the process?
photo credit: http://is.gd/b7lx09