Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Focus on the Water, Not the Rock!

My husband, Pat, and I just had a wonderful 6 day white water rafting trip down the middle fork of the Salmon River in Idaho with Idaho River Adventures. The scenery is beautiful and wild. The staff was top notch and the other guests were unique, wonderful and full of life. It will definitely be a trip I won’t forget. As the Idaho River Adventures motto proclaims in Latin, “In the River is Truth”. I wanted to share a few pieces of truth I found on the river.

Truth #1 - No judgment where we are in the flotilla.

Our trip had a sweep boat that is basically the baggage carrier for the trip. It goes ahead of the rafts and two of the boatmen have the basics of camp set up before the guests arrive. Tents up, groover up (the porta pottie), etc.

Then, the flotilla consisted of four rafts and one paddle boat. The boatmen switch off captaining the paddle boat and rowing the rafts. One raft is always designated the safety boat and this boat is generally supposed to be the last boat in the flotilla. This makes sense as you want the boat caring the first aid kit and safety gear to be behind if any of the other boats have any trouble. Every once in a while, a boat would get out of position and the safety boat would pass it and then need to slow down to let the others go by again. There was no judgment on the part of the person rowing the safety boat as to being last or to having to slow down, etc. It was in the highest good of all for the safety boat to bring up the rear.

That was a piece of truth for me to remember when I get frustrated that I am not moving fast enough, or that I am in the “wrong” line at the grocery store. Looking at these situations from the perspective that we are all on the same team and that the goal of “making it to camp safely as a whole complete group” is what we are striving for, then the frustration level goes down and instead, you simply enjoy where you are and look at the scenery until everyone else is in position…flowing down the river, again.

Truth #2 - Cooperation

The biggest rule of healthy fun time on the river is cooperation. It was wonderful to see cooperation between people that until the first morning were more worried about cell phone coverage (which there isn’t) than helping a complete stranger to carry her pack, to bandage his wound or to help alleviate a sun induced migraine. Everyone was made to feel valuable and worthy. We all shared games, wisdom, sunscreen, song and wine. Everyone contributed based on their talents and proclivities. I would love to see more of this microcosmic group interaction in our macrocosmic family of humanity. Perhaps those of us on the trip will be able to hold this feeling of cooperation close to our hearts long enough to show it to others around us once we are back in our everyday lives.

Truth #3 – Focus on the Water, Not the Rock

There was one point in the trip where we were in a good place for it to be safe for a guest to try her hand at rowing the raft. The guest, Heidi, was doing a good job and the boatman, Scotty, was giving her some pointers. There was a decent sized rock coming up that Heidi was going to need to navigate around. The wisdom from Scotty was that the reason so many people hit the rock is because, instead of focusing where the boatman wants the boat to go, they focus on the rock. Definitely Truth #3. Energy follows intention! How sage is that? Most of us focus on what we don’t want to create instead of focusing on the true goal. Let us learn this wisdom from the river…focus on the water, not the rock!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fourth of July - Courage of Our Convictions

A friend of mine recently relayed a story from her senior year of high school during the Vietnam War. Her English teacher was concerned that a group of students were apathetic to the political issues of the day. She asked the students, “what do you care enough about that you would go to jail for it? “

As the Fourth of July celebrations approach, we may want to remember “the reason for the season”. It was precisely that our forbearers believed in the possibilities of self determination (at the national level) and the rights of the individuals and states that they were willing to risk not just jail, but death for what they believed. I will grant that our forbearers may have embraced freedom but didn’t fully enact freedom, even with the Bill of Rights, since some humans weren’t considered fully human. But it was a step in the right direction and still is.

The question for July 4, 2013 is, as individuals, have we become complacent about what we are willing to stand for? I believe I have.

I was 5 years old when my father came back from the Vietnam conflict. Later, when I was in high school, I remember thinking that I was glad I was so young during the war, because I am not sure where I would have fallen on the ideological spectrum or the action spectrum. I am not sure I would have had the fortitude to demonstrate against the war had that been my beliefs. I am not sure I would have had the courage of my convictions. I wonder if I have the courage to stand up for what I believe, even now. Will standing up be an inconvenience?  Will it threaten my livelihood?  Will it threaten my freedom?

On second thought, maybe I do have the courage of my convictions. What I believe in and strive for are the freedoms that come to me not based on the country of birth, on my gender, race, marital status or other factors. The freedoms I aim for are based on the essence of who I am, not as a citizen of the United States, but as a Being holding Divine Truths as self evident: True Love, True Wisdom, True Power, True Gratitude, and True Grace, to name a few. These are the truths that I can hold and experience no matter where I live, no matter who I love and no matter with whom I communicate. To switch John Kennedy’s words, ask not what your country can do for you….instead ask what do you want to believe, feel and experience regardless of what your county can do for you.

I work for the day I feel True Freedom regardless of any protections which might or might not be afforded me based on my country. I strive for the day I feel True Security regardless of any collection of my data or cameras that know where and who I am. Little by little, I grow as a Being with an inner light that will be the beacon and the hope for others to know that they too can experience the peace and ease that comes from not feeling fear from anyone, anything or any government regardless of whether I avail myself of any of the principles in the Constitution. The day I can do this…is truly my Independence Day. How will you feel on your True Independence Day?