Life Lessons From a Raft: What I learned floating the Boise River
Last week I had the opportunity to float the Boise River with two dear friends – Cathy Kearns of Reiki Renewal and Pip Oxlade of Lady of the Rainbow Heart visiting from New Zealand – and my daughter. We are healers: all four of us being Reiki practitioners and three of us also being certified ThetaHealing® Meditation Technique Practitioners. If you haven’t heard of ThetaHealing® you might be curious. For more information on the ThetaHealing® Meditation Technique please visit ThetaHealing.com or the link on the top of my home page.
The Journey Down the River
We started by renting a 4 person raft at Barber Park in SE Boise near my house. Some young men brought the raft out from a storage garage on to the lawn near the sales booth. The four of us – Cathy, my daughter, Pip and me – carried the raft from the lawn to the edge of the river where we launched the raft from a set of concrete stairs set into the sandy bank of the river. The Boise River is magical because it is clear and you can see the river rocks clear to the bottom in most places. It’s cool water formed partially from the snow melt in the mountains. Our instructions from the woman who rented us the raft were to stay in the middle of the river, go down the diversion dams facing forward and to get out at the designated spot near Anne Morrison Park in downtown Boise.
As we floated the river, Pip marveled at the clarity of the water. In New Zealand, the run-off from cattle and pesticides prevents people from being able to safely recreate in the water. I realized I have been taking a lot for granted in Boise with the pristine river. We floated in the current mostly, but had to be strategic about where to go over the 3 diversion dams. It, honestly, was a little frightening but we handled it well and made it over all three without issue.
The new learning is really the point of this post. I’ve kayaked and paddle boarded before many times, and even in some precarious situations. There was a time kayaking in Lake Michigan that they pulled everyone off the lake because the wind created dangerous waves right after we pulled our kayaks up onto the beach. I’ve paddle boarded in heavy winds that made me spin in circles until I had to sit down to lower the wind drag to be able to steer. This is all to say that while I am a long way from being a paddling expert, I basically know what I’m doing.
Cut to the experience floating a raft down the Boise River with Mya, Pip and Cathy. There is a *big* difference between steering a raft and steering a paddle board or kayak. For starters, there is no fin on the bottom of a raft to be able to help with steering. The other thing that separates a raft from the kayak or paddle board is that it doesn’t sit in the water as much as on the water. Both of these make paddling very different. I learned a lot even though it wasn’t my first time down the river.
The last 9 months have been difficult, that’s the reason you haven’t heard much from me. But things are on the right course and all is well. Still… I’ve been very open to learning things from all of my experiences. This experience with a raft did not disappoint! I learned so much about rafting and paddling, but the really cool thing is that everything I learned can be applied not only to rafting, but applied to life. It crystalized in my mind in such a way that I really wanted to share it with you.
Life Lessons from a Raft
- Go with the flow. When we first started, we were working pretty hard. We corrected angles trying to avoid the trees along the sides and the rocks over the diversion dams. Often we didn’t correct angles as much as overcorrect angles by our paddling. We even spun circles a few times! We quickly learned that most often the current would take us where we needed to be without any intervention (ahem… paddling) from us. This is also true in life. No job change on the horizon after sending out lots of resumes? Maybe it’s time to double down on the job you have. Struggling with a decision to sell your house or not? Maybe just give yourself room to not decide for a while. Sometimes when we go in the directions we are being moved without fighting, it makes everything easier. The more we lean into trusting the Universe, the more we begin to believe the universal current really is taking care of us. This takes trust.
- The evidence of your right actions does not immediately appear, this doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Occasionally, we really did have to paddle to change our angle to avoid sharp rocks in the center of a diversion dam or large branches on the edge. We learned that there in the faster current there is a 30 second-1 minute delay in the rafts response to the paddling. We needed to paddle and then watch, paddle and watch. We worked really hard when we tried paddling non-stop and we made a lot more work for ourselves by overcorrecting. Life is like this as well. We can’t see evidence of our actions right away in most cases. This doesn’t mean nothing is happening. You won’t see weight loss after one day of health eating, you won’t be able to retire after you save $100 one time, and you won’t grow your hair long the day you decide it needs to be different. These things take time. We need to take the right actions and then give the results time to appear.
- Going in circles can be fun. We’d been given instructions to face forward. We tried. But there were a few occasions that with the current and our (over corrective) paddling we spun. The first time was a little scary. But after we realized how quickly we could spin back around AND that the same techniques that can stop/turn a paddle board work on a raft, we leaned into the circles. It became really fun!! At least for me. 🙂 You’d have to ask Cathy, Pip and Mya how they felt. But I thought it was pretty fun! It was exciting, changed perspective and allowed us to see who was behind, beside and in front of us. Ok,so if you have been going in circles in your life, trying to do something, go somewhere, save money, whatever… and it seems like you are going in circles. I’ve been there. We all have. Instead of being angry you are circling, see if you can change a perspective. Is there anything new this time around? What have you learned in the experience? Are you having any fun? If you aren’t having fun, it might be time to readjust things. Just saying…
- Change can be hard. When we approached the raft take out at Anne Morrison Park, we all talked about how fun the trip down the river had been. We experienced lots of natural beauty, the fresh water, tons of ducks swimming along beside us, the sun shining and the light breeze blowing. We were a little stiff from sitting for 2 hours and even though we were ready to stand up, getting out of the raft was a transition. None of us were really ready to leave the water. In fact, once we pulled the raft out of the river, we all waded back in to stand in the cool water for a few more moments feeling the water against our ankles and calves. We knew we weren’t going to stay on the river past that point, our bodies were ready to be out of the sun and standing on land and yet we definitely felt the transition. Change can be hard, even good change. If you are experiencing change (if you are human, this is you) be gentle on yourself. Give yourself time to stand in the metaphorical cool water and then be willing to take those first difficult steps up the sandy shore to stand on dry land. As soon as you get to the dry land, your mind and body are more ready for the transition and you will begin to move more easily. The same can be said of our lives. When we are faced with change, good or bad, be gentle with ourselves. Allow ourselves time to process the change without judging ourselves. Walk slowly taking time to stretch and then walk on knowing each step gets easier.
I’m looking forward to being back with you more regularly now that I have faced some changes in my own life I wasn’t ready for. This is the first blog post I’ve posted without my dear chihuahua, Stella sitting either on my lap or at my feet. Here is to you, Stella Bella!
All my love to you my dear readers. If this has been helpful or meaningful to you, please consider liking or sharing.