The other morning, as I stood on my paddleboard something unique happened.
I want to try to explain it without sounding pretentious or silly or like an ad for a wellness retreat. I also know there is no way to recapture that moment.
I went out on the board at about 7 a.m. The water was much warmer than the air, so there was a mist; it was a truly breathtaking sight. I made a conscious decision not to take my phone or my camera. I can be more present without concern for documenting the moment.
So, I headed out. At 7 a.m. on our river, there usually is no boat traffic. The water is often rippled due to the breeze. That was not the case on this morning. The water was misty and very still.
As I moved away from the cottage, I looked at the reflection of the clouds and the trees. I looked at the reflection of me, the board.
It was quiet, except for the occasional bark of a dog, somewhere, over there.
When I paddle, I meditate. I meditate by counting the strokes on each side of the board. By counting, I am freeing my mind from thinking about all the things our minds like to think about. This morning, I stopped paddling numerous times. I was listening to the silence. Not thinking of anything at all.
As was inevitable, a little bit of sound began; a boat was approaching. There were a couple ripples. The mist was lifting.
I was seeing and feeling the change. It was tactile.
And here’s where the part that is really hard to explain, the schmaltzy part, happened.
I felt the place I am in my life, in that moment.
The future is coming, my new future. This new job, it’s somewhere just out of sight, like the approaching boat. There’s a bit of noise already happening around the job, but it’s not quite here yet. There’s some ripples, some things that I have had to do. The unknown, the mist, is clearing. What that future looks like is becoming clearer.
I love, really love, my mornings on the paddleboard. It is the richest experience I have on my own. I have loved, REALLY REALLY loved being a full time student. I know that who I am shifted and how I am in the world has fundamentally changed forever. I have no regrets anymore. I only have expectations, an understanding that university set me up to live a richer, fuller life.
So, let the mist rise. Let the ripples and the noise begin. I’m ready.
On Sunday, I went out for a quick paddle midday. A huge boat went by and created a ridiculously big wake. There was only one option for me: head into the waves and hope for the best. I knew – and admitted it out loud – I was not going to stay standing. That’s a whole other metaphor for taking on a new, big job. There’s going to be waves and some of them are going to knock me down.
Just like on Sunday, though, I’ll get back up. University has given me a top notch life jacket full of problem solving skills.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. – Thoreau