This short article has been supplied by Erik Boomer and offers a hint at the mental landscapes.
I have always loved paddling on rivers, especially when I find myself in the midst of difficult whitewater or challenging situations. I have always felt at my best on the water, physically and mentally. I have been asked more than once, “What it is that you love so much about paddling or what the river has taught you?” My answers were always philosophical, touching on the ideas of “being in the moment”, and “getting past irrational fears” and mostly to never stop fighting no matter how bad the situation seemed. Every time I would put on a river I would be put into this mindset and experience a sense of contentment of just being on the river while putting aside all of my everyday worries, it feels empowering to rise above situations and moments that are usually considered “bad” and turn them into fun in completing the river or by surviving the hike out if we deemed the river to dangerous to paddle. Little did I know, these lessons were much deeper and powerful than I was letting them be.“The best line through a rapid is not the line that takes you clear of siphons, sticky holes and beat downs. The best line is one that takes you through the rapid and applies in a positive way to your life everyday.”-Doug Ammons. In such discussions I have quoted this great piece of wisdom from Doug Ammons while trying to find deeper meaning and a purpose for kayaking. What I find ironic is that this was exactly what I was not doing, I read it and understood it, but was not living it. “The graveyard is full of good intentions” Something I have heard and continue hear. I “want” to do that–I want to travel, I want to do more photography, I want to lose weight. There is no connection between saying you want something and actually doing something. Just saying that you want something is really your mind creating the reality and affirming that you do not have that thing. I have always wanted the same focus that I have in kayaking in my everyday life, but I never found it. Or if I did I felt that it was fleeting and passed quickly when the situation creating excitement passed, I would feel my focus dissolve away with the worries and stresses of daily life.
It is not until just recently that I have realized many of the lies I have been telling myself are not true. Kayaking has helped me learn that. When I paddle I realize that fear, emotions, worries and stress are not reality, we can choose to let them manifest in our minds and cloud our vision. But if you can experience freedom from past failures, future fears, or basically anything that takes you out of living wholeheartedly in the moment while kayaking—I would be lying to myself if I thought this freedom was only available on the river, or when I put my helmet on. And if that is the case-that reality on the river in difficult situations is the same reality when I am presenting a proposal to a client, playing with my niece or nephews, in a heated argument, or even on a walk, or stranded on the streets with no food or money– Then every moment of my life changes from “Wants and Excuses” into rapids and waterfalls that are as rich and rewarding to deal with as the most harrowing paddling descent. Kayaking has taught me to live.