Thanksgiving for Kayaking

Every once in awhile I wake up with a case of the blahs. This morning it was a slight headache/general malaise/missing my kids kind of feeling. It catches me unaware – I never know when it will come. There is no way to be ready for it, to prepare or get my armor in place to guard against it.

The only way I know to combat the blahs is to get outside – go for a walk or paddle somewhere new. That feeling of slight excitement that comes with a new adventure usually does the trick. So off we went with our kayaks to paddle off of Dash Point Park.1476179_10201879725767223_193809465_n

The parking lot was completely deserted when we got there and I could hear “Are we crazy or what?” ringing in my own head as we pulled the kayaks down off the car and carried them to the beach. We wore wetsuits, booties, rain coats, hats, and gloves. We could see our breath! It was down right cold (about 35 degrees!) There was frost on everything that was not in the sunshine!

But once I got into the water and started paddling the cold soon became the last thing I noticed. On the water even the smallest sounds become noticeable. There are the sounds of birds flying overhead and the sound of your paddle as it enters the water, waves lapping against the kayak – but mostly it is quiet. Today we even had a seal pop up out of the water to check us out!

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After paddling down the coast past Dash Point and sliding under the fishing pier we headed back north toward the park. A few small roly poly waves gave us a fun little carnival ride and then the water became very still. Sitting still on the water with the sun shining across your back is a magical experience like being in church on Sunday morning with light streaming through the stained glass windows!

Sitting in my kayak, I became very quiet and allowed the sounds of nature to soothe me. I looked around and noticed the sandy ocean bottom 3 feet below, various shells here and there, light rippling-bouncing-refracting through the water, blue sky overhead, jet trails in the clouds, eagles calling from their aerie and soon I noticed my breath began to slow and my body relax. I closed my eyes and relished my smallness compared to the ocean and nature.

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So today I am celebrating Thanksgiving for Kayaking. My little red boat allows me to get out onto the water and look at life from a new vantage point. It allows me to be in a different environment where stress and hurry and worry are not allowed. It forces me to be present, aware and breathe and that allows me to kiss the blahs goodbye!

When was the last time you played?

When I was a kid, playing meant to go outside and ride my bike or play hide and seek in the woods across the street. Sometimes we played with Barbie and Ken and sometimes I played with Matchbox cars with my friend Wayne. We also played on the beach – seeking for treasures on the sand and amongst the driftwood. We played a lot. We used our imagination to build rivers of hot lava on the ground between the furniture and pillows that were islands we could safely walk on. We played Robin Hood and tried to save fair maidens from fire breathing dragons……Just writing that brings back floods of memories from that time and there is a silly grin on my face.

Do you remember what that feels like? Has it been a while since you played? As we become adults play changes a bit. Some of us still like to play in the woods and ride our bikes. Some of us still like to play in the mud!

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Some of us play by swimming or kayaking. Others like to be out in nature by hiking and camping. Some of us play by dancing and singing (even if it is just at home in our pajamas)! As a person who practices yoga I love to try new poses – like this headstand!

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I also love to play around with partner yoga! 

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Being on the water is always play for me.

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How do you like to play? Has it been a while? Come out and play! You will remember how! It will be fun and you will feel that little boy or girl within you begin to giggle again! What is it that makes you giggle? Whatever that is for you – DO THAT….do it more often. Live your life, love your life. Time is short – do it NOW, Don’t wait. Be happy – Giggle your ass off!

Being Real

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I’ve been reading a lot lately about the importance of being real. I know that the relationships  I treasure the most are the ones that are real. By real I mean that both of us feel free to be ourselves, say what is on our mind, talk about virtually any topic and not hide behind any kind of mask.

I spent a lot of my life living behind a mask. I wore a mask with my parents – pretending to be what I thought they wanted me to be. I actually still do this to some degree. It’s just easier with my Mom to NOT go to the truth most of the time because the fall out would be hell. ( I can hear you echoing amen)

I wore a mask during school trying to be liked, accepted and to fit in. I wore a mask with my husband for many years – a mask that said everything was ok, that I was happy, that I felt loved, valued and cared for. I even wore a mask with my children trying to be the “perfect” mom – teaching them that I thought being perfect was more important than being real.

But I have learned that being unreal and living behind a mask is the worst possible way to live. It is counterfeit to our very being, false to our spirit, untrusting toward others, debilitating to our mind and full of self hatred. It is hiding in a closet, afraid to speak your truth.

With this blog I try to be very real. I try to explain to you how I truly feel. No hiding behind a mask or pretending to be something or someone I’m not. It does turn some people off or make them fearful for me. I’ve even been asked why I am so open with my feelings?

The answer is: Because I know that when I am real – it will touch others who are feeling the same way. Some people may find it uncomfortable but there are those out there who want to be heard. To have someone listen, accept them and connect in a deep, meaningful way.

And when we connect…when I open up my heart and show you all my wretched twisted glory  and you see it and love me anyway – that is pure joy, love and bliss. That is one soul touching another with a soothing, comforting hand. That is love like no other and cannot be replicated in any other way.

So I choose to be real. To live an open, honest and genuine life. To share my joys and hurts. To tell you the truth and trust you to hear me.  Namaste Y’all. Hugs.

Water as Meditation

What is it about being on the water? Why is it so wonderful? Is it the smell? The rocking motion afforded by the waves? The sea life? There are all those words people use to describe it…..It’s peaceful and soothing…..but why?

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(Summer 2013)

This week we went out for a paddle along the Des Moines waterfront. We started at the Marina and went to the north, under the fishing pier and along the shore until we reached Normandy Park Beach. Not too far, just right. The sun even made a brief appearance before the pacific northwest cloud blanket reappeared and we made our way back to the marina.

We took our time….no hurry….just wanted to enjoy the day and be on the water. I love being on the water: sailing, kayaking, SUPping, floating…you name it.  And it doesn’t matter what form of water it is: a lake, a river, a puddle (lol) or the big blue ocean. It all makes me feel the same way. It is like a reset button. When I am on the water I can totally disconnect from everything that is worrying me and let it all go. It’s like meditation. I focus on the water and my surroundings and all the negative mind stuff disappears.

As I paddled it became meditation, I focussed on the reflection of the clouds in the water, a single feather curled like a boat floating alone – it’s owner nowhere to be seen, multitudes of star fish in every shape and color, ripples of light on the water as the waves bounced gently by, Cormorants barely lifting themselves from the sea trying to escape my path, the rippling wake pattern my kayak leaves behind, water dripping from my paddle making ever expanding circles, the sun trying valiantly to break through to my warmth hungry skin…..and the quiet….the quiet of nature…..

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Remembering each moment takes me right back there. I can feel the weight of stress begin to lift from my chest and mind. Water is a part of our world and yet we are not a part of it. We can float on top of it, we can swim through it but we don’t live in it, we can’t breathe in it and yet it calls to me….constantly. The feeling of relief I get when I spend time on the water is unreal. Better than any medication I could take, better than a glass of wine (Yep, I said it!) Even better than a conversation with my best friend.

I’m not sure what the answer is….why is it so peaceful and soothing? Maybe it’s because it is so beautiful that I stop thinking about all the mundane little worries of life and just enjoy? Maybe it’s because I am practicing being present in that moment?  Maybe it’s just because water is so foreign and otherworldly yes so down home and alluring.  Maybe it’s because I know that when I’m on the water….all I have to do is just……be.