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On dying and paddleboarding


On a beautiful Sunday in Kauai, our friend Marko offered to teach Glenn, visiting friend TC, and me how to paddleboard. At 62 years old, I was astonished at how easily I knelt on the board and paddled my way out to the middle of the Wailua River. When I felt ready, I put my paddle down across the board in front of me, put one foot at a time in place and stood up, careful to balance my weight so I’d keep from falling. Ah, sweet success!

Glenn, Marian & TC - Ready to Paddleboard

I cautiously paddled up the river, proud of my achievement. I didn’t shift my weight for fear I’d lose my balance, so I held still in my victorious (albeit stiff) position for about 1/2 hour. When my friends took a fork in the river, I followed. Noticing that they had returned to a kneeling position, I wondered if I should also rest in some way. I thought, “Will I get too tired to return?” At that moment, Marko said, “Here’s where your friend Bill fell in.” In a nanosecond, my fear of falling intensified and I fell headlong into the cold river.

My initial embarrassment was soon replaced by the exhilaration of surviving my fall and the fun of splashing around in the water. When I got back on the board, I felt so much more playful. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? That I go for another swim? Ha! I began to experiment with different stances, moving forward and back, left and right, paddling differently, getting on my knees and standing up again. Now that I had nothing left to fear, I was exploring the possibilities and having FUN!

This morning I recalled this lesson when reading Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing.

Moorjani wrote, “… I instinctively understood that I was dying because of all my fears. I wasn’t expressing my true self because my worries were preventing me from doing so.”

Whether or not our worries and fears manifest in actual physical death — or in the death of our inner, playful child or the death of our dreams — I am now on alert to notice how they impact my freedom to express my true self. I join Anita as she says:

     I know that I–along with everyone else–am a powerful, magnificent, unconditionally loved, and loving force. This energy flows through me, surrounds me, and is indistinguishable from me. It is, in fact, who and what I truly am; trusting in it is simply trusting myself. Allowing it to guide me, protect me, and give me all that’s needed for my ultimate happiness and well-being happens simply by being myself. I need only be the magnificent love that I am and allow events and circumstances in my life to play out in the way that I know is always in my best long-term interest.
      I detach myself from preconceived outcomes and trust that all is well. Being myself allows the wholeness of my unique magnificence to draw me in those directions most beneficial to me and to all others. This is really the only thing I have to do. And within that framework, everything that’s truly mine comes into my life effortlessly, in the most magical and unexpected ways imaginable, demonstrating every day the power and love of who I truly am.

Where in your life might fear and worry hold you back from being your true self? What story can you share with us that will reflect the universal truths that Anita shares? It can be as simple as paddleboarding down the river and enjoying the journey.

With gratitude,

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