June 16, 2007

It's Okay

Just rolling into town after a four day river raft trip down Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River out of southern Utah. Wow! What an experience!!

As I get back to the computer to catch up on client emails, I wanted to share one of my favorite teachings from Trip Leader Lorenzo (aka "Zo").

We got our safety speech morning of day two, after floating flat water the prior day. It was chock full of life wisdom, which I can hardly wait to share - but my favorite was how we were guided to remember/realize that we are okay. Already. And always.

Our wise guide said if we end up in the water, the first thing he's going to do is make eye contact with us and ask the question "Are you okay?" Since we won't be able to hear each other (because the rapids are LOUD), he'll ask the question by patting the top of his head with his hand. "Are you okay?"

That's our cue to answer "Yes, I'm okay," which we also give by patting the top of our heads.

So he pats his head (asking, "Okay?") and I pat my head (answering affirmatively, "Okay").

Our guide went on to give us the distress signal, and some tips on when to use it.

He said if you've just been thrown out of the boat, and an oar hit you hard in the neck on your way out, and while under water you took on a mouthful of water and scraped your leg on the rope, which you're pretty sure is bleeding, and you're really really really scared, Lorenzo reminds us, "You're definitely, positively OKAY!"

The wisdom of this practically brings me to tears.

Even when you think it's bad, you're really okay. You're here! You're alive!! And you're now in for the ride of your life!! Because surely there's no better way to run the rapids than in your life vest!! Ha!! (I SO believe that!)

Lorenzo says that not only will our stories will be the best, but we'll also be up close and getting real familiar with Nature, in all her glory - and man, are WE OKAY!!! What could BE more okay??

I can't imagine!!

Why people run rapids ... it's clear to me now. The part where we just float on quiet, flat water ... ? That part is nice and peaceful and everything, but it gets kind of boring after a day or so.

Those rapids, though?! WOW! First time you hear those coming up around the corner!! Woo hoooo hooooooo!!!!!! Now THAT'S exciting!

It's the same reason we're here, living these lives, facing these challenges, isn't it? Getting our hearts broken, birthing our projects and our works of art, experiencing the full range of emotions from anger and joy and depression and revenge and hope and all the rest - living life full out!

Because it's FUN!!! We love it!! Even when we've been hit in the throat, and we're cold and not in the boat, and getting tossed about in the stream - which just wants to spit us back to the top to take another big breath for our next big ride anyway - even when it looks not so bad, guess what? We're OKAY!!!!

What could be better?

We picked a fabulous ride, didn't we?!

And we're okay. I'm okay. You're okay. We're here! Doing our thing!! Having the time of our lives!!

Wow, doesn't it just make you want to go climb something, fly somewhere, build something, or love someone?

It does me. And I'm sending that love to you. Along with the reminder that it's all okay.

I'm okay. You're okay.

And if I ever forget, I'll remember Zo patting his head, reminding me of it. I'm okay. He's okay. It's all okay.

Thank you, Lorenzo. : )

4 comments:

  1. leslierichter@gicable,comJune 17, 2007 at 1:42 AM

    I appreciate the big bites you take out of life Jeannette.

    You make me realize the choices we have, enjoy the gentle view of the river, on the edge of boredom but with predictability as the payback.

    Or notice you came with a life jacket on!

    You are so much fun!!!Thank you for sharing your experiences, your wisdom and your big bites.

    Love Leslie XXXOOO

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  2. Jeannette,

    I just got back from a canopy class this weekend at the dropzone. And the skydiver teaching the class wrote this book called "Transcending Fear: Relax, Focus and Flow".

    He said that all danger is merely Forced Enlightenment. I thought that was great. Skydiving is dangerous, but because of that you're forced to awaken into the moment. You're only focus is now. I'm sure you got a taste of that on your trip.

    So go fast and take chances.

    Blue Skies,
    Jeff

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  3. I suspected that might be why river people love rapids - it's impossible to not be full present in the moment as you're navigating torrents of life-threatening movement. You're not really thinking about cancelling the newspaper subscription or wondering if you should have that mole checked when you hear the roar of rapids as you approach the bend in the river.

    As for big bites, Leslie, ha! I was in the "mama bear" boat. It was the oar boat, not the paddle boat or the S-rig (big rig). So it felt like a medium bite, which was PERFECT for me! I didn't work too hard for the ride, and left all the navigating to my stellar guide, Brie. She's the kind of girl who gives women a good name. I'll write more about her soon ...

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  4. Jeannette, you are such a star I am laughing so hard here. I adore this:

    "Even when you think it's bad, you're really okay. You're here! You're alive!! And you're now in for the ride of your life!! Because surely there's no better way to run the rapids than in your life vest!! Ha!!"

    Brilliant!

    :)

    ~Sonora

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