In order to have fun kayaking, I have to get wet. I have to let the river flip me, pummel me and shoot water up my nose. It’s the same with having fun in life. Unfortunately, I don’t really want to do this. I want to float on the calm flat-water of the higher worlds.
But I don’t get to. The Divine has created a perfect system: Each insight, each height in consciousness, must be tested and proven in my daily life before I can launch into another new realm.
So I dive in.
As a double Aquarian, this has definitely been a challenge for me. Thus the Divine graced me with a family full of faults, but with one big asset: They knew how to have fun. We did it mostly through sports. We skied, water-skied, body surfed, sailed, played tennis and rode horses. During each adventure we had mishaps, but more importantly, we laughed, we teased each other, we competed, we threw ourselves into the sport and got lost. We came out the other side stronger and wiser, with new knowledge to bring to every life experience.
Through this I became a professional at play and have earned my living with it for the past 20 years. I’ve come to discover three secrets to having fun in spirit.
Develop a Bomber Roll
Play in the Current
Develop a Bomber Roll When I started kayaking, I was afraid to tip over because I couldn’t roll back up. However, as I developed my Eskimo roll, the water became multidimensional. Rather than above and below, it all became one plane. Since I was no longer afraid to tip over, I could do anything on the water because like a seal, if I flipped, I just twirled myself back up.
This is my goal in life as well.
I accomplish it through the spiritual exercises. I am paddling toward a place where I’m comfortable with all experience, from the sunny, dry ones above the surface, to the sad, wet ones below. Doing a reading contemplation each day has helped me be more content with all life.
As I devote time to my spiritual practice, I bring energy to that most important part of me, helping maintain my center. This practice translates into my daily life. When an experience comes in, rather than let it pull me away from my centered state, I focus my attention on God and negotiate it.
Get Wet When I started kayaking, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to stay steady on the surface, make strong strokes and employ a powerful brace. However, I had none of those skills, so I quickly flipped, pulled out of my boat and found myself flopping around in the current. Time and time again, I crawled onto the shore wet and humiliated.
It is the same with my life. Though I want to negotiate all from on high, to rise above it, no matter how hard I try, I will be pulled down into experiences. I will break my heart on the rocks of love, I will lose my strength to illness, I will one day even surrender my physical body to death.
On the river, once I accepted that I would be wet, cold and sore, I quit trying to protect myself and surrendered to the experience, knowing that it would teach me. And I found that it was all rich. Whether a rapid tossed me or flowed me easily through, I kept paddling and enjoyed the sport. One day while kayaking in winter, I got so hot playing in a hole, I rubbed a fistful of snow on my face. Another time, my boat pinned against a rock with me caught underwater. When I was free, I wept at the way my friends had rushed to save me.
I am free.
Once I got the basics down, I could play. I could romp though waves, peel out of eddies and even do tricks like pop-ups and cartwheels. As I develop spiritual aptitude, all of life becomes play. If I lose my job, it’s time to create a new one. An illness comes, I get to find more balance. My mate leaves—an opportunity to enjoy solitude.
It is all love.
Play in the Current At the height of my kayaking, I would spend an entire day paddling a short stretch of river. The reason it took so long was because we played. In a kayak this means finding a feature, usually a hole, a place where water pours over a rock. I stop in an eddy alongside it, ferry across and stick my bow into the mass of roiling water. It’s frightening. But after flipping over too many times, one day my boat popped up in the air and arced ten feet, landing safely on the surface. Then I learned to stay on the surface and spin around in a 360. And when I get really good, I both popped and spun, creating a cartwheel.
Play is about pushing the limit of the activity so that it becomes my own. I follow the rules until I can make the rules. It’s the same in my spiritual life. As I’ve developed my skills at calling on the Divine and listening to the guidance, I find I can create my own world. Where once I waited for editors to like my work and publish it, now I am the publisher. When once I thought I had to get money, now I know I simply give, and infinite wealth flows back.
I use my imagination to create, not a new relationship, job or car, but higher states of consciousness—more love of my soul self. The material creations come as an effect.
When I focus my attention, love the Divine creation and listen for the guidance, I paddle above life, seeing the sport it truly is. As an illusion, its details have little consequence. Rather than fight each wave, I release all to the Divine and surf the glassy flow, carving glorious turns to the rhythm of love.
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I have always wanted to get good at kayaking and I almost did once, but it was a borrowed kayak and I ran out of time. Gratefully, there is no such thing with the Divine. Time is so abundant that it is irelevant. We can take as long as we need to become perfect in our aim. Lesley, I simply love your analogies. They give me wonderful insights and direction into my own spiritual practices and always help me see my next steps more clearly. This one makes me want to enlist you as my kayak instructor! Thanks for another beautiful blog.
Lesley this is a great blog. When I was reading images kept coming to me and I kept hearing within, “keep my eye on the mark.” As I contemplated this I heard the inner Master say” become the mark,” showing the difference between viewing at the end or viewing from the end. THANK YOU!
Lesley, this is a beautiful creation! I love how purely you give voice to the ongoing experience of enlightenment in all aspects of life. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with me… now I want to share it with others 🙂