Pull Your Paddle From The Water

535. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Megan-the-brilliant and I are engaged in game that I adore. We give each other daily assignments meant to wake us up to life, to challenge our assumptions, help us see our choices, drop our illusions, or simply stir the pot. Following Margaret’s death yesterday, this is my assignment today:

“…be present with this day. Set down the goals, the planning… leave aside anything that doesn’t directly touch today. As in a river canoe in the wind, allow yourself to be slowed enough to look around, to see where you are.

It’s a paradox, isn’t it? Each day is a step on this journey and yet we cannot have the whole journey; we only have one day at a time. Why don’t we put the journey into the day? What it is that, looking back on this long path, you want to have lived… created? How can you live that in this day? Perhaps a journey of many days is only truly one day long.

There is another gift hidden within this assignment, for presence is a paradox in itself. When we are present with ourselves and our surroundings we hear the subtle clues that, if noticed, can help us to create. For instance, we can learn a great deal from being present with pain, from not running from it or avoiding it. The pain teaches us how to let it pass through us… or to pass through it. For the point is not to capture pain, to get stuck in it, but rather to be present with it on it’s short life and watch it transform. To learn from it’s story. If we aren’t listening, we’re not truly present.”

Once I was with Megan in a canoe paddling into a very strong wind. Sometimes we paddled and went nowhere. Sometimes we paddled hard and made good headway but all I remember is the paddling; I missed the river entirely. Sometimes, we lifted our paddles from the water and rested and it was as if the river came into focus. The vibrant life beneath, around and above us seemed to materialize: an eagle robbing nests, the music of wind in leaves, the abundance of life swimming, crawling, waving, and dancing under water. I looked back at Megan and she was aware of it also, her eyes were blue fire with recognition.

Today she gave me the ultimate assignment (and gift): Pull your paddle from the water, stop moving through life and be in it, even if the wind blows you backward, recognize that the place you think you need to go is never where you really need to be.

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