Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you have had the opportunity to reflect upon the memories of 2016 with awareness and self-love. If you’re like me, you are probably overwhelmed with gratitude for the year’s blessings, and also feeling incredulous that you survived the challenges. You may be looking to the future with much excitement to begin filling blank pages, while still feeling intimidated by the looming possibilities. Existing in such a state can feel quite confusing. Remember that you aren’t alone if you feel somewhat trapped between a year of memories and a year of resolutions. The turning of the year can be a wonderful time to commit to a balance between the pull of the past and the pull of the future—a wonderful time to simply be present.
Paddlers (and many other types of athletes and adventurers) are familiar with the concept of “here and now.” Whitewater has a knack for funneling our attention span into a single move or distinct series of moves. It invites us to live in the present. Practicing being present in the river certainly helps me to be present in other realms of life. My goal for the new year is to take this one step further by realizing my ability to create each moment. When we make a move in the river, our bodies and minds harness the power of creativity—we do exactly what we need to do depending on the specific pieces of time and space that we occupy in the river. Each moment is authentic, whether we’re pounding out a first descent or running a rapid for the thousandth time. We possess this same creative power in all aspects of life. I like to picture my life as a beautiful image of co-creation, in which all that I experience is a blend of my own intentions and the intentions of a wiser life force. My life is not at the whim of fate; it is in fact a very conscious creation simultaneously formed by myself and my God. My lines do not belong to me or to the current, but to both of us acting as one. Our lives are not random. They are exactly what we and our omnipresent life forces create in tandem. We have the choice to pursue what matters to us, in a way that matters to us.
Something that matters greatly to me is sharing my passion for self-transformation through immersion in nature. Teaching kayaking throughout my college years has been a beautiful manifestation of this passion. This year, I resolve to continue sharing my love for the teachings of the river by periodically posting pieces of creative writing for fellow river lovers to enjoy. This month, I am sharing a poem about the power of dreams, specifically as it relates to my childhood dream of becoming a kayaker. This poem is written in a form known as “ghazal,” composed of couplets that end with the same word, preceded by rhyming words. Both lines of the first couplet must contain the key word, and the last line traditionally contains the author’s name. If you’d like, insert your own name into the last line. What connections come to mind? What are you creating for yourself this year?
I thank you all for sharing in this journey with me!
A night-paddle is always a trying dream.
I awake, sweat-sodden, sighing: dream.
My body merges with a billion buoyant bubbles,
leaping from the Earth in this flying dream.
A boulder-sieve of bed sheets bites hard upon hitting.
Consciousness claims me, defying the dream.
I climb mountains-high waves and explode towards the sun.
Wet flames engulf me in this shining dream.
Drowning in the river, white light pulls me in.
Gravity wins in this dying dream.
My goals are the flotsam fumbling in the currents,
beckoning, crying, Angela—dream!