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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Natur(e)al Lessons

I’ve had an interesting couple of days that gave me a lot to think about.  As I shared earlier, I enjoyed a great class on Saturday.  Despite some physical limitations I was able to find steadiness and ease and enjoyed the class.  However, one thing I was disappointed with was having to leave about 15 minutes before the end of class.  I missed the last pose or two plus something I’ve come to really embrace, savasana.  During a time when one of my main focuses has been on balance, I was wondering if missing out on savasana would make my practice feel incomplete.  Luckily, no such thing happened but I have no intention of leaving class early again and finding out.

The reason I had to leave class early was because I had been invited to a golf outing by a business associate.  As much as I enjoy golfing, I really wasn’t that interested in going.  First, it was cutting into my yoga time, which is of the utmost importance to me.  And second, I haven’t played or practice in such a long time I wasn’t sure what to expect.  However, for professional reasons, it was important for me to attend.  One of the nice physical benefits from yoga I noticed immediately was my back was very loose.  Especially coming directly from class, I didn’t need to stretch it out like I normally had to. (In fact, I’ve had pretty much NO back pain anymore since starting yoga! Awesome!)  My golf that day was nothing exciting to write about.  I was very rusty so no surpise that I struggled a lot.  However, I did make an interesting observation.  When I used to golf a lot, one of the main things I enjoyed was being out and enjoying nature.  Spending a few hours surrounded by trees, green grass, birds, etc.  I would just enjoy nature and the tranquility I felt on a golf course.  However, that day felt a little different.  Although it was still nice, it wasn’t ACTUAL nature.  And although there is definitely nothing wrong with that, it suddenly felt very man-made.  Having spent a lot more time recently hiking and going to the beach gave me a deeper appreciation for nature in it’s raw, untouched, natural glory.  So while I enjoy many of our man-made pleasures, escaping to enjoy nature has become more and more appealing to me.

Sunday, we had a friend from the mainland visiting so my family spent the day at the beach.  We talked, BBQ’d, sat in the sand, jumped in the water, and just had a nice, relaxing day.  One of the highlights for me was riding in kayak for the first time.  It was a 2 man kayak so my cousin and I jumped in and gave it a shot.  I don’t consider myself a great swimmer so it was a little daunting but having a life jacket on made it a little easier.  After a little bit of trial and error, we started to get the hang of it and paddled probably about a 1/4 mile down the shoreline.  From there we decided to make a u-turn and head back.  As we were trying to figure out which side we were supposed to paddle on to make the kayak turn, the waves were quickly pushing us towards a rock wall.  The water had gotten very choppy and it was getting a little scary.  My cousin and I started paddling really hard and we narrowly avoided the wall.  We were actually so close that at one point, I could see the rocks in the water almost directly underneath us..  Having survived our first scare, we still had the issue of turning around and heading back.  Eventually we were able to turn around but in the process were getting farther and farther from shore.  Whereas we started only 40-50 yards from shore, I think we were close to 70-80 yards out now.  As I mentioned, I’m not a great swimmer so couple that with the fact that the water was really choppy and the current was slowly pulling us out, fear was starting to set in.  My heart was racing and thoughts were swirling in my head but I refused to panic.  As much as I wanted to paddle as hard as I could to get closer to shore, I wasn’t sure if it would scare my cousin (or if I was just overreacting).  Slow and steady we made it back to a more comfortable distance for me and we slowly made our way back.  Overall, it was definitely a great experience for me and I’m very glad I did it.  I met my fear head-on but rather than let it paralyze me, I continued on in spite of it.   I tried something new and added another experience to my life.  Another lesson I learned was the strength and power of the ocean.  For those few harrowing moments, I felt the raw power of nature and it definitely deserves our respect.  At that moment, I felt very humbled.

And finally, on Tuesday my uncle, cousin, and I took our mainland friend hiking.  Although we had only planned to do one, we ended up with enough time after lunch to do another nearby one.  Neither were very long or strenuous so doing 2 in a day wasn’t very difficult.  Although I did one trail before when I was a kid, I didn’t really remember it so they were both basically new trails for me.  But to be honest, I was a little disappointed in both trails.  Much like my experience at the golf course, these trails were very much man-made and didn’t feel like I was really experiencing nature.  One was even paved the entire trail?! Definetly not what I was expecting…  Another thing I noticed was that these 2 particular trails weren’t really anything to look at.  In fact, on both trails a person on their way back down, looked at us and said, “Keep going, the view at the top is worth it!”  And while they were right and the view at the top was awesome, the one thought in my head was, “But what about the journey?”  Knowing you’re going to end up at an amazing destination is great BUT isn’t the journey just as important??  Is the destination supposed to make the journey worth it or vice versa?  I am finding in my life that I’m enjoying and appreciating the journey much more than just trying to reach a destination or goal.  I know I have big goals and dreams in life but if I can’t enjoy the challenges, setbacks, learning experiences, and victories along the journey, is the destination really worth it?  More and more, I am finding a better balance between the things I have and the things I want.  If I spend my whole life chasing, true happiness will always be just outside my grasp.

Hmmm… There has been a lot for me to ponder recently.  I’m sure I will think about this often in the days ahead and will continue to find joy and appreciation on my journey toward my True Self.

Thank you for allowing me to share.

Namaste.

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