Thursday, May 14, 2015

ONE PADDLE AT A TIME...

Tenacity: to firmly hold fast to something
Determination: firmness of purpose
Perseverance:  steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

Life lessons often come to me in the odd moments when I am most unaware that one approaches but most keenly aware they were meant for me after they have unfold.  I have a tendency to be an observer and that is most often the way I learn.  A week ago I learned a lesson in tenacity, determination, and perseverance in which I was the object in the lesson, unaware of the approach or my role in it yet keenly aware of the encouraging message after the event unfolded.
(Paddling past the boat docks in the bay)

My newest favorite outdoor activity is kayaking...who knew I was a kayaking kind of gal...I love it!  And that is how my lesson began.  For one glorious week the Handyman and I glamped on the beach and kayaked in the serene bay, marshy estuaries, and the salty sea.  All week long I had been eyeing a little stretch of islands that can only be reached by kayak because the water grows quite shallow in areas and sandbars rise up in others.  I wanted ever so badly to explore that little group of islands but I felt too inexperienced and afraid to leave the windbreak of the bay and cross the waving sea alongside the towering bridge in deep deep waters to reach the coveted spot as I had seen others do.
(Skirting the edge of the bay around to the bridge.)

This particular day we had paddled out into the bay and skirted the shore line alongside the boat docks, stopping on a little stretch of beach to look at shells, paddling past a small row of summer rentals, past another set of docks, curving around another small beach, with the end of one section of the bay bridge coming into sight.  As I sat there bobbing around looking at that island the idea rooted itself firmly in me that I should at least try to reach my coveted goal.  With firmness of purpose I looked at the Handyman and said, "Let's do this!"  He asked me if I was sure, I said no I was scared but I was going to do it anyway.  This is completely out of my character.
(Rest stop on a shallow sandbar.)

I fixed my eye on my landing target point, with a mighty power stroke of the paddle and lifting of prayer, I left the safety of the sheltered bay and launched myself into a literal sea of uncertainty.  The waves were no longer gentle and kind but brisk and billowy.  Paddling took precision and concentration to keep on course.  Directional changes and course corrections had to be made many times while keeping my eye on my goal.  About halfway across my muscles began to burn and tire and the wind kicked up causing the waves to increase.  I could feel my pulse throb in my neck and hear my heartbeat over the sound of the sea.  I had a choice, I could quit, turn around, and go back to the windbreak sheltered safety of the shallow bay or I could persevere despite the difficulty of wind, waves, and weariness and push on to reach my goal.
(Landing on the coveted island under the bridge.)

I cannot explain what happened next but a dogged determination rose up in me, an internal strength and desire to do what I set out to do.  The Handyman was behind me and he said all of the sudden he could not keep up as I power paddled across the ocean.  All the way across the Handyman would ask me if I was going to make it or did I want to turn back. I kept saying no that I wanted to go a little but further, each time he asked my response was the same, no I still wanted to go on.   I kept seeing that little island come closer and closer until finally like a crab I scuttled up on the sandbar, raising my paddle over my head with both arms and letting out a victory roar, I did it!  Once my rubbery arms and legs were on shore I turned around to see how far we had come from our launch point, which was barely a pin point in my vision.  I stood amazed and proud and victorious...and then I groaned...realizing we had to paddle all the way back!
(The red "x" in the photo shows our launch point, we determined it was about a 3 mile paddle.)

After downing a bottle of water, resting, shelling, and taking a few photos we decided it was time to return.  This time there was no skirting the shore, sheltering in the bay, or avoiding the wind and waves, only paddling off into the deep end setting out for a new goal.  This time it was easier even though I had to paddle just hard, watch my course just as carefully, and fight fatigue, I had the thrill of victory under my belt (or life jacket in this case) to spur me on.
(My big beautiful shell trophy from the island)

This is what I learned:
I can do far more than I think I am capable of if I hold fast to my goal with determination (and prayer) despite any difficulty or delay at achieving success which in turn can spur me on the next goal.  More often than not goals cannot be reached in a day.  I could not reach that island in one paddle stroke but with many of the same repeated strokes over and over and over again as I inched forward toward my goal.  My journey across the ocean, like achieving a goal, is not easy, you have to work hard, chart and follow your course, and fight discouragement and fatigue along the way but I have to tell, the victory whoop at the end is exhilarating and well worth the effort!
(Paddling into the sunset, back to our launch point, goal achieved!)

Wishing you all tenacity, perseverance, and determination on your journey whatever it may be!

blessings,
Sandy

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5 comments:

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Inspiring post Sandy! Good for you for conquering your fears and sticking to your goal. As you said, a little prayer didn't hurt either!

bobbie said...

Congratulations!! What a beautiful reminder we have more within ourselves than we think we do!!
Hugs ~

Createology said...

You were very brave! Congratulations!! You must have a hero super cape for these occasions. Blessings and Forge Ahead with Creative Bliss...

Vee said...

Handyman may have been hoping for a different response! I am glad that you have found a new love...kayaking. I used to love it very much and miss it. I even had my own kayak for several glorious summers. Your beautiful shell will be a wonderful reminder of a fun achievement and the lessons learned.

rivergardenstudio said...

What a beautiful post, Sandy. I love to Kayak too, we just started early last summer. And I know your feeling. You will reach your goals and your time will come. I love watching you chart your path. xox roxanne

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