Order of Operations – Reflections in a Busy Life
It has been a whirlwind these last few months. I say that with the lightest of hearts and with the utmost gratitude! I had a wonderful time at the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium in Argyle, Nova Scotia – hosted by Committed 2 the Core. The hospitality and food there is unbeatable, not to mention the faces of a vibrant Sea Kayak Community!
Then I was whisked down to Pacific City, Oregon to attend Lumpy Waters Symposium hosted by Alder Creek Canoe & Kayak. As always, it was an amazing time of fun coaching, lively spirits and I even was brought to expose my little known passion for singin’ my little heart out in front of a crowd. It is not every day that we get to be vulnerable like that in front of so many people…to me this speaks miles for the community to which I belong.
Since this fall whirlwind of paddling and symposium I have taken some time to reflect. More and more I am listening to the wise voice within and learning to create some quality time for me – Learning to heed my own teachings. In guide training programs and incident management scenarios for sea kayaking, we always teach a certain “order of operations” as it relates to a rescue scenario:
“Who is the most important person in any rescue?”
Answer: Me the rescuer.
Then it follows that we secure the safety of the group and finally we take care of the person in need. Without making sure you, the rescuer – the actor in the scenario, is safe and secure first, the potential outcome of the rescue begins to look less favourable. This is some advice I am learning to use in my day to day life.
In the buzz and excitement of what makes up the whirlwind that I have only begun to describe above, I find myself feeling unable to find time to recharge in a meaningful, reflective way. The excuse that so often comes up is, “I have no time.” I think I have learned this lesson before…
In my 3rd season of guiding on Vancouver Island, working trip after trip, back to back, cooking all day, guiding 8 people in the Canadian wilderness… I was almost burnt out. I was exhausted and although I loved sharing guided wilderness experiences with guests from around the world, I was close to tears by the end of July. Perhaps I was just about at my breaking point, just on the edge of total exhaustion when I realized that I could literally cut wood and carry water, chop onions and fix tarps all day. The list of things that need to get done might never end, so unless I could stop, MAKE TIME and do something for me, I might never FIND TIME.
I learned that summer to stop and read for 20 minutes at a time; To go and sit near the waters edge for 15 minutes and breath deeply; To take some time to listen to the stars at night. By the end of the summer I felt better than when I had started. The funny thing was, is that even though I was taking time away from cutting wood and carrying water, the busy stuff… the trips continued to run smoothly, maybe better.
It is a simple lesson, it seems and I have clearly learned it at least once before. What feels different this time is that I listened to the call well before I became overwhelmed… like a precautionary does of self love. To rediscover the wild parts of the self that are waiting to be heard. Ahh… sweet excitement in the knowledge that I am learning to listen to the call and more importantly learning how to to answer.
“Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?”
– David Whyte