Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Thin Branches........

I am sitting in an almost mid-level motel in the Exuma Islands. A few months ago, I had never heard of them; they are part of the Bahama Islands. Who knew? I thought the Bahama Islands consisted only of the island that Nassau was on. I guess the first clue to my error should have been the "s" on the end of Bahama Islands. But here I am, sufficiently educated and waiting to meet a handful of strangers, with whom I will be spending the next week.

I am here to learn how to kayak, specifically sea kayak. I have never kayaked before, let alone in the ocean. The trip is self-contained, meaning we will be carrying all our gear and camping on the various islands, to which we will be paddling.

I should mention at this point that I don't swim well and have a fear of drowning. Last time I swam in the ocean was for a triatholn, and I was so frightened of the waves, (in my defense, they were BIG), that I begged the life guard to paddled on his surf board beside me. I am not afraid of being eaten by predators from below, but I have removed my toe nail polish so my tootsies don't get mistaken for yummy morsels...just in case, mind you. So to say I am 'crawling out onto the thin branches', stretching myself, is not too much of an exaggeration.

I have had a number of people ask me why I keep doing things that 'push' me so much...or as one friend puts it, "Why do you keep punishing yourself?'  I don't see it that way; The reason I push is simple; I firmly believe that once one stops challenging himself, he quits growing.

Yesterday in the airport, I caught an interview of Deepak Chopra. He was talking about aging and feels that once one stops growing, he begins to age--that mental age affects biological age. He urged the listeners, regardless of age or physical condition, to challenge themselves daily with something new, with something that would stretch them mentally and physically. In doing so, new cells and synapses develop as does a healthy self-esteem that comes with achievement, which in turn, stimulates one to continue to reach beyond his boundaries and grow.

Tomorrow I shove off in my kayak, but prior to actually being able to leave, I must learn and demonstrate that I am able to do a 'wet escape'....that means flipping the kayak upside-down in the water (with me in it), getting out successfully and reaching the surface.  I have no doubt that as I am hanging upside down under the water, I will feel panic, but I am prepared to walk past that fear, and in doing, empower myself,  learn a new skill, and grow.

So, I challenge you...as I am hangin upside-down, fully submerged....to do one thing tomorrow that will stretch you...that will grow you. It doesn't have to be big, but just one thing that makes your heart beat a little faster, that makes your palms moist and causes you to dig into your courage just a bit....just one thing. Climb out onto those thin branches...because 'life begins at the end of your comfort zone.'  

1 comment:

  1. Once you do the wet exit your confidence will soar... Then you will need to
    Learn how to climb back in the kayak. What fun you will have. Wish I was there with you. It's s favorite of mine... Kayaking!