Lessons learned on a rafting adventure.
By Mary Boutieller
On a recent five-day rafting trip in Idaho, I had a number of ah-ha moments—about fear, about perspective, about life—and I thought I would share some of those thoughts with you.
Fear: Part of our trip entailed flying in a small plane to the drop-off point. I have “always” had a fear of small planes…based on ONE flight when I was in my 20s and got very motion sick. I also have a slight fear of heights. So, flying in a small plane was not my idea of a good time! I tried to find a way around it to no avail. I talked about my fear to my husband John, our friends, and anyone who would listen. The morning of the flight, I had an upset stomach and ate very little. When we got to the airfield, there were three planes—the largest being an eight-seater. Long story short, I sat directly behind the pilot on the “big” plane and saw everything he did. It was a gorgeous, smooth flight over the river and low mountains. Twice, I almost started crying, not from fear but from dumping all that adrenalin in my body. It was an amazing experience!
After we landed on a grass runway, I realized that my mind had made it so much worse than it was in reality. I wondered how often we conjure up fears over things that haven’t even happened? And, how do we let go of the old storyline and just enjoy the ride? By facing our fears, trusting, and doing it anyway!
Perspective: Being in the raft at river level and seeing the grand mountains on either side of the canyon, I felt insignificant, but not in a bad way. The river was powerful, the mountains were massive, and here I was in a small boat with very little control over our course. So much of what we see depends on where we are when looking at the river. Are we at eye level watching all the turmoil, or standing on the mountain top looking at the calm waters below? Problems in our lives are similar. Sometimes we have to take a step back and change our point of view, remembering that there is always more than one way of looking at things.
Seriousness: There are times to be serious and times to play. My mother used to say that I was born serious. During the first couple of days of the trip, I caught myself trying to make sure everyone else was okay—watching for issues or accidents that might need my attention. It was as if a silent mantra was going on inside my head: “Watch, Wait, Respond, Repeat.” And then, suddenly, it hit me that it wasn’t my job. There were six wonderful and attentive guides on the trip who were doing a fantastic job! I physically felt a weight lift off my shoulders and realized that I could let go of this mantel of responsibility and just have fun. For someone who has lived most of her life in wary vigilance, it was a huge realization.
Life: We are both captains and passengers along the flow of life, and we can resist all we want, but the river—life—will win, and we will continue down the path one way or the other. We can either stand on the sidelines and let the river pass us by, or we can jump in. Let’s be willing to get wet, look up at the stars, and live our best lives.
I’ll end with a quote by Maria Popova: “It bears repeating that what makes life livable is our ability—our willingness—to move through the world wonder-smitten by reality.”
Mary Boutieller is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching yoga since 2005. Her work experience includes 22 years as a firefighter/paramedic and 10 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist. Mary’s knowledge and experience give her a well-rounded understanding of anatomy, alignment, health and movement in the body. She is passionate about the benefits of yoga and the ability to heal at all levels through awareness, compassion, and a willingness to explore. She can be reached at: SimplyogaOm@gmail.com.