Personal Power

5 Ways Paddle-boarding is Like Life

1 | Stability – If you’re not stable, you’ll fall off – or have a very stressful ride. Different people need different boards. Make sure your board provides the stability you need to enjoy your ride. You might have to try a few out to find the perfect fit. Find the thing(s) that bring ease and stability into your life. A strong, stable foundation will help you feel more confident to try new things. It will also help you ride the waves more gracefully when things get rough.

“A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.” – Tom Robbins

2 | Falling – It can be scary, at first, to think about falling in the water. Cold. Deep. Fish. Wet. How will I get back on my board? But once you fall and realize you’re not going to die, the next fall seems less horrible. You’re forced to take a big invigorating breath – get the blood flowing/heart pumping a little, maybe even laugh at yourself, and get back on your board. You adjust. Learn. Go out even stronger than before. Next time you feel scared of failing, er, falling, take a deep breath, splash some cold water on your face, look yourself in the mirror and remember You Were Born for This.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

3 | Awareness – You have to be aware of yourself and your surroundings, and your relationship to them. If you’re getting too close to an anchored boat, you need to navigate around it. If you see a speed boat coming, you want to be sure it sees you and you don’t get hammered in its wake. If you see ominous clouds and the wind is picking up, better be sure you’re not too far away from shore/safety. You have to look up and around. You have to be aware of the world around you. You have to be agile and willing/ready to make a move or change direction. It’s like dancing with life. It moves, you move – and vice versa. Having awareness of your internal state and the state of the external world–and your impact upon/relationship to it–helps you become the master of your life, the creator of your experience.

“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom … the power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Stephen Covey

4 | Kneeling – It’s OK to get on your knees and paddle. You’re not a failure. You’re not weak. If we gave ourselves permission more often to “kneel,” and not have to have it all together, it would take a lot of pressure of ourselves – and others! Lead the way with your authenticity and humility. It’s refreshing and life giving. Also, kneeling is a prayerful position, an age-old symbol of devotion, reverence, and surrender. Consider how often you actually get on your knees and ask for help? Or pray in gratitude? Doesn’t matter your relationship to religion or how “spiritual” you may be, getting low might give you knew perspective and peace to get through the turbulence!

“To ascend the mountain, we must descend to our knees.”  – Craig D. Lounsbrough

5| Balance – Strong core. Athletic stance. Bend in your knees. Paddle in hand. You’re ready for action. Being able to keep your body upright and be in control of your body movement is a key fitness skill – and one that will keep you on the board and happy and dry : ) But balance obviously applies to other areas of our lives, as well. Work/play balance. Kid/husband balance. Family-life/professional-life balance. Friend-time/alone-time balance. Salad/Ice Cream balance. Are you feeling burnt out, resentful? Good chance something is out of balance. Re-calibrate. Say “no” more. Say “yes” more. You’re smart; you know what you need to let go of, and what you need to embrace more of. Find your happy balance.

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi

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