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Learning about life’s flow from a kayak

How could satisfying a husband’s request for a kayak end up teaching me one of the most important lessons of my life?

Here’s how.

Back in 2007, my husband Rich suggested we get a kayak. In exploring our central Massachusetts town, we discovered that it and surrounding towns are peppered with lakes, ponds and streams.

Love at first sight

Rich and I are both Pisces people and love the water. We had done test runs in both canoes and kayaks; I knew the minute I sat in it that the kayak was the right fit. It put me closest to the water.

Resistance is futile

At first I resisted the idea of purchasing one because money was tight but Rich wore me down. He drove four hours to New Hampshire with our daughter to get the best price and returned with a used, green and beautiful tandem kayak.

Immediate impact

The boat landing was right down the street and so we set sail. Right away I knew this new hobby was going to have a very positive effect on our lives.

Bridging a gap

Rich and I have enjoyed a lifelong relationship. We dated in high school and married just out of college. We share the same values about life, particularly when it comes to our faith, but when it came doing things together, we came up short.

  • Rich loves games and is good at them; I am terrible at them and find them boring.
  • I love being outdoors walking, bird watching or swimming. Rich is what my mother would have termed a “hot house plant:” he never went outdoors.
  • He excelled at Kung Fu; I couldn’t figure out the moves.
  • We could never agree on movies or music (with the exception of 1960s British Invasion music which we grew up on).

Then the kayak came along and we finally found something recreational that we both enjoyed doing!

A new kind of feeling

Rich and I noticed immediately the harmony and peace that descended upon us whenever we went out in the boat. Rather than compete with each other (which we always did), we worked in partnership.

We both enjoyed the leisurely trips appreciating the natural landscape on the quieter ponds or looking over all the beautiful waterfront properties on the larger lakes. We’d pick out houses and imagine them as our dream homes.

Expanding on that feeling

We found that we wanted to extend that peace and harmony into our everyday lives. And eventually, it did. We took the example of the teamwork we practiced in the boat and practiced it in our lives.

But there was more to learn.

I enjoyed kayaking so much that I began to daydream about it.

Sitting as close to the water as I could without being in it … warm sunshine on my face … surrounded by lush, sweet-smelling greenery … dragging my hands lazily through the warm, clear water … splashing the water on my hot feet … drifting downstream, letting the current carry me … taking time just to be

God began to teach me, using the kayak and the water as His instruments.

The peace and harmony I experienced in the kayak with Rich, the delight in being carried downstream surrounded by water and greenery – these could be translated into a lifestyle, if I let go and allowed God to be that current that carried me.

Learning to go with the flow

I slowly started letting go, releasing all the anxieties that used to wake me up at 4 am in a cold sweat. I worried most especially about our finances and now those worries were slowly floating away downstream.

I no longer wake up at 4 am in a cold sweat.

I then began to realize my whole life could be that single flow, directed by God’s current. All the different roles, passions, interests could merge together into that one flow …

That’s what I’m learning to do now. And I’m still at the beginning point of the journey.

But knowledge is half the battle.

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10 comments on “Learning about life’s flow from a kayak

  1. Dearest Susan, I sit here on Wednesday morning crying because not only will I miss the seven kittens, I’ll miss reading the kitty club chatter. God Bless You. Beth Albright

  2. [...] In my next post, I’ll share how a kayak introduced me to this idea of living life in a single … [...]

  3. This is a really beautiful post. I love how you compare being on a kayak to being in the flow of life. I, too, sometimes feel pulled in different directions with all my “roles” and long for a more integrated life.

    Your experience kayaking with your husband reminds me of my husband’s and my experience with biking. We both love it, and we have a beautiful place to ride down by the river that flows by our small town in Virginia.

    • Thank you. Being able to do something like that, where you’re outdoors and there’s no noise or TV or gadgets and its just organic, I find more and more that I really long for that. I used to love to ride a bike as a kid but am sorely out of shape for it now (though I do walk). My husband really loves to go fishing, loves the quiet. I think when it’s quiet, and your mind stops buzzing, then you start to hear that quiet voice inside that guides you.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ll stop by again.

  4. I’m glad I popped in; just wish we could sit a bit and share a bag of popcorn as we exchange stories. We also took up kayaking this summer. I swim and love the water whereas my husband does not swim but is OK with the water. This new adventure is very different from his coaching of girls fast pitch and/or softball since 1975. It is the ‘quiet’ of Lake St. Clair on a weekday evening that draws us to kayaking. Can’t wait to see the Fall Colors from the water.

    • Oh yes, you and I are lucky to live where the colors are so wonderful. I’m going to be posting this week some pictures from my best trip this summer, the lake on the campus of Wellesley College. It was like a trip to fairyland!

  5. Learning about life’s flow from a kayak | Be As One, ¿Que mas nos puedes explicar?, me resulta insterense esta articulo. Saludos.

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