I was recently on vacation in Hawai’i. We went with some friends who had organized some absolutely wonderful day trips. Snorkeling, beach walks, hikes to waterfalls, swimming and a day in the ocean on a kayak.
I love to canoe, I love to kayak. I enjoy the quiet lapping of the water against the boat. The silence of cruising down a stream allows me to see the wildlife without disturbing it. I experience calm and have the composure to be able to take nice photos. Even on an estuary with small waves bobbing us I have been able to see baby sea lions and their mom’s in Moss Beach with my grandkids. The biggest mental challenge on that trip was not getting too close to them; their cuteness and mews were like sirens to me and my g-kids. We resisted.
I looked out to those waves and my blood ran cold. I had committed to going. The guys were ready. The kayaks were on the shore, the snacks tucked safely away in the water proof bag; my stomach not so much. I was trying to balance my fearful expectations of disaster with the likelihood of an “unlikely event”. Regular people were getting into their boats. Tour groups with people of apparently all manner of physical aptitude were embarking on the few mile row to the island. They did not look terrified. Now I have learned over the years not to “judge my insides by other people’s outsides” so is is possible their guts were roiling as powerfully as mine, as powerfully as the sea. I do not know this to be true or not. They did not appear to be jabbering on about their terror as I was.
I was ready, took a deep breath and got in. I promptly flipped, was dunked and got bruised along the right side of my body in several place. I took another deep breath and got in again. I was nearly hysterical. Deep breathing: yoga 101. My husband then got in after a lot of twists and turns, chasing the boat through the wake and we were off. Well, we paddled into the oncoming waves, and my heart rate shot through the roof.
I was trying to keep it together as we faced rolling seas. I really am not exaggerating here; the waves came over us pretty regularly. We were cautioned to go out a far ways (but not too far) ultimately to angle parallel to the beach, overshoot our island by quite a bit and angle back toward it to avoid the undersea reefs and the powerful currents that were created by them. “Do not try to take a shortcut” we were advised. Go the distance and you will have no problems. First thing off was to try for a short cut. I panicked.
(Read on for Part Two- “In the solution”.)
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” and the creator of SOAR (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her and the training at www.yogarecovery.com