Sunday, September 14, 2014

Staying Afloat



You may have noticed I changed the photo at the top of the blog. The truth is, this is one of the only photos of myself that I truly love. And it's a bathing suit shot, no less. Thankfully, despite the zoom lens, the fact that I'm in a bathing suit and hate photos of myself, it's an absolute favourite.

I mean, the photo in itself, that my husband took off the deck of his parents' place this past summer, is pretty in the colour and composition, but it's more than that to me. It's a rare and privileged photo because in this photo I am completely and totally relaxed. You may not know that to look at it but it was the result of several attempts on my part to quiet my mind and find a space in nature to just breathe. I had gone for several walks and a long kayak paddle up the lake into the river that feeds it but to be honest, it wasn't until I sat on this floating chair and paddled out to the middle of the lake, that I was able to find absolute calm. I think it helped that the lake that day was an absolute mirror of the sky above it and the only movement on the lake was that of my hands paddling myself out to the middle. I could see each ripple that I instigated and could watch the effects of my every movement as the small waves emanated from where I sat. At one point, I reached over the edge of the chair and rescued a small dragonfly that was floundering on the surface of the lake. I set him (or her) on my knee and continued to float. The water was cool but it was sunny and warm and the longer I sat out there, the calmer it became, and so too, did I.  I fought the thought that I was being selfish, spending too much time alone out there, or that there were other things I should be doing, until I had to actually speak the words out loud, "Be quiet. Sit still." We tell children this all the time and yet we find it so very difficult to do ourselves.

I love this photo because it reminds me that every movement I make has a rippling effect. When I'm busy and being pulled in different directions with things to be done, I know that around me the effect is more tumultuous and erratic waves than the gentle rippling of things done in a calm and serene manner. And yet, I think, there are times to make waves and shatter the surface.  Days like these when things are so still and serene are few and far between, but when they do come, it's in our best interests to embrace them and rest in them, for they come so rarely.

The day after this photo was taken, I was hopeful that I would get to spend another day out on the lake like this. I woke early and as I opened the curtains to peek out at the lake, I could see right away that it was not going to happen. The wind was up, the lake was choppy and at best, we were going to get some warmth from the sun out of the wind. Had I procrastinated getting out on the lake the day before, I would have missed the opportunity.

I'm keeping this photo close as a reminder not only to seek out ways to serve and be active and participate, but to seek ways and opportunities to recharge and be still and remain calm. Somewhere in the balance of those two things is what's going to keep me afloat.


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