Friday, June 26, 2009
The bend in the river
When I was an Outward Bound instructor I became aware of a characteristic of mine that I had not really thought about. My zone of comfort has always been "crisis control" that place of being very able to deal with the things that pop up with no warning. I have historically not been very good at crisis control's opposite: long-range planning.
On the river portion of our courses we often talked about the differences in these two ways of being. And the person sitting in the bow was generally referred to as the one who had to do crisis control. On a fast moving river, especially around here, rocks pop up with little warning. The bow paddler is the one who has to react, make sure the boat misses the obstacle.
But if the boat is to make it downriver, the person in the stern needs to keep an eye out for the distant course and has to steer and plan and decide what to do - way ahead of time.
I've always been much better at the crisis control. In a boat I LOVE being in front. I LOVE the feeling of keeping an eye out, watching for surprises, doing what it takes to make sure my boat gets safely past. I'm really good at it.
I am not nearly as comfortable being in the stern. I am so focused on the immediate situation that it has been an almost insurmountable challenge to look way downstream. Just as I start to, a rock pops up and my instant response reflex kicks in.
I'm trying to train myself to be more long-range and less crisis control. I'm trying to imagine a future picture, trying to pick my head up and look way downstream. It's harder than it seems. Rocks pop up. I respond. And lose my long picture.
But knowing I want to transform is a good start, I must remind myself. Because even in this picture, the bend is there, just below the sky and the water is moving and we are moving too and my head is up more and I am beginning to see that I can change and can create a different picture.
After all, a year ago the bike ride was a VERY faint, blurry image on a barely visible horizon. And NOW look! A lot can happen in a year. It'll be interesting to see how it all develops.