I was kickin it old school with my friend Mary on this particular Friday afternoon and I really wasn’t prepared for what was about to take place. I had been meditating regularly for a year now after discovering a style that fit me perfectly, and this practice was the catalyst to my adventure. What I have found with the practice of meditation is that the really cool things happen after you meditate. Being relaxed and tension free open you up to a clearer picture of life.
I left my house about 2 pm on this afternoon. I realized that I left the house with no driver’s license and no money and it was too much of a drive to turn around and grab my purse. My intention was to pick up a 6 pack to share with my friend before heading to meet her. I stopped at the bank, went inside and told the teller I needed some money. No problem. They knew me well and handed over $30 out of my checking account. The beer was purchased along with a pound of my favorite coffee for the following Saturday morning.
I traveled to the little town of Darby, which was about an hour trip from my home. Mary and her husband Shane are living on a ranch where Shane has been working for the last couple of years. Thousands of acres of the most incredibly beautiful surroundings you could ever hope for. They live in a 400 square foot cabin, overlooking the Bitterroot River. Bison, elk and cattle are their neighbors. For me, the most perfect place to write, meditate and enjoy the beauty of nature.
We decided that today was the day we would float down the river on inner tubes that Mary had purchased from Costco.
She was excited that she found a great deal at 2 for $20.
They had a net bottom, a cubby for your beer and a lovely headrest. We entered the river after a short drive from the cabin. On this particular afternoon it wasn’t too hot and a pretty strong breeze was blowing, causing Mary to have a bit of concern about how it would affect our float trip. We got a later start than originally planned and the sky was filling up with big puffy clouds and the wind was picking up in intensity. I wasn’t concerned.
I had never floated a river in an inner tube before.
My husband and I had a Mad River canoe, a raft and a fishing boat. There was no reason for me to hang my rear end in a cold river with no way to steer my craft! We stepped into the chilly water and off we went. Quickly I discovered that this was possibly the best way to kill a Friday afternoon. My little dog Birdie, a cold beer and a gorgeous afternoon was all it took for me to settle into a state of meditation. I laid my head back and let go.
Floating effortlessly, spinning and going down river backwards most of the time was okay with me. I was absorbed in the beauty of the sky, the leaves of the trees blowing in the wind and the ospreys dancing in the blue sky above me. Spontaneous laughter kept bubbling up in me as I enjoyed what became a moving meditation.
By now Mary and I were not even close to one another and I was fully engrossed in the feeling tone of being alive and in the present moment. Then, without warning I developed a funny feeling in my gut and the next thing I knew my Costco special and I were heading directly into a huge ponderosa pine that was laying halfway across the river! I had to think fast if I had a chance in hell in avoiding this fast approaching obstacle. It was too late! Birdie and I were going in. I grabbed her, reached up and hung onto a branch. The water was flowing strongly and I to my surprise I realized the best course of action was to simply let go. (I am one of those unfortunate people that tend to freeze or laugh hysterically in times of fear.) We shot right through the obstacle with branches scratching my face, hands and arms.
We were safe!
Our landing spot was about 10 more minutes downriver and as my scruffy little terrier and I climbed up the rocky bank I realized I had just had a near death experience. Every year a few souls drown on this seemingly innocent river and that could have been us. I even heard in my mind, post-mortem, my friends and family saying things like “she was an excellent swimmer” and “why wasn’t she wearing a PFD?”
After this harrowing experience my little pup and I drove into the next town and stopped at McDonald’s for a few burgers.
If you know me at all this sentence alone will probably surprise you.
Being a yogi and a healthy eater, this is an establishment I hadn’t been to in over 20 years, but I only had a few dollars and had left my shorts in Mary’s car. When we drove into the lane to order our food I felt like I had just landed on Earth and everything was brand new. I was flying high and was mesmerized by the menu. Quarter Pounder? Big Mac? What was I going to order? I wanted all of them! The gal that handed me my bag of aromatic food warned me. “Be careful with those french fries. They are HOT!” I wanted to kiss her and tell her that she was an amazing person.
This high I was experiencing lasted about 3 hours. I tried in vain to explain to my son when I got home that I was having a spiritual experience. I couldn’t find the words so I went out into my garden and twirled around, looking up at the sky and laughing. There were lots and lots of sensations that indicated that I was quite possibly standing in the middle of the magical kingdom. French fries, Big Macs and my little dog Birdie were there with me in the kingdom. I will always fondly remember this adventure as a time when I opened myself up to all possibilities that life has to offer me. I felt like a kid again in that inner tube.
If you haven’t found a meditation style that fits like that perfect pair of shoes, give me a call for I am becoming a meditation guide. I’m in love with the style that I am studying and practicing. It is for you and me, householders living in the world.
Embracing life as it comes and turning all of your war dances into love dances.