Streeeeeeetch Yourself into the Grand Canyon!
Spending 14 days along 227 miles of the Colorado River challenged life as we know it. Technology, shoe care, microwaves, coffee makers, comfortable beds, and toilets: all left behind. Thanks to Arizona Raft Adventures and their amazing accommodations, we were not roughing it in the way that John Wesley Powell and his crew did in the late 1800’s. We did, however, still encounter many life-changing challenges that will have a lasting impact on us. Here is what some of the participants said when asked “What lessons did you bring back with you?”
One of the Stretchers had a watch that she continued to wear throughout the trip, though we had been encouraged to let go of time. One by one we would ask her what time it was, and she would flash her watch at us and say, “NOW.” Living in the NOW is what I bring back with me!
In the Grand Canyon we had to “make” our own drinking water; think about how different our lives would be if this were the case in our everyday lives. We didn’t flush a toilet for two weeks; could the concept of reducing flushes be incorporated into everyday life? Is water a precious commodity, or do we turn on our faucets and showers, flush our toilets, water our lawns, and go to a car wash without a second thought?
This was relayed through one of Cassidy’s (our lead guide) last readings. Navigating through the realities of my life, I try to find something to be grateful for every day. Now I will try to incorporate sharing a smile with someone every day.
Learn to let go of control.
Sometimes it is just what it is, and you have to figure out a way for your mind and body to move on.
One shirt, one pair of shorts, one hat, and one sarong is all you need. More stuff does not mean you’ll have a better experience.
Creativity appears easily when the only forms of entertainment available are your mind and the world around you.
Lizard fishing, ant catching, and sweaty Oreo face races were pure joy and laughter!
Nature is powerful.
It has a beautifully unique way of revealing all sorts of emotions, revisiting memories, and building deep relationships. It is very healing.
The only way out is through.
There was no way out of the canyon except to continue onward, a good metaphor and reminder for when things get hard.
My mind and body are stronger than I realized.
Paddling 7 out of 14 days and 160+ times in a row with my partner—followed by 100 times as a team of 6—was tough. But I did it…and with a smile!
I learned to bare my “soul/sole,” show more skin in public (contrary to my upbringing), and clean-up while sharing the camp with my compatriots.
This trip reinforced my belief that people are very kind and willing to help, talk, listen, and laugh. Someone was always there when I needed a hand up, down, through, or out of any situation. I am so very grateful for every one of them and would do the same for them. I loved the mix of ages and that everyone had their own perspective and much to offer. Also, Gorilla glue and duct tape are essentials!
Bats are not so scary!
The bats that flew above our heads at night kept us safe from the bugs that would otherwise chomp on us through the night. It allowed us to sleep without tents, just on a pad and under the stars. The night rain was a welcome relief from the heat and was graciously accepted!
My time in the Grand Canyon was the longest stretch of time I have gone without the use of social media. I was reminded that I am more than the input I allow into my life. Since my return, I have removed them from my phone. Instead of looking at my phone in the morning when I drink a cup of coffee, I look out my window or sit on my front stoop with the neighborhood. Not quite the Grand Canyon viewing, but lovely all the same.
Not about me.
The canyon reminded me that it’s not about me (this life we live).