Tag Archives: water

Activating the Activist

The last few courses I’ve done have included the four different styles of learners. While reading through the descriptions, I learned that I am an Activist. I don’t think any of us fits perfectly into just one type of learning style. I am also a bit of a Reflector, even a Pragmatist, and less so of a Theorist. But I am mostly an Activist. 

Activists are all about experiencing life and immersing themselves fully in activities. They enjoy trying new things and they move enthusiastically from one project to the next. I embrace this aspect of my personality. And I regularly encourage the students of my Positive Living classes to really live and enjoy life too.

So this morning, as I drive home to do some class preparation, I spot a sign for Donadea Forest and decide, on a whim, to go there. It is a clear, crisp October day and I, as the Activist, seize this opportunity.

However, there is a traffic diversion along the way and I become quite lost. Suddenly, I see a sign for Ballinafagh Lake. I’ve never been there before. The adventurer inside me whoops with excitement.

I pull into a small car park in the middle of nowhere. I get out of the car and start walking through the dew-drenched grass. My feet get wet but this doesn’t stop me from exploring this new landscape.

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It looks like Hallowe’en, smells like Christmas, and reminds me of primary school nature tables. The lake is still and oh so tranquil. I place my ear against the bark of a tree and am amazed at the sounds of its inner stirrings.

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The sight of red berries delights me. I tread upon a boggy carpet of autumn leaves. Deceased but still so beautiful. The constant cycle of nature is both thought-provoking and comforting.

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This walk has nourished the Activist within me. I return to the car feeling energised and inspired.

What type of learner are you? (Click here to find out.) And what can you do today to honour that part of you?

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Images: Author’s Own

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I Sea

Wrapped in a brightly coloured towel, I eye the Atlantic apprehensively. The wind whips around me, its haunting voice taunting me about my probable madness at wanting to swim in this weather. My skin is raised in the goose bumps that ingeniously serve to trap air between my body hairs in order to keep me insulated and warm. But I don’t feel warm. I’m bloody freezing.

Impulsively, I throw down the towel and hurry towards the ocean. I know from experience that inching my way in will only prolong the suffering so I submerge myself quickly and front crawl vigorously towards the horizon. It takes a while for the numbness to subside but, when it does, I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of my body bobbing in the ocean, my fingers threading through the soft water, the view of the rich, green fields, chiselled cliffs, the brilliant white of the spitting waves, and the knowing that, even if my phone rings, I won’t hear it from out here in the centre of a pollock hole. I tilt my head back in the golden path of sunlight that dapples over the surface of the water.

A child in goggles gazes at the world below. His kicking feet splash me slightly. An elderly man dives in and swims determinedly in my direction. As he passes, the small waves he has generated elbow me gently across the jaw. I keep going. I am swimming through the ripples created by other people, by the wind, by the ocean, and by myself. I am in the ocean and I am part of it. I remember that a significant amount of the human body is made up of water. I am in it and it is in me. And we are all part of the same.

Afterwards, I am so grateful that I went for that swim despite my hesitation. It reminds me of the time I almost hadn’t gone to the cinema with a couple of people I barely knew. Since then, I have had lots of fun with one of those people, who has become one of my best friends. I look back at that moment of doubt whenever I consider not doing something just because I’d rather the safe option.

Later, as I settle down to read Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram, I come across these words of Johnny Cigar, an Indian slum dweller:

“Our life, it probably began inside of the ocean about four thousand million years before now… Then, a few hundred million years ago… just a little while, really, in the big history of the Earth – the living things began to be living on the land, as well. But in a way you can say that after leaving the sea… we took the ocean with us. When a woman makes a baby, she gives it water, inside her body, to grow in. That water inside her body is almost exactly the same as the water of the sea. It is salty, by just the same amount. She makes a little ocean, in her body. And not only this: Our blood and our sweating, they are both salty, almost exactly like the water from the sea is salty. We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and in our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears.”

And so, this is life. What we fear and dread outside of ourselves is just as much inside of us. And while that scary thing that we must plunge into, without thinking too much about the possible consequences and unpleasantness, can be difficult and painful, it can also be beautiful, rewarding and so worthwhile. And that too comes from within.

Image: Author’s own

Going with the Flow…

This week has been a trying one. I got sick, I didn’t get a call I’d been waiting for, the buzzer for the parking gate stopped working just as a guest was pulling in, and I ran into an ex who was clearly trying to avoid me and who I today discovered has removed me as a friend on Facebook. I wanted to cry with frustration and anger and disappointment. My mind wanted to start telling me: Life is shit. You’ve been disappointed before. Of course that’ll never happen. You’ll never find romantic love or wealth or success.

However, I understand the power of our thoughts and of the spoken word. I pulled out Florence Scovel-Shinn’s book The Game of Life & How to Play It: Winning Rules for Success & Happiness. Amazingly (or not, depending on how you feel about synchronicity), the chapter I opened the book on was called The Power of the Word! She wrote:

“I know, in my own case, it took a long while to get out of a belief that a certain thing brought disappointment. If the thing happened, disappointment invariably followed. The only way I could make a change in the subconscious, was by asserting, ‘There are not two powers, there is only one power, God, therefore, there are no disappointments, and this thing means a happy surprise.’ I noticed a change at once, and happy surprises commenced coming my way.”

I settled back in the armchair and saw an image of a river. This river is on a journey. It has a source and a destination. You don’t tell the river: “You haven’t reached your destination yet so you’re no good.” No, you just look at it and it is a river. It simply is. It plays with the fish and the children and the loved-up couples. It sparkles in the sunshine. And when it rains, it becomes one with the rainfall. When it comes up against a jagged rock, it laps around it. Its power is in its non-resistance.

But what if I tried to control that river? If I cupped part of it in my hands and wanted that piece just for me? I would be interrupting the natural flow of the river and, soon, it would all have trickled through my fingers and the river would keep on running regardless. Wouldn’t it be more fun to jump into the river and splash about and allow it to carry me along for a while? I could hop in and out whenever I chose. And, all the while, the river would be there, ever-moving, ever-changing, ever-flowing.

So, instead of telling myself that I should feel disappointed, rejected, less than, or angry because this happened and that didn’t and he didn’t behave the way I wanted him to, I could simply accept that everything was unfolding exactly as it should be. That so-and-so wasn’t for me. That better things are coming my way. That I already have love and wealth and success. That I am all of those things. How am I to know what’s for my highest good anyway? I could even be limiting myself! I just have to trust and be patient and enjoy the currents and ripples of life. It feels good to let go.