Monday, April 19, 2010

Stress Transformed

Sunday, April 18, 2010:

The plan:  Take two canoes on a half-day trip down the Brule River to its mouth at Lake Superior. We four adventurers planned to float lightly down the river as we took note of the wildlife and scenery and simply enjoyed nature on this beautiful, sunny, 50 degree spring day.

The reality was a bit different. We anticipated in advance that the river level would run low since rainfall has been in short supply this spring. We just didn't realize how low.... Minutes after Frances and I put in we understood that our day was destined to be rocky in every sense of the word. Soon we found ourselves trapped against rocks, spun sideways, and swamped with water.

Our little dog, Namaste, was dumped from the canoe and, courtesy of his life jacket, paddled safely to shore. Frances and I struggled to hang on to our canoe and equipment as our companions in the second canoe rescued the remainder of our floating gear while we headed for shore. There we toweled off, changed into dry clothes and set off again. New adventures lay around the next curve ... and the next ... and the next ...

As soon as we breathed a sigh of relief after making it safely through another mini-rapids we readied ourselves for the next roiling water. As our journey continued, though, we did become more adept at going with the flow. Nonetheless, our anticipated three to four hour trip took more than seven hours and, by journey's end, my blood testing machine was ruined and Frances was in the beginning stages of hypothermia.

Once home, our joints and bodies ached and, after a day filled with unrelenting adrenaline rushes, our minds and bodies pulsed with exhausted. Still, I took time for an abbreviated t'ai chi chih practice before collapsing into bed. Practice felt like an unexpected gift as I let myself breathe deeply and relax each muscle. Finally, an end to the stress after a long, hard-working day. I dropped into bed--and sleep--like a heavy rock settling into the riverbed.

Monday, April 19, 2010:

Whew! Stress ... Day Two. Today's "crisis" was a closing deadline for a Contract for Deed that my family and I have talked about and negotiated for several months. I found incorrect language in the CD, waited for it to be edited and e-mailed to me, then quickly signed, notarized, and overnight expressed it to a brother in Minnesota.

It was down to the wire ... I arrived at the post office just as the truck driver was heading out the back door with his load of overnight packages for next day delivery. Afterwards I took the dog for a much-needed walk for both of us.

Following dinner, I took myself through my t'ai chi chih practice. As I looked outside at my second floor view I was entranced by the bright yellow gleams of daffodils blooming along the curve in the driveway. It felt as if the sun was growing up out of the leaves and grass in miniature displays of bright yellow.

Once again, similar to last night's experience, I felt transformed by my t'ai chi chih practice. Though the heartbeat had slowed hours before I could feel muscles in my arms, chest, back, and heart relax ... to say nothing of the mind muscles that slowly released their grip and allowed my mind-body-spirit to slide into ultimate r-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n. Whew. T'ai chi chih practice to the rescue....

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