Living in Awareness
by Karuna Poole, ARNP, MN
I enjoy looking at life as if it is a series of lessons. I think it is fun, on occasion, to identify the lessons as they are occurring. I had such an opportunity on September 17, 2006 when a group of twelve friends from Seattle, Tacoma, Vashon Island and Port Townsend joined together for an early morning adventure. Our goal was to take a three hour long boat journey to Rat Island, where we could watch the seal colony waking up.
We congregated at the local marina at 5:30 a.m. when it was still dark outside. Our leader was experienced in the use of the longboat and a few others had some rowing experience but most of us were beginners.
When you row a boat like this, the people rowing do not see where they are going. The leader is standing; watching and directing. The rowers are completely dependent on his directions.
Slowly, we were able to round the first turn from the place where the boat had been docked. We were soon being thrown from place to place by the waves and were having trouble getting out of the marina. Another boatman asked if we would like a tow. He towed us a short distance and then freed us. From there, we were able to finally start making progress.
We finally made it out of the marina and began to rowÖ and rowÖ. and row. The wind and waves were going against us. We were able to get in sync for short periods of time but it never lasted. Anytime any one of us lost focus, we would crash against each otherís oars. There was a big difference between what the waves looked like and what they felt like, meaning they looked so small and felt so huge.
At one point, someone pointed out the sunrise. The pink and orange rays of light silhouetted the Olympic Mountains. As people turned to look at the sunrise, our oars once again began to clank together.
The rowing was difficult work. If we became too tired to row, we had to pull up the heavy oar so it wasnít in the way of others. Whenever too many people put their oars up at the same time, the boat would drift away from the path.
The whole journey was supposed to take three hours and when we assessed the situation we realized we were only a third of the way to our destination. It was obvious we needed to consider going back to the marina. As we paused to make the decision and rest, our boat turned around on its own and started returning to shore!
After a short rest, we started heading back to shore. Now that we were going with the wind instead of against it, our progress was remarkable. We quickly made it back to the marina. But would we be able to get back into our stall? Would we hit against the dock and pilings again? No, the miracle continued. With just two people doing a little rowing, the boat practically returned itself to the place where it was to be moored.
Home again! What a gift the morning had been.
Adapted from an article first published in Immortal Bliss Volume 3(1):45, 2007; Republished in New Spirit Journal, with permission from Immortal Bliss, April 2010, pages 12 and 16.