Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Tubing down the Chattahoochee River

Tubing on the Chattahoochee

—–Last summer, I had the chance to participate in one my favorite summer activities—tubing down the Chattahoochee River. I would be meeting up with a group that had camped in the area and the tubing excursion was the last of the activities for the weekend. Like all back country adventures spotty cellphone service made it difficult to reach the group by phone so I would make the drive with the hope of meeting at the designated time. I left my house around 9 am to make the two-hour drive to the Chattahoochee River head waters. I arrived on time and found a parking spot right across from the outfitter. My group should have been there already, but they were nowhere in sight. As I waited, the line at the outfitter began to grow. It was now around noon and prime time to get in the water for the two hour ride down the river. I sent several text messages, but after no answer there was no way to know if they were on the way or if I had missed them. I decided it was best to get in line before it grew any longer. As I stood there, I kept looking for my group, but by the time I got my tube and boarded the bus, it was clear I’d have to go it alone.

—–The bus ride over to the launch site was filled with groups of friends and families casually laughing and joking as the bus maneuvered the busy streets. I was the only solo tuber and wondered if I should have waited a little while longer for my group. My previous tubing trip had been with a large group that decided to link their tubes and experience the length of the river together. It was lots of fun, but not without hang-ups, literally. Occasionally, someone would get snagged on rock or some other misfortune and as a result would have their link disconnected so the group could float on. We reached the site and I launched into the cool waters wondering what was in store. On the outset, there was an immediate traffic jam. All that could be seen for several feet ahead were neon green and pink tubes. The sun shined down brightly on my head and for relief I would dip my hand in the water and pat my face with the frigid waters. It wasn’t long before I settled in and the current began to swiftly take me down river. I laid back and let the sun warm my limbs and face. It had been a while since I had taken in this much sun. As I moved down the river, the trees overhead framed the sky and for moments on end my mind would float away and thoughts flowed in and out like the current of the river. When my attention came back into focus, my eyes would catch the view of fellow tubers enjoying the same experience. Groups tethered together would be run aground on the rocks which required someone getting out and ushering them around the obstacle. Unencumbered, I would float past these groups. After witnessing this scene over and over, it hit me that my solo experience on the river was vastly different from those around me. It was easier for me to see what was ahead and negotiate the obstacle with relative ease. For long stretches, I would drift down the river half asleep until my tube caught the edge of the river or tangled in some brush. I was unencumbered and worry free. My thoughts and priorities all my own.

—–My trip down the river paralleled my life in many ways. On many ventures planned with friends and partners circumstance forced me to go it alone. At first things were scary. I worried if I could handle it on my own. The first steps were filled with doubt, but as I made my way fear was replaced with empowerment. Uneasiness replaced with strength. My wings had spread. I had taken flight and my destination was in sight. I could trust my ideas. I could trust myself. Now, I approach life differently. I start out on my own and invite friends and partners once the foundation has been laid. If they join in I am excited. If not, then I go on my way. No expectation and no disappointment and my tube keeps floating down the river.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

animated-blue-sky

            On a rather mundane evening, I was watching TV and a commercial comes on.   Not paying attention to the ad (to this day I still don’t know what the ad was about), the song and the lyrics caught me by surprise.  It was as if someone reached into to my subconscious, collected all of my thoughts and summed it up in this one verse, “Excuse while I kiss the sky.”  This melodic anthem surged through my veins.  Each chord echoed in my bones and left me wanting more.  My spirit had been touched and the floodgates of my soul opened up for the first time in a long time.  There was something liberating about that verse.  Limitless possibilities abound if we can only see beyond the “Purple Haze.”  The sky is calling.  Its deep, blue hue and its billowy clouds are our true home.  Imagination knows no boundaries.  Dreams are made a reality.  Ambition takes flight. We rise above all that seeks to drag us down if only we look to the sky.  Perspective is gained when we rise above our atmosphere.  Clear and visibility unobstructed.  I want to take up permanent residence in the sky where the sun beats down on my face and the warm glow within stirs my soul.  I need the blue skies, the sun upon my face and no obstacles to an otherwise perfect view…..Excuse me while I kiss the sky!

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

animated-blue-sky

            On a rather mundane evening, I was watching TV and a commercial comes on.   Not paying attention to the ad (to this day I still don’t know what the ad was about), the song and the lyrics caught me by surprise.  It was as if someone reached into to my subconscious, collected all of my thoughts and summed it up in this one verse, “Excuse while I kiss the sky.”  This melodic anthem surged through my veins.  Each chord echoed in my bones and left me wanting more.  My spirit had been touched and the floodgates of my soul opened up for the first time in a long time.  There was something liberating about that verse.  Limitless possibilities abound if we can only see beyond the “Purple Haze.”  The sky is calling.  Its deep, blue hue and its billowy clouds are our true home.  Imagination knows no boundaries.  Dreams are made a reality.  Ambition takes flight. We rise above all that seeks to drag us down if only we look to the sky.  Perspective is gained when we rise above our atmosphere.  Clear and visibility unobstructed.  I want to take up permanent residence in the sky where the sun beats down on my face and the warm glow within stirs my soul.  I need the blue skies, the sun upon my face and no obstacles to an otherwise perfect view…..Excuse me while I kiss the sky!

Freedom From Judgment

Roan Highland Mountain, TN

Roan Highland Mountain, TN

We all do it.  Some do it quietly in unexpressed thoughts and others do it with a loud bang.  You know what I am talking about.  Making  judgments about others.  I regretfully have been a part of the chorus of making judgments on people and have expressed them when it would have been better for all parties involved that  I kept my mouth shut.  I recently told someone during a heated exchanges that words are like boomerangs.  They come back to haunt you.  Needless to say, I hit a raw nerve with that person because we all know eating humble pie leaves a bitter after taste you won’t soon forget!  One needs to be mindful of how our judgments impact others without our  knowing it.  It is important to understand the difference between critique and criticism namely the spirit in which it is done.  A critique is an accepted and established process of orderly, scholarly and public debate.  Criticism is the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.  One is constructive and provides a person with much needed information to improve what they are undertaking.  The other is hurtful and destructive and meant to do damage.

On more than one occasion, I’ve passed judgment without knowing all of the facts and have been quite embarrassed when the true facts came to light.  I have learned to make a concerted effort to get all the facts and hear all of the sides before I jump to a conclusion.  When I do this, I am able to empathize with people more.  I am able to see things from their perspective.  Not all circumstances are black and white, but clearly fall into a gray area.  When I reserve judgment my overused, analytical mind can rest from drawing erroneous conclusions.  It allows me to sit back and relax as the story unfolds.  It also helps my relationships with others in that I am more approachable and my presence is not synonymous with snap judgments and critical speech.

The Bible admonishes us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.  Good advice for all of us to put into practice.