Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Series: What Did I Learn?: River Lessons Pt. 1

What Did You Learn?  Straight out of Oprah's Life Class with Iyanla Vanzant, I'm learning to ask that question in every occurrence, good and seemingly bad.  I emphasize seemingly, because when an occurrence is less than pleasurable or bad, I now know it is happening because I've called [it] into my life to learn something.  When I get it--what I was supposed to learn--I don't have to repeat it.  When I don't get it--well you know the rest.
What I hope to do with this new series, is to share lessons, and to provide a platform for breakthroughs so that we get it.  With this series I hope to shed the cloak of a victim mentality for even the most minute of circumstances.  I plan to emerge as a successful, powerful Victor in all areas of my life.  I hope you join me in this quest.

So in the first part of my series: What Did I learn?, I've invited guest blogger Vonda Morton, a very good friend of mine to share what she learned about life and herself during a recent White-Water rafting trip.  
Vonda Morton, River Lessons Pt. 1

 I am restless by nature, always feeling the need to do something-- whether it’s organizing, cleaning, or reading.  I was also looking for something new and exciting to do with my friends and all of our children.  By chance, I received a brochure in the mail for Pocono whitewater rafting.  My latent adventurous spirit picked up.  “Let’s all go whitewater rafting!”  I put in an email to my friends.  “It will be fun and a great adventure for the kids!”  I set the date and booked it.  So off we went…five women and eight children ranging from ages eight to 15, clueless as ever.

From the time we entered the required ten minute orientation, we knew we were in trouble.  By the time we took the raft to the water and hit the first turn, we also knew that the ten minute lesson should have been and very well could have lasted for hours.  

We really struggled.  No matter how hard we tried we couldn't maneuver the rafts to steer straight.  As other rafts soared passed us, I thought what in the world did I get us into?  I also thought this isn't fun.  Before self-pity had time to settle in, I realized that we better get this thing going.  I mean we were in the middle of a raging river and while I didn't believe our lives were in jeopardy, I knew I didn't want to float hopelessly on this river for the next five hours.

So I girded my loins, prayed and worked hard to help get us through this adventure.  Along the way these are some lessons I learned on my whitewater rafting adventure: 

Sometimes in life, you will have to summon all your strength and dig deep. While in the middle of the river, our out of shape bodies wanted to quit.  But there was no place to rest and nowhere to go but straight ahead.  Quitting was not an option, we had to push through and finish the course.

Sometimes in life, rest will be bestowed upon you. There were spots in the river that required little or no effort to move.  We were able to rest for a while and regain some of our strength.  It’s what got us through to the end.

 Sometimes in life, you will be last and alone and someone will come out of nowhere and rescue you.  My friend and I are city girls and had a difficult time navigating the raft.  We were turning in circles, looked up and were the last raft left.  It seemed as if we were alone in a strange world.  Suddenly we looked up and one of the guides appeared out of nowhere.  He hooked his raft to ours, jumped in and got us back on track.

Sometimes in life, you must be patient with yourself; it may take a little longer to “get it”.  I’ve always been somewhat of a quick study.  I’m also impatient.  I was frustrated that it took us so long to master that raft.  It’s a raft for crying out loud, not a space ship!  No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t figure it out as fast as others.  But if were to complete our journey, we had to be patient with ourselves, follow instructions, and keep trying.

Sometimes in life, your goal will be right in front of you, and you may still have difficulty reaching it.  The end of the trip was in sight, the guide was waving us in.  We saw others stop and pull their rafts onto shore.  But we started struggling again, and went right past the guide, past the end, the river kept pulling us along.  But we worked hard and managed to turn the raft onto shore.  We finished!

At the conclusion of our journey, my friends all agreed that our trip was awesome and special.  Not only did we do something adventurous, but our children experienced it also.  Everyone talked about doing it again next year.  Would I? After turning in circles, getting nauseous, tired, sore, wet and miserable?  Absolutely!

What did I learn?  I learned that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.  For sure I know that I am dependable because people depend on me and I always come through for them but more importantly I learned that I can depend on myself.

Vonda Morton, M.A. obtained her Master's Degree from Kean University.  She is a NJ Certified School Psychologist and resides in the state with her husband and two boys.



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