Many of you know me to be an upbeat person.
The truth is, there have been many days during the last few months where I got completely bummed out.
Between the pandemic, massive unemployment, and recent protests across the country, I’ve had more than a few days where I just wanted to pull my covers back over my head and stay in bed.
Yet, despite having plenty of blue days, I still managed to get up, have my coffee, and keep going. When things started spinning out of control in the world around me, I decided to unplug, get outside, and breathe some fresh air.
It’s one thing to be admiring a river from the riverbanks, it’s an entirely different experience to be paddling on the river…
Then something beautiful happened: I started spending time with my kids.
Specifically, I started whitewater kayaking with my teenage sons, Alex, and Ian. One of the primary reasons I moved to Asheville some 15 years ago was to be closer to the great whitewater rivers of the Southeast. I had become an avid paddler during the 12 years I lived in Atlanta, and the sport brought pure joy to my soul. But after moving to Asheville and having my third child (Ian), I basically stopped paddling. My kayaks gathered dust in my backyard shed.
Beautiful things can grow out of ugly places
The spate of recent bad news pushed me to grab some sanity—outside.
I dusted off the boats, strapped them on the roof of my Subaru, and headed to a local whitewater park with my boys. (Yes, Asheville has a park for paddlers, called “The Ledges.”) It’s one thing to be admiring a river from the riverbanks, it’s an entirely different experience to be paddling on the river, with cold water splashing you in the face as you dodge boulders and pour-overs!
Nature is healing and fills the soul with joy.
The river demands your full attention! No thinking about COVID, no obsessing about the news cycle, no negativity. It forces you to be fully present in the here and now.
Nature is healing
It didn’t take long for my boys to love being on the river too. Nature is healing and fills the soul with joy. During times of high-anxiety, the best course of action might be to just walk outside, free yourself from the clutches of negative news, all the reasons to be afraid, and escape. All that down stuff will still be there tomorrow.
So today, for your own sanity and well-being, break free and find the upside.