Be like a cat, be like a ninja, be like a child ~ Annabel Anderson
There are so many amazing things I learned with this woman yesterday. Footwork drills, how to break them down to their component parts, prep on land, build them back up to a greater whole. We paddled down the sound on one leg to prepare for pivot turns. We did stroke and nose lift drills back down the sound. We played a Simon says game that began with Annabel hopping on to the back of my board to challenge balance and coordination which unfolded into an all out fun fest with a bunch of grown a$$ adults chasing each other around in circles like bumper cars. And yes I ended up in the water! For a teacher who sounds like a parrot “straighten your upper arm” while chasing her own students down the water, it’s pretty funnythat was the reason behind my fall! All in good fun, and man did I learn a lot.
Annabel is a Stand Up World Series Champion, Battle of the Paddle Champion, New Zealand Champion and fastest woman on the water in the world. There was a time I would have been intimidated by those credentials and never gone near a class like that. I would have been afraid to embarrass myself, afraid to fall, afraid of what others might think. Fear quite literally ruled my life, and blocked me from experiencing the greatness this world has to offer.
But times have changed. I am a new woman. I am a mother, a wife, a yogi, a teacher, a student. I pursue a life of health and balance for mind, body and spirit and help others in their quest to do the same. I have given up my need to be perfect, to be absolutely prepared, and thrown myself fully into the dance of life, seizing opportunities as they present themselves. As long as they make my heart sing. This is the flow life. Unapologetically pursuing our dreams, no matter how “unrealistic” they may seem.
And so here I am in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina at the Carolina Cup, one of the largest gatherings of Standup Paddle enthusiasts and athletes in the world. They are estimating over 1200 participants this year. My three month old baby Sophia and husband Robert are with me! And we’re having a blast. Together we get to meet new people… Annika and Rick regaled us with their tales of winter paddling in Michigan and Cape Cod (wet suits are just the beginning of the gear they don). Stephanie and PJ, our hosts for the weekend are snow birds from our home state, New Jersey. Small world! Together, we get to explore a new town, its culture and restaurants, nooks and crannies. Together we get to create an experience of depth and connection, an adventure of the spirit. And yes, I get to play too, taking clinics, demoing boards, preparing for the race. And this play helps me prep for my season back home, ushering paddlers new and seasoned onto the waters, into their soul adventures.
Call me unconventional, call me foolhardy, but at the end of the day, I want no regrets. I want to look back on m life and say I left no stone unturned, no dream unpursued. I want my daughter to look up to her mama and see a woman living out loud. Willing to say yes I can! I can love and care for and be PRESENT for my family. I can ‘work’ doing something I love, helping people to achieve balance and joy while pursuing their dreams and goals. I can do it all while cultivating balance myself. And don’t get me wrong balance doesn’t mean I always get to give equal attention to everything. Balance often looks like leaning into one area – family, work, skills – more than another. But that’s ok. There is always a bounce back, a time for everything. Pursue, perfect, repeat. Allow your perspective to shift. Embrace the challenges that come and see that this IS the space you are meant to pursue and perfect at this moment. There are no coincidences. This is not a dress rehearsal. You have one life to live. Live it strong, Live it loud. Live the flow life.