When The River Divides

Rico, Roxy, and I have rediscovered our rhythm, merrily rowing along the river of life. There have been no new medical crises since Roxy’s cancer diagnosis. Roxy still shows no ill effects from her ongoing chemotherapy.

Now, however, we’re coming up on an island in the middle of our course and we can’t take the same channel around it.

See, before Roxy’s diagnosis, I registered for a qigong camp. Simply defined, qigong means the study or training of life energy (qi) in which one invests a lot of time and effort (gong). It’s a component of Chinese martial arts, but also a practice in its own right.

The voice in my head reminds me for five days I’ll be 230-plus miles away while my family takes turns doggie-sitting Rico and Roxy. I could argue with that voice how it’ll all be OK until the cows come home. Or there might be an easier way to enjoy my time away as I learned on a recent kayaking trip.

Who Chose This Channel?

Over the weekend, I kayaked the Shenandoah River with friends. The water wasn’t high but had a nice current. It offered a smooth ride for little effort.

When we came upon an island in the river, the current carried us to one channel. With the shorelines closer together, the tree branches seemed to link together overhead like fingers, enveloping us in a serene, shaded tunnel of chirping birds and stunning, large trees. Quite lovely!

View of river from kayak

A view from the channel around the island

At least, until we rounded the bend near the end of the island. The roots of a fallen tree pulled up a huge chunk of earth blocking the majority of the channel. And no matter how hard I paddled toward the small opening, that current was carrying me straight to that wall of roots.

Riding The Current

I really didn’t want to bump that tree and risk capsizing or, worse, bruising my ego. My two options were to keep flailing my paddle in a futile attempt to fight the current. Or I could trust my efforts and the flow of the current to deliver me to safety.

They did.

As I thought about my upcoming qigong camp, I realized I had the same choices. I could furiously fight with the current of thoughts documenting everything that could go wrong while I’m away or prepare as best as I can and trust life to guide us through this pass.

Choosing To Go With The Flow

There’s an old saying about winning someone’s trust. Thing is, it isn’t that easy. Trust is a choice. A verb. It’s not something you can reason with or win an argument against and be done. There is always a reason not to trust; choosing not to almost always seems like the safer choice.

But choosing to trust life’s course can lead to great reward. It’s the one that saw me around that tree, dry and ego intact. It’s also the one giving me the chance to learn from one of the best martial arts instructors in the country.

Of course I’ll prepare. I’ll pre-package and label the dogs’ meals with medications already dispensed. Everyone will be given contact info for their regular vet as well as Roxy’s oncologist. And I’ll keep my cell phone handy at all times.

But then I’ll have to trust my prep work and life’s flow to steer us safely through this pass. It won’t be easy, but it will be done. And I’ll even try to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Turtle sunning herself in the middle of the river

A view from the channel around the island

 

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About Christie Green

A student of martial arts since 1995, a writer since 1999, and an animal-lover for all of time
This entry was posted in A Mindful Life with Dogs, Meditating with Dogs. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When The River Divides

  1. Diane says:

    Christie,
    I thoroughly enjoy your blog as you already know, and the flow (no pun intended) of your writing style represents your calm and meditative personality. I know this decision to take the class and leave the care of Rico & Roxy to others was a stressful process, but your rationality is so clear in this post. You exude a peaceful nature that touches so many of us, and I know that what you learn in your qigong studies will ultimately be shared in the most positive ways with R & R, your readers & friends, and all other creatures you encounter in life. I am so thankful for your friendship and teachings and look forward to more inspiring posts! Enjoy the class!
    Namaste,
    Diane

    • I feel so grateful and humbled, Diane, by your very kind words, so thank you! I hope I don’t give the impression it’s easy, because it isn’t. Being present and staying focused on “what is” and not “what could be” is hard. At least, it is for me! I just hope to get across that trying is worth it not only to yourself, but to those around you. Thank you, again!

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