So a bunch of us decide to join up at the Silver Springs and ride the current down the Silver river in Silver Springs, FL. After a yummy breakfast, we bring multiple cars, drop the kayaks and paddle boards off at the start, and 3 of the cars get left at the finish point. We are going to paddle and ride the river down for 5.5 miles, then put the boats into the waiting cars, then travel back to the starting point. The Silver river meanders down from Silver Springs, where the water bubbles and flows up out of the earth at 72 degrees. The river tends to be super clear because the springs feed the river and that water is pure and clear from deep down in the aquifers.
Two alligators were sunning on this fallen tree at the river side, and many other natural wildlife would greet us along the way. I was really looking forward to this adventure.
Oh No! There is no rudder on the paddle board!
My paddle board is all inflated, I’ve got my oar, and then I realize I’m missing my rudder. Oh no … I call to the guys dropping the cars off, they search my paddle board bag, and no luck, there is no rudder. The plastic rudder was NOT going to make this adventure.
The inflatable board with the rudder plugged in … what it is supposed to be like
Well, what does that mean exactly? With a flat bottomed flotation device such as a paddle board, each time the oar is used on one side the paddle board moves slightly to the other side for the frontal direction. For instance, when I take a pull with the oar on the right side of the board, the board will move forward and then slightly to the left. So it requires changing sides occasionally to stay on the straight path.
But what happens if there is no rudder? The rudder keeps the board traveling in a fairly straight line. With the rudder, each stroke may move the board ahead and then to the other side at about a 10° degree angle. But without the rudder, every hard stroke was moving the board about a 30° degree angle! Whoa, that means I’ll be zigzagging down the river, with a lot of extra work, and very easy to just go in circles! With 2 or 3 strokes, the board will completely spin around and be facing the other direction. It’s tough to make progress without a rudder.
Kayak paddle to the rescue
Luckily, there was a very experienced kayaker in the group, and he was very fast and skilled. He offered to let me have the kayak paddle, with paddles on both ends, and he took my single paddle oar. What a difference! I could then balance back and forth with each and every stroke, thereby keeping the board more straight with the constant changing of sides.
One small issue … the kayak paddles are much shorter, so had to either kneel or sit down for most of the journey. My toes ended up getting blisters from the constant rubbing on the board surface, yet that was a very workable implementation. OK, down the river and into the adventure.
What a workout
As you might have guessed, that was a crazy hard workout! First, I’m on an inflatable paddle board that is made more for doing yoga on it then for cruising long distances, and second, the front end of the board is moving back and forth with each oar stroke, as the rudderless “feature” was very inefficient.
While this site is focused on spiritual fitness, the same principles apply to physical fitness. Since I run, swim and lift weights regularly, I’m in very good physical shape. I have the endurance and strength to take on these crazy adventures. I know I was working way harder than anyone else out there, but I just accepted it as a good workout. We had fun cruising the river, and took a break to dive in and explore a sunken boat in the depths of the water. I got a blurry video of the sunken boat and some strange looking sword fish who happened to be swimming along with me, but I think you can make it out ok.
Sunken boat on the adventure! Its a little blurry but fun anyway … dive down into the river and keep an eye out for the alligators on the side!
So by doing my resistance work and cardio work, I am in really good physical shape .. Lots of physical fitness. The challenge came along, and I was able to meet it. The same goes with our spiritual fitness …. we must clear out our fears, resentments and things that don’t serve us, and by creating that spaciousness, we then allow Spirit, Source, or the Creator to enter into our lives. That is spiritual fitness, just like the analogy to physical fitness. When tough times come, being spiritually fit will guide you through.
Who are your guides? Do you have a Rudder?
I love my angels! (along with Spirit and other guides). They are my main guides, my rudder through life. Now if angels don’t work for you, that’s OK, its just my “go to” Source. God, Spirit, Allah, the angels … that Source will guide you through life and help you to be more efficient and live with joy, happiness and peace within. Without that Source, we are just like the paddle board without a rudder.
With no guides or Source, everything in our lives tends to become a struggle. We are inefficient, burn up energy, and waste all kinds of mental thoughts on fear, anxiety and worry. I’ve found the real key is to get back to Spirit, let go of the fears, and then my Spiritual Fitness allows me to meet the challenges head on. I live with an inner joy and inner peace when I am in that state.
Into the Light: Trusting the guides
The analogy of the rudderless paddle board reminds me to keep connected to the “Rudder”. Sometimes when things are going well I head off on my own, but it doesn’t take long for issues and struggles to arise. I get into fear, and that anxiety, worry and wasted energy makes life very difficult. I’ve forgotten my rudder.
Both Gabby Bernstein and Wayne Dyer repeatedly urge us to do meditations and our daily spiritual practices. When our minds get calm we begin to operate from that state of joy with a peace within. Our minds, thoughts and intentions get clear. We flow through life. The difficult times pass right on by. We are guided by the “Rudder”.
That has been my experience as well. When I get spiritually fit, my mind slows down, I operate from a calm inner peace, and I feel connected to my guides. The “Rudder” is guiding me! I’m in the Light. I’ll be providing tools and practices so that you too can improve your Spiritual Fitness.
Are you connected with your “Rudder”???