Are you overthinking, overworking and feeling exhausted trying to get to where you want to go?
One of my whitewater kayak clients was paddling super hard while performing her ferries (getting from one side of the river to the other).
Interestingly, the harder she paddled, the more she had to fight the water, leaving her feeling tired and frustrated.
I asked her to try her next ferry with her eyes closed. She looked at me like I was crazy. Closing your eyes while whitewater kayaking seems like a bad idea!
She reluctantly gave it a go, and after a few times she was able to perform the ferry using 2 strokes instead of 10. Same current, same eddies, the only difference was that she did it with her eyes closed.
When she closed her eyes she stopped overthinking and instead, started to feel how the water was affecting her boat.
I call that being in relationship with the river and with the reality of the present moment. When you’re in relationship with what IS you don’t have to work so hard because you’re experiencing things as they are, not what you think them to be.
How do you stop yourself from overthinking and instead cultivate a relationship with the present moment and with the water?
Try these strategies:
Look at the situation with fresh eyes or no eyes
In the example above, I described how closing her eyes while performing a ferry helped my client feel what she needed to do to maintain her ferry angle. She took perceived fear out of the equation.
Ask yourself what you may be falsely perceiving or not have a full understanding of in your current situation. Is there another perspective that you haven’t considered? Are you taking cues from your past and bringing an old viewpoint into your current situation?
You’ve probably had the experience of walking along a trail, seeing something twisty or windy on the ground, and jumped back thinking it was a snake. When you look again, you realize it was just a stick.
Can you look again at your situation with fresh eyes and perhaps see things in a different way?
What are the qualities of this present moment?
The next time you’re overthinking and stressed about a situation, take a moment to pause and tune into the qualities of the present moment. I’m talking about the actual qualities of the moment, not the qualities in your head. There’s a big difference.
You are not your thoughts so why not pause your overthinking and experience the moment as it is.
I often guide my clients through the exercise of noticing the qualities of the present moment. Is it cool or warm, peaceful or noisy, dense or flowing? How is the space around you? How does it feel?
Doing this gets you out of your head and into reality. When you find yourself in relationship with the reality of the present moment you can tune into powerful solution-oriented action.
If you put these strategies into practice you may find yourself reaching your goals with a lot less effort. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel challenged, or won’t have to work at it. It means that you can let go of the unnecessary effort of fighting against yourself and the current on your way to your goal.
Do you want to discover more ways of applying the wisdom of the river to the wisdom of life? Join me on the water in the group kayaking program that fits your passions and goals:
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