Laura here, I thought I’d entertain with my adventures for the week so far..
So, last week’s canoe experience of the pesky drop off was not a one time thing, thankfully no panic scream was heard and the sizeable drop off was not so sizeable as the water level was slightly lower but do not let this fool you, the weir still meant mean business but did I fear it, no, I knew the line I needed to take. I had a strange sense of confidence (was I looking forward to the challenge? I think so.. Who am I and where is the usual ‘me’..)
All I had to do was keep the line. Focus ahead and paddle paddle PADDLE. I had this! Let’s gooooooo!
Fear is strange beast. Nobody ever really speaks freely of their fears. Whether this is a new age perception that showing fear represents signs of weakness but this is not the case. We all recognise fear; we hear it, we see it, we feel it. It creeps in from the sidelines, it cramps my style when perfecting new skills and sometimes it presents itself like ‘BAM! Here I am. I see danger. Get ready for a world of uncontrollable panic’ the danger that fear sees is often only perceived in your minds eye but that does not deflect the body’s responses, it can hinder the most logical of thinkers and can make the simplest of tasks appear massively challenging. Fear is hard to shake but to avoid is not the answer. However, having said all that… Fear found me!
False Evidence Appearing Real. Isn’t that what they say… But telling my brain that whilst I’m trapped in the air pocket of my upturned canoe, being whisked down rapids and bouncing off the rocks was no easy task and it felt bloody real to me!
Luckily, the body works in wonderful ways and adrenaline came along for the ride. After regaining a small amount of composure, air in to my lungs and accepting the disappointing factor that I am in fact in the water instead of on it. I forced myself out from under the canoe, only to be bashed between rock and canoe. Rightly or wrongly I kept hold of the canoe, however, what I failed to establish was that if holding the canoe hinders my safety.. Get rid of the sodding canoe! However, in true Laura fashion I thought more of the boat than I did myself, that was until I took a big hit to my back and I finally thought, sod the boat! Swim! At this point, Katie, my instructor was yelling the same thing, as she tossed me the throw line (Jess you would have been proud, perfect throw.. And catch of course) I was safe!!
Amidst all the chaos, it turns out I still could not let go of the that flippin’ canoe, ever responsible as I am, I had the painter (the canoe’s tow /safety rope) in my trembling hand! The force of the river had subsided the further down I had been swept, so with shaky legs on dry land we were able to haul the canoe up the bank to empty it, find my paddle (which had luckily been caught downstream) and with nothing else for it I got back in my canoe and straight back on to the river to join the rest of the gang, who, unfortunately had missed the whole thing as they were tucked safely around the bend!
So, an action packed day down here in Devon! Am I glad I took the plunge (literally)? Of course. Did it scare the life out of me? Of course. Would I do it again? Of course. (Attempting the weir… Going in the water I will obviously do my best to avoid) For me, it’s about gaining the ability to conquer a small challenge (or in this case quite a hefty challenge) and in doing so gain a fractional amount of self-confidence and satisfaction. Doing one thing every day that scares you is not about the outcome, it’s about the process. I cannot avoid the fear but I can face it, fight it and succeed! I may have ended up in the river, not part of the plan, but my success was handling the situation well and hey, next time fingers crossed I’ll stay dry! 😊