Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the power of curiosity: part 1

No woman is an island.
You've probably heard, read, or shared this before.  So it's not big news: we live in community...  In relation to one another. But what does this really mean?  And what do we actually bring into these complex interactions?  When standing on a paddleboard, (or kneeling, planking, balancing, falling, rising) one can easily feel the energy (in the form of waves or splashing) we create with our friends.  Does the why or how this energy is shared, mean anything?  Do our own intentions change these meanings?

You may agree, it's difficult to experience any sensation (visual, audible, etc.) without sending it through our logic filter.  It seems like this filter is layered with mostly unchanging presumptions, prejudices, understandings, and certainties.  "My brother splashed me because he likes to annoy me."  Sometimes these findings may be right...  But what about when they're not?  If we project our own intentions onto everything around us, what does this mean about our own reality?

Can we change our reality by changing our intentions?  Can we re-interpret the way we see and experience everything and everyone?  Can we turn a hurting-relationship into a life-giving trees of joy and abundance?  Dead-end jobs into stepping stones towards our dreams? Can we do any of this by simply focusing on our own intentions?

Want to give it a try?

Imagine: 35+ year-old surfer.  Tattoos everywhere.  Hard face.  Strong arms.

What thoughts come to mind?

Now watch this video:

The power of curiosity is rarely under-stood.

Friday, July 20, 2012


A look inside.  The inter view.  Lots of feelings have bubbled to the surface after this positive article was written.  Humbled, honored, exposed, accounted, spot-lighted are among the stronger sensations.  

Having just blogged on how authenticity in our actions, this piece really put some of the foundation to the test.  I'm reminded of a popular FUN song right now.  "Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh, What do I stand for?  What do I stand for?  Most nights, I don't know, anymore..." a deep questioning process we often leave on the back-burner... next to the tea kettle.  Both, we tell ourselves, ready and waiting for when a guest comes over...

Well the guest has arrived and they want to know.  What do you stand for?  What do you stand for?  How can we give a true vision of this?  Does our practice meet our beliefs?  How well do we know the foundation on which we are standing?  It's so much easier to be quiet, say something diplomatic and move on.  I believe that the Mississippi is an under-utilized and important recreational resource which needs to be protected by active citizens, stewards and governments.  Sounds like I'm typing a text book, or a pamphlet for the National Park Service.

I have learned some of the best ways of growing and sharing growth is through stories.  They allow us to re-claim the past.  Re-learn lessons lost the first-time around.  They do this and so much more if we let them.  If we let the past move like the future, that is.  Into a space of interpretation, outside of 'fact'.    

This-happened. Fact - thinking really boxes us into a corner.  How liberating to be asked: "what do you stand for?" again and again.  To ask ourselves.  Ask our friends.  Ask our lovers.  Even when we think we know the answer.  Especially at those times...  We mustn't be afraid to answer.  Dig it out.  Look for your foundation, and stand on it!  Don't fear the winds of social opinion.  They will blow.  It might tip you over.

This is one reason why story telling is so enchanting and powerful: the embarrassing failures, deep cuts and character discrepancies of yesterday are the proud lessons, healing scars, and foundations of right now.  The most true time we ever have.

Maybe I will find my true foundation in the stories of others?  We at the Paddle Taxi have decided to start sharing the stories paddlers in order to find out what exactly it is about the Mississippi River that makes it so special. Maybe we are looking for our own foundations? If so, is that so wrong?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Authentic Action?

How can we be more authentic with our life?  With our actions?  Does authenticity in our actions matter?  If so, how do we understand the deeper intent and motivation behind our actions?

I've been caught up with a term called orthopraxy, or right practice, which contrasts orthoproxy, or basically, right thinking.  Often times, the latter is emphasized.  Maybe because it can be defended, posted, claimed and blowhorned.  It's a marketer's dream, and let's face it, most of us American's are self-marketing professionals.  Where as our lives, our current, living, breathing testimony, is quietly leaving a wake where ever we paddle.  This wake. Our wake.  This is orthopraxy.  This is our legacy.  This is our life.  This is what other paddlers can feel, lapping against the sidewalls of their canoes.  Or maybe splashing over the sides.

What does it mean to tread lightly?  Lead by example?  Leave no trace?

Please practice.  A request.  It doesn't ask to understand.  It doesn't ask to debate.  Please practice. 


The question is no longer: what do you believe in, but rather, how do you believe?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Kirtan Path

This morning's donation vinyasa class was blessed with the vocals of Pascale, from Kirtan Path.

What is Kirtan?

"Kirtan is the sacred tradition of call-and-response chanting, brought to us from India. Kirtan is one of the principal activities of Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion). The chants come from the Hindu tradition, but people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds participate in kirtan - it is in essence a meditation, repeating the names of God, turning inward towards ourselves. We experience the energy and vibrations of communal singing, connecting to the Divine and each other, opening our hearts and quieting our minds."

Practicing yoga under willow trees, spreading our wings along with the sparrows, fingertips stretching to the sun, otters frolicking on the shore, kirtan drifting through our ears, the waters below our feet... It was part sanctuary, part studio, part heaven. Yet, I still questioned if it was a failure. I'm not sure if it's sustainable.... We almost didn't make enough money to cover the costs... Does everything we do come down to profit? This experience was magical. No question. It was probably the most unique experience I've ever had in Minnesota, or abroad. It's hard to put a price tag on that. Even if only 4 other souls were there to experience it. Even if we lost money. Even if Pascale is used to playing for groups of 100+. Even if we never do it again. A wise soul once wrote: "and no moment, no day is too ordinary for a beautiful note."

I think this idea is born from the conviction that an audience of one deserves kindness and the belief that one ripple, one breath, can help another boat to it's destination. Just this morning, I was reminded: We don’t think ourselves into a new way of living; we live ourselves into a new way of thinking. (orthopraxy)

Listen for yourself and then link up with the Kirtan Path's facebook page here, and check this calendar for the next Kirtan gathering in Minneapolis!:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Repeat customers

Today we had 2 sets of repeat customers back out, exploring the Mississippi on paddle boards.  It was exciting to recognize faces and share a new section of the river. 

We are thinking of creating a special club for all those who complete all 3 tours... 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer in full swing

Today, we guided 12 adventurous souls down the river, ending the paddleboard tour on raspberry island in St. Paul!  The warm weather tempted almost every body in the water...