• Eimear Stassin

Paddle Boarding my way to Presence

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

I wasn't as keen as the rest of the family. Just standing on a board and paddling? Sounded boooorrrrring to me!

Oozing judgement, I joined my family anyhow. Wanting to be part of the new venture after all.

Wet suits and life jackets distributed we made our way to the Atlantic's watery edges.

It was a learn-by-doing experience, as everyone else had already hopped on their board and were heading out to sea.

On I hopped. Wobbled and fell off. Quickly realising that I had to fully focus in order to maintain some level of balance (and dignity) in the process!

Just relax! called our instructor

Easy for him to say!

I s l o w l y got into the flow. Relaxing my feet, hip distance apart. Back straight and reaching out my paddle. A few strokes on one side. Then, slowly switching hands, a few strokes on the other side.

Relaxing. Breathing. Feeling the silky waters beneath my board. A moving, ever changing foundation. Softening my feet to go with the flow of the water. Smelling the salty summer French sea air. Hearing the distant sounds of people on the shore mixed with the noisy gulls overhead. Who seemed to be dive bombing each other on a rocky outcrop.

I remembered this quote I had heard sometime before;

You cannot step into the same river twice, for other waters are continually flowing on. Heraclitus

The ever changing nature of life.

I looked down to the watery depths below, as my paddle skimmed through it, creating mini ripples along the side of the board as I glided along slowly. Intrigued by the many shades of clear blue; the rocks; some sea creatures; seaweed; then blackness as we went out deeper. A whole changing universe under there, below the surface. Unseen. Beneath such depth. Fear and excitement flowing through me as the sea became vaster.

I looked up to take in the scene.

I realised there and then that this was it! This was all I needed to do in that moment.

To just be on the paddle board and allow myself to glide along; breathe, relax, to notice all my senses, alive, in sync and to enjoy the pleasure of this s i m p l e moment.

In that moment, I was very present.

Who knew paddle boarding could be such a great teacher in paddling my way to presence and balance!

Photo: Shutterstock

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