The topic of this article is “Adventure” and I like to begin with the definition from the online freedictionary.com which is:
I was very blessed to participate in a 12-day white water rafting adventure trip in the Yukon/Alaska on the Tatshenshini/Alsek Rivers with Canadian River Expeditions, a fantastic eco-friendly wilderness adventure company, in late July/early August, 1991 when I was 37 years of age. I was at an emotional high getting ready for what I knew would be an adventure of my lifetime, yet at an intensely, emotionally devastatingly low period in my life. I had cashed in my only RRSP to pay for my trip in the fall of 1990 and in April of 1991 I declared bankruptcy. I was in debt for $3,000 on my credit card (which to me was an exorbitant amount of money) and had phoned the bank to make monthly payment arrangements, but they would not agree to a mutually beneficial re-payment plan. As I had always been, and still am, an extremely responsible person being a sole provider for me and my animal family (usually had 2-3 pets at any given time, 2 cats or 2 cats and dog – now I just have 1 dog), which I treated like my kids and were my responsibilities. I tried to figure out numerous ways to meet my financial debt obligation. I went to a consumer debt repayment agency and discussed with the agent there what I should do and his advice was to declare bankruptcy as my credit rating would be affected for 7 years claiming bankruptcy instead of 10 years repaying all of the debt back through their program. I followed his advice and went the bankruptcy route. My payment arrangements were I could have $1,300 a month and anything over that I had to pay 50% to the bankruptcy trustee. This was a very difficult challenge for me as I had barely been surviving on my full salary.
I was allowed to go on my white water rafting adventure trip in the late July/August of 1991, as it had already been paid for in full by the time I filed bankruptcy. I flew up to Whitehorse, YT by myself and stayed in a quaint hotel in the heart of Whitehorse. I had wanted to go up a couple of days early to get acquainted with the area as I was looking at the possibility of relocating there and wanted to check it out. I did several sightseeing things in Whitehorse, and met a lovely lady (through her boyfriend who had taken a course with me in Vancouver and was still in Vancouver) and she took me on the 9 hour circle tour drive. We instantly bonded and it was wonderful to meet someone so lovely and spend such a special time with. I remember riding in the passenger seat, after I had to climb through the driver’s side window to get into the 4×4, as the door was broken and the windshield was cracked everywhere from rocks being thrown at it from other vehicles. This was the norm for every vehicle no matter how new or old the condition, there were cracks in almost all the vehicle windshields. I remember thinking that I didn’t want my car looking this weather beaten, even if it was an old car at the time. She was still my baby!
As I reflected back on this part of my journey today, I think about my youth, my young adulthood and my later years, about how many rocks have been thrown at my “Spiritual Windshield” and without the soft tissue of God’s hand buffing my heart until the cracks were no longer visible, I may still be travelling on a very desolate road to who-knows-where in very foreign terrain, with no guidance system.
One of the most memorable moments of my white water rafting adventure was during one of the very early parts of the trip where we only had white water to run on this particular day. The rest of the trip had patches of white water to run, but this was going to be a consistent stretch for a couple of hours – if my memory serves me correctly. We had a very narrow canyon between two gigantic cavernous rock formations on either side to paddle through. We had six rafts, 1 guide in the middle of each raft, doing all the rowing/paddling with two oars, one on each side, and we were invited to paddle with our single paddle any time we felt like paddling. During this stretch of rapids, we all had to paddle, without exception. As I had been an avid white water rafter for many years up to this point, my heart started to pound with exhilaration and my soul was on fire with excitement. I was living my passion being out in nature, on the open water and paddling – yeah! This was me reliving one of my previous incarnations as an Indian Princess and am very comfortable paddling on the water. My spirit sings! We went through one huge wave after wave, and although our one allotted duffle bag which stored all our possessions we were allowed on the trip, including our tent, was tied in tightly at the back of the raft, I was sure, at several points as we were being tossed and turned, up and down through the waves, that we were going to lose some of our gear, or food, or people! This was the only time on the river I was ever really scared. We made it through and all of us were hugging each other as we disembarked from our rafts at our rest stop, soaking wet and tired.
I reflected on this leg of my white water rafting adventure and think of how many times I have been lodged between two “Emotional Boulders” and how without my rock-solid belief in Spirit/God, my unwavering faith, my ability to be able to surrender when things really have me pinned against the wall and there is absolutely no other way to turn, my total trust that the Angels are guiding me every step of my journey through the ups and downs and twists and turns, that I unequivocally know that “everything is in divine time” and accept this as my “Spiritual Truth”.
The next point on my white water rafting adventure that was very poignant to me was when we put in to our base camp and set up our tents. We each had to look after ourselves and as I had no idea how to put up a tent as I had never done this before, this was a bit of a challenge. I wasn’t used to asking for help, but eventually I did, and a couple of the guys came over and assisted me with my tent set up and were very patient as they watched me put the wrong ends of poles together and did not know how to secure the tent. We had huge canvas tarps covering the kitchen/cook area and sat on logs or on the ground and the food was out of this world that the guides prepared. We had everything from fresh fruit, fresh veggies, cheese trays, chicken, ribs, pancakes, home-baked muffins, bacon, eggs, and strawberry shortcake with fresh ice-cream the guides made from ice they had collected on our hike up a glacier and churned it in their huge wooden ice-cream machine. We had happy hour every night at 4 or 5 p.m. depending on when we got to camp and the guides had things set up for us in the main kitchen. Our conversations were awesome, mostly about the ride on the river that day, the wildlife we had seen and what we were going through that we wanted to share with the group. I had become the second assistant helping the guides in the kitchen, as I was used to this role from my other white water rafting adventures with REO Rafting in BC up near Boston Bar on the Nahtlach River, where I would assist around camp as a volunteer for a weekend a few times through the summer, to get a free run on the river on the Sunday. It became a thing of pleasure for me to bring beauty to my tent and to the general kitchen camp area. I would pick wild flowers and make beautiful bouquets for the kitchen area, having to use one of our extra dish washing buckets for the vase! I made flower wall plaques for my tent out of popsicle sticks, toothpaste and greenery and flowers from the wilderness. I was in a euphoric state and at my happiest being away from the masses, in the quiet where we could hear the birds chirp, the squirrels run up the tees, and I personally saw 2 grizzlies and 2 black bear, moose, mountain sheep/goats and saw fresh bear fur in the bark of the tree on one of our hikes. The only thing was, it wasn’t quite so euphoric. I had the head guide come and ask if he could speak with me away from the group on about day 6 or 7 and I was told that several ladies had complained I was picking the wildflowers and I should not be disturbing their natural environment. I was devastated, as from my point of view I was trying to make things beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to us out in the wilderness, and there was an overabundance of the wildflowers. I was being made wrong for it and I told him that they were doing this out of jealousy and spite because I got along so well with the guides, as they were all like little brothers to me and we were laughing and joking around all the time. I stopped making the flower arrangements for the kitchen, but kept my own wall plaque in my tent and promptly got pneumonia. We only had 4 dry days out of the 12, and our gear, which was very very limited, was soaked most of the time. We would hang our sleeping bags and our one set of clothes over the clothes lines the guides had rigged in the main kitchen area, but when our second set of clothes got wet and the first set wasn’t yet dry, we would have to wear wet clothes under our rain gear. It was not a fun part of the adventure.
When I reflected back on this part of my white water adventure I was able to see how I love simple things, things that can bring beauty and are very reminiscent of nature, like a dried flower arrangement or fern leaves, or simple wild flowers. I realized that in simplicity there is so much beauty and how my “Spiritual Truth” is one of simplicity – I Am One With God, At All Times, In All Ways. There is no separation between God and Me. I am made of the pure essence of Spirit and this lives in me, as me. I can find pleasure in the simplest of tasks and know that living my true essence as a pure, loving, compassionate, considerate, caring, kind human being is my intrinsic nature and anything I can do to help or bring some encouragement or support to another individual I feel called to do this for, ignites the passion in my soul and lights the fire of my spirit. I realized that even in a remote wilderness setting darkness can be found in others. Jealousy, animosity, pure distaste and dislike for someone who is being “Light” and “Love” can be found. As I was one of the youngest people on the adventure, except for the 6 guides and one other girl who was around 20, most of the other people were in their 60’s to 80’s. I was not able to ascend beyond the negative, toxic environment I found myself in, so I got pneumonia and mostly stayed in my tent for the last 3 days of the trip once we had finished paddling for the day and made camp. This was my “Spiritual Bankruptcy” period. In Louise L. Hay’s book “You Can Heal Your Life” her spiritual definition of Pneumonia is: “Desperate. Tired Of Life. Emotional Wounds that are not Allowed to Heal.”
The next most remarkable part of my adventure was when we made camp on an ice-flow at the bottom of a glacier and could hear the ice calve off the icebergs. We paddled for quite awhile around these icebergs which were majestic, magnificent, and totally unbelievable in their magnitude of height and width. It was the most incredible feeling paddling in our small rafts around these breath-taking, spectacular creations of nature. We all realized just how small we were in God’s kingdom. We climbed a glacier and I had to jump over crevasses. I slipped and slid on the ice and yet was spellbound by the beauty and grandeur of walking on something that has been around for hundreds of years and evolved into this magnificent splendor. We had set up camp at the base of the glacier on the ice flow and an incredible wind storm came up during the evening. Several of the tents came loose from their pegs and were rolling like tumbleweed across the ice. We ran after them, as best as we could on ice, to catch them before they hit the water and disappeared forever. Luckily, mine was not one to leave its hitching post.
As I reflected on this leg of my adventure, I can see how important it is to have a solid foundation firmly implanted, especially when on “thin ice”. My “Spiritual Foundation” is what keeps me glued together. I have been through many windstorms, rainstorms, ice storms and emotional and physical storms, but when I am packing the right “Spiritual Gear” in my “Trusty” backpack, I know I can handle what may become an avalanche. I am not saying there won’t be challenges or difficulties, but I am saying that when I hang on to “Spirit’s Guide Rope” I can weather any storm and pick myself up and dust myself off, as and when I need to. I have been blessed with living in natural environments, with lots of trees and near water to revive my soul with the peace and harmony that is found in these settings. It is my goal to live in a natural setting close to or on the water as soon as I am able, as this is what energizes my inner spirit and helps me stay grounded to my “Spiritual Foundation”.
The last leg of my white water rafting adventure was day 12 and we had to fly out of a tiny little unused fishing camp called Dry Bay in Alaska. The plane was a tiny 30 seater, just big enough to take all of the 6 guides and 24 passengers. The wing tips of the aircraft were within about 6” of the huge trees on either side of the dirt runway. I was excited to be going home, but praying the pilot knew what he was doing, as it was definitely going to be tight to get off the ground, especially with all our gear stowed in the back and when he made his ascent we could hear things rolling around in the back end of the plane. When we arrived at the landing field about an hour from Whitehorse (if my memory serves me correctly), there were taxis there to meet us. I got in the taxi and the first thing that blew my mind was hearing his radio blaring away and the sound of the engine running and I just wanted to put my hands over my ears and block all these interfering noises out of my head. It felt like the most abrasive intrusion into my personal space and I hated it. I just wanted to go back to the silence.
To date, this has been the most impactful experience I have had with respect to my “Spiritual Bliss” being violated. I can remember everything about that period of getting in the taxi and feeling those feelings. I reflect on how many times I have been in a state of bliss or peace and something has interrupted this state of my “Spiritual Bliss”. I find it challenging at times to readily get back in the moment and into my state of “Beingness”. I take my thoughts back to this moment in the summer of 1991 on a grass/dirt field outside of Whitehorse, when I got inside a taxi after 12 days in the wilderness to the noise penetrating my consciousness and nothing to this point in my life has altered my state of “Spiritual Bliss” like this moment in time. This was, for certain, a “Spiritual and Soul Evolution” defining moment for me.
Silence, Peace, Quiet, Stillness, Communing with Nature, Beauty in Simplicity, Respect for Our Wilderness and Wildlife, Love of Ourselves and Others, Comradeship with Like-Minded People, Support, Encouragement, Kindness and Understanding – these are all Free. They cost us nothing to have, to share, to experience, or to pull out from our “Spiritual Supply Kit” to enhance our journey on our “Spiritual Life Adventure”.
From My Heart to Yours,