So often in life we stay within the same lines, do the same thing and play it safe. Yet, there is a great big unexplored world out there… just waiting for us to be a bit more adventurous. At those times when we dare to venture into the unknown, amazing things can happen.
This past weekend I had the perfect tangible example of this principal. Our extended family was visiting from Seattle and we decided to take the family water skiing and tubing on Flathead Lake. For those that have never done this, please allow me to explain some of the physics of water skiing.
The engine of the boat under power creates a V-shaped path behind the boat, called the wake. It is almost like the boat calms this area of the water, usually creating the easiest and safest place to tube or water ski- but not necessarily the most fun. As long as the boat is traveling in a straight line, it’s easy to stay in the wake and ski or tube safely and easily.
The V-shaped wake is delineated by a wave of water, usually from 6″ to a foot or two high, which can easily be crossed by an experienced water skier or tuber. When you exert pressure (weight) by leaning to one side or the other, the ski or the tube will go in that direction, allowing you to steer yourself right or left. This motion allows us to intentionally direct our course and actually cross the wake. However, crossing the wake can be incredibly intimidating to most- especially the first time you try to venture outside of the safety of its borders and explore uncharted waters.
The area outside the V-shaped wake hasn’t been “smoothed” by the engine and can sometimes contain waves or otherwise turbulent waters. It can be a bit more difficult stepping into the unknown, but it’s usually more exhilarating too.
Just as in life, when the boat turns, the forces of Nature, in this case centrifugal force, tries to slingshot us across the wake at what feels like a great speed. It can be downright scary, depending upon the height of our protective walls of the wake.
I have to smile at the similarity of life. How many times do we stay in our own wake and fear crossing outside into unknown territory? How often do we require the twists and turns of our life path to create a force that literally propels us outside of our comfort zone?
If we stay within our normal boundaries, it’s easy to be comfortable. Traveling outside of the wake or our comfort zone, is an exciting experience because we’re venturing into unknown territory. It takes courage but the more we dare to explore outward, the more our comfort zone expands.
Instead of being afraid to try something new, what would it look like to exert pressure and go there intentionally? For an experienced tuber or skier, being in the wake is boring. Although crossing the wake can be a bit tricky, the greatest thrills are to be found outside the boundaries of safety.
Where in your life are you staying within self-imposed boundaries because you don’t yet have the confidence to cross your own wake? What would it take for you to choose to fly across the wake, get a little air, feel the wind on your face as the force of life pulls you faster and faster, as you scream WOOOHOOOOO!?
Crossing the wake of life is like anything else- it’s all in our mind. If we think it’s going to be difficult, we’re right. If we think it will be easy, once again, we’re right. In water skiing, tubing or life, we get to choose the quality of our experience. We get to choose the level of difficulty. We get to create our experience.
For today, let’s break through our limiting beliefs, realize that we are infinite beings with unlimited potential and literally jump our own self-imposed wake. There is a great big beautiful world out there just waiting to be explored by us. Let’s go enjoy the day and make it happen!
This Post Has 8 Comments
Good post! My own life has been about change and daring to change. The challenge is to keep life a verb! Your column helps so much! Keep up the good work!
Thank you Michael. I agree- life is a verb. What a great way to put it!
Thanks for your kind comments. I’m grateful that the blog helps.
I wouldn’t of expected anything other then you guys riding the edges of the wake. I mean look at the smile on you & Darryl’s faces hahaha fun 😀
Sam, you’re right- we do cross the wake. However, the photo is of Darryl with our sister-in-law, Kathy, (not me). I was driving the boat while our nephew took this photo! I guess we really do have to get together so you know what I look like. 🙂
Oops ! I should of clicked on the photo before I made the comment hehehehe
OMG they let you drive the boat ! ;D
Great photos — and I love the analogy you created about being brave enough to go outside our comfort zone!
seriously, this blog is so meaningful to the reader. gail, i think you are someone who we should all aspire to be like.
Of course, I enjoyed this post tremendously! I have taken up barefoot water skiing again, 25 years after becoming deaf from a fall while barefooting. And just this weekend, I took up wakeboarding for the first time. For many years, I played it safe behind the wake and at the age of 44, I’m discovering the whole wide lake again. Life is good.
Gail, you have a tremendous talent with your writing and your daily inspiration– I have to remember to visit here more often1 Hugs!