By: Rev. Govna G.
There is something called “Type 2 Fun.” This is fun you don’t realize you’re having until much later, when it’s all wrapped up. You have to imagine that the Dude eventually looked back on his adventure and laughed to beat the band. When things get chaotic, stressful, and disorienting they can take you out of your comfort zone. If ever there was a space/time to describe the Dude, it would be the comfort zone. To perpetually remain there, however, is unrealistic for all us sinners.
Greetings Dudes. I have just returned from an adventure I had never expected I would take. Some friends and I were lucky enough to raft the Colorado River, deep in the bosom of the Grand Canyon. It was a once in a lifetime trip, and in English too. The Grand Canyon. Now that’s a worthy fuckin’ adversary. It was a two week challenge that tested us all. Sometimes there’s a river, and I’m talkin’ about the Colorado here,…sometimes there’s a River, well, it puts you in your place. It thumps you right in there. And that’s the Colorado, in the Grand fuckin’ Canyon. If you have a moment, Dudes, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned from this awesome Force of Nature.
Meet challenges head on. We made it through a number of large, loud, strong rapids because we hit them strait on and with momentum. The worst thing to do when approaching an obstacle on the river or in life is to take a half-hearted or sideways approach. By rowing hard and straight into the teeth of the rapids we set ourselves up for success. It got rough, but we made it through because we hit the challenge straight on and with intention. Like it or not, the time will come when it’s your roll. That’s called throwin’ rocks, dudes.
Focus on the path of least resistance. Your focus determines your reality. In every trying situation there are obstacles. A fella wiser than myself once said, “obstacles are those scary looking things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” If you keep focusing on the gutter when it’s your roll, where do you think the ball will end up? Be aware of the dangers, but never focus on them.
Life is full of strikes and gutters, rough times and smooth. However it’s the rough times that make the smooth times better. There are times in life when things slow down and we are able to take in the scenery. These moments are made sweeter when we know what the other end of the spectrum looks like. The River tossed us around quite a bit in some parts. But we knew that eventually we would find ourselves in a smooth spot, with just enough time to sit back, have an oat soda and relax. The Dude Abides through the rough and the smooth. The rapids have a way of making the lazy float seem that much sweeter.
Just…take it easy, man, even when takin’ er easy isn’t really an option. This is what it means to ABIDE. When the comfort zone has been left behind and you start to feel those pesky little emotions – you know, fear, anxiety, anger – remember to find your Center. Take a deep breath and focus. Allow time to slow just a fraction of a second, and compose yourself. “There’s nothing wrong with stomach butterflies, just get them to fly in formation.” This is composure. This is Abiding. Keep Calm and Paddle On, dudes.
Go with the flow, but don’t let go of the oars. It’s a great idea to go with the flow, but avoid the eddies. An eddy is a place where the current of the river slackens suddenly, or even reverses itself. You may get stuck, and sometimes you may even go backwards. Life is about decisions. Don’t let the current just throw you anywhere.
Don’t roll out of this thing naked. Protect yourself. This is a simple rule that many people forget. The phrase “never jump without a parachute” can be applied to any number of activities. If you want to stay healthy and happy, you can go a long way by being your own best friend. Take the right precautions and you will prevent many a Shit-Storm. Early accounts of pioneers on the river abound with stories that end with boaters meeting their maker in a watery grave. Were these men fucking amateurs? Hardly, Dude. They just didn’t have our modern safety equipment. Those sunglasses the Dude wears aren’t just for decoration, ya know. Your life is in your hands, Dude.
Dude’s car got a little dinged up. Sometimes the raft flips. Every once in a while it’s comforting to ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? Sure enough, our boat got a little too friendly with a large boulder in the middle of the river. The massive spillover created by the boulder made quick work of the little raft. Our raft flipped, sending our crew into the drink for a much needed, though quite unexpected bath. We emerged unharmed, albeit a little shaken. Because we were prepared for the worst, life-jacket and all, we got out of this thing cheap. A funny thing happened after that. Instead of being more afraid of the large rapids, we all gained a new perspective. We’d tumbled, and lived. We proceeded with a healthy respect for the obstacles in our path instead of an unhealthy fear. Don’t be afraid of failure. Failure can be just the medicine we need to strengthen our resolve.
I’ll be there, man. It’s ok to ask for help. After our boat flipped, we needed help from the rest of our crew to flip the boat upright again. No small feat. These rafts were heavy and it took every one of us to pull the boat back onto its bottom. This is what friends are for: to help to turn things around. There are times when your life will turn upside down. Don’t feel too proud to ask for help to right the ship. No one is completely alone, and it’s important to remember that. On the flip side of the coin, try to help others when they flip. It may be your boat that flips next time.
Appreciate the way of the small. A great thing about nature is it’s humbling effect. You begin to realize how small you are, and how fragile. The things that we can actually control in this life are far outnumbered by those we can’t control. The world doesn’t care about your rug, your car, or your briefcase. In the end, it’s all just a bag of white undies. So, enjoy your float down the Big River, with its twists and turns, its rapids and eddies. We only have this raft for a short time, and you can’t take any of it with you.
We emerged from our adventure tired and dirty. There was blood, sweat, and tears. But in the middle of it all, we had a damn good time. Once some time had passed, we gained perspective and realized that our trip outside the comfort zone taught us a lot about ourselves, and getting to Know Thyself is a very Dudeist activity that can really only be done away from the comfort zone.
Did I gain any real insight here, or have I just spent way too much time in the desert sun? Well dudes, I just don’t know. Either way, thanks for reading. And I encourage you to walk outside your comfort zone whenever possible, even for a short time. You probably won’t have a choice. Just do your best to keep a limber mind. Abide. Because type-2 fun is easy to miss, but it’s the stuff life is made of.
I would like to dedicate this article to an amazing friend and fellow rafter who we have lost since our epic trip. We miss you Roy!