Thanksgiving is in just two days, and hopefully you’ve made plans. Yes, it’s a day of eating and football, of spending time with family and friends, but it’s also a day to remember what we’re grateful for. We’ve had a great year, enjoying the natural beauty of East Tennessee and spending time with the people we love, but we thought we’d share some of the lessons nature continually reminds us of that make us so grateful to get to spend each day outdoors enjoying it!
When you’re rafting, you’re dependent on those who are with you in the boat. You can’t get down the river without help. Besides, it would be a lot less fun if you had to go it alone! Nature is full of partnerships, symbiotic relationships, that allow for both species to not only survive, but thrive. Take bees. They feed on the flower pollen, and in doing so, they spread pollen helping new flowers grow. Neither would work as well without the help. Life is very much the same. We need people to talk to, to support us, and then when they need a little help we can support them. Your friends will help paddle your raft, and you’ll have a great time sharing the experience with them.
There are a lot of things in your life you have complete choice over: You can control your attitude. You can control your actions and your words. You can control your response to other people’s actions. Notice a theme? The only thing you can really control is you. Mother Nature loves to remind us of that, often at the very moment we are trying our hardest to control something or someone else. If we tried to raft upstream, against the rapids, it wouldn’t matter how hard we worked. We wouldn’t get very far, we would waste a ton of time and energy, and it wouldn’t be very fun. So instead, we go with the flow, paddling downriver, accepting what rapids come in our way, what our bodies are capable of that day, and control what we can. You can choose to have a good day, every day.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Survival of the Fittest” before. This doesn’t mean you have to be the strongest, the best athlete, or the most aggressive; this means those who are most willing to adapt, learn, change and grow thrive the most. Life isn’t going to be easy all the time--and how boring would it be if it were! But, learning to adapt and work with the things that come into your life, no matter how difficult they seem, will radically change your life in ways you haven’t thought possible. Making it to the end of each raft trip wouldn’t mean as much if we didn’t have to work hard to make it there. Sometimes you will fall out, but that’s okay! With every misstep or mistake, you learn.
Imagine a life with no phones. Nowhere to be, nothing to do, just you and one task: Get from point A to point B. That’s life on the Pigeon river and in the Smoky Mountains. Sometimes that’s what life should really be. You and your group have one goal, to get to the end, and all of your focus is on that one thing. Life can get really overwhelming, especially during the holidays, but remember that most of life is just showing up. We get so bogged down in trying to impress people, trying to guess what we think they want, that sometimes we don’t even take the time to listen to what people really need! Keep it simple. Be there for your friends and family when they need you to. Being compassionate, and listening with your full attention. These things are simple, but not easy, which is why providing that type of support and presence to people is usually more meaningful than bringing home the best gift your money can buy.
Okay, maybe you learned that one from Game of Thrones, and we’re sure you noticed the temperature changes outdoors! For us, the winter season means it’s time to take a break from rafting unless you’re very daring (we’ll go anytime!), but we welcome this time of rest like nature does. There is a specific time for rest and a time for adventure, and both are valuable in their own way. Without rest, we wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate the adventures. We’d be too tired to even finish them! But without adventure, the rest doesn’t mean anything either; it’s just stagnant and boring. We need them both to live a complete life, and to be able to appreciate each other. We also need winter as a reminder that spring is coming again, and vice versa. Better days are always ahead.
Nature may be sleeping over the winter, but we’re more active than the average bear! To keep up with us (or if you’re very daring, to schedule a winter rafting trip!), follow us on Facebook (@Outdoor Rafting Adventures) and check back in with this blog periodically! We’ll be updating all winter.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, we’re so grateful you’ve spent a few minutes with us today.