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When I was a young kid, I didn’t want to grow up to be Miss America. I wanted to work in a boat with Sandy and Bud alongside a dolphin named Flipper. That seemed like the perfect life to me!
I can’t remember the first time I saw a dolphin in real life. Of course, I watched the TV series Flipper before I was even old enough for kindergarten. Back then, I was pretty confident that my life would be filled with days of swimming with my best friend, who would be a dolphin. We would solve many crisis situations together. I’d have a great tan and eat ice cream all the time.
Much like a riptide, life took me far from that childhood dream.
I grew up into my 50’s relegated to standing on the beach staring off into the vast ocean at a small fin or two that would eventually break the water, then disappear.
There was that one time in Australia when my husband paid a ton of money so I could swim with a dolphin in Sea World. The dolphin’s name was Rebel and the experience, which lasted all of 15 minutes, was spectacular.
Then, there was the time a few years back when I was paddle boarding in the Gulf of Mexico, and about five dolphins playfully swam by my side for a few yards before disappearing beyond my reach. That was also spectacular.
Other than those two moments, my life has been far from my young life goals until I went to the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, Florida a few weeks ago.
My husband, daughter, and I went while we were on her spring break vacation. We drove up to the center, and we assumed our experience for the day would consist of us sitting on an uncomfortable bleacher while watching a dolphin do tricks in the far distance.
We were wrong about that.
We weren’t far removed from the dolphins, we were right beside them!
The center contains many netted lagoon-like areas with boardwalks and benches.
We were awestruck by how close the dolphins would swim up to the boardwalks giving us an unexpected intimacy with them.
I found myself taking more pictures of the dolphins then I did for my daughter’s senior prom.
We would be watching a trainer working with some dolphins when a dolphin from a neighboring lagoon would call out to us, pulling our attention away from the action and towards him. We would walk over to the dolphin, and he would talk to us. Actually, talk to us, and then joyfully swim away.
Can a dolphin swim joyfully?
Yes, yes he can.
The dolphins would interact with us playfully. It even seemed to me like they were staring into the camera and smiling when I took their pictures.
At one point, a lady with a dog walked up to talk to one of the trainers. I watched in fascination as a dolphin swam up to greet the dog.
A group of dolphins ate ice cubes from a trainer’s cooler like it was their favorite flavor of ice cream, which for them, it probably was.
They playfully stood straight up in the water. It seemed like one of the dolphins was looking right at me making sure I was watching!
Did I mention, some of the dolphins were descendants of the dolphin in the movie Flipper?
Did I get teary-eyed when I learned this? Maybe.
We were all shocked to see that dolphins can playfully lay on a raft. I had no idea!
At one point, one of the dolphins did a complete circle, rising up higher and higher in the air with the rotation of his body. He was flawless! An Olympic diver’s dream!
DRC is a non-profit organization. The organization’s focus is on providing a healthy and good life to dolphins who are not able to live out in the ocean on their own. Sometimes they are not able to live outside of the center because of injuries or the inability to feed themselves in the wild. The Dolphin Research Center focuses its research on dolphin cognition, behavior, and husbandry. While spending hours at the center, it’s clear that the DRC is living up to its mission statement, which reads,
“Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC’s animals taking precedence.”
If you are able, please donate to the Dolphin Research Center. Donations can be made here.
Here is a clip of the beginning of the TV series Flipper from Youtube to give you an idea about what life on a boat with Sandy and Bud may have been like for Flipper and me.
My husband, daughter, and I ended up spending 5 hours at the Dolphin Research Center, and we would have stayed longer if it wasn’t for the heat of the day getting to us.
I have to admit, I spent the majority of the time we were at the center staring at the dolphins and remembering that childhood dream of collecting old unused shells from the ocean bottom with Sandy and Bud while Flipper swam with us.
We’d share a boat.
I’d be tan and eat ice cream every day.
I was on the rowing machine the other day, and the guy next to me started coughing. I tried to wipe the look of horror off my face as I thought, “Oh my God, I now have the flu!”
Is it just me, or do others have the same fears?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, a person working out at the gym next to me today started sneezing, and I winced and thought, “Sweet Baby Jesus, I’ve been exposed.”
Am I the only one that thinks these thoughts?
I got the flu shot this year, as I do every year…except that one year I didn’t and ended up getting the flu. Boy was that awful!
Then there was also that year I got the flu even though I got a flu shot.
Honestly, I don’t want to ever have the flu again. I bet you don’t want to get the flu either this year or any year for that matter.
Let’s face it. Germs are everywhere. Here’s the thing, we can sit in agony every time a sneeze crosses our path. We can ball our fists, roll our eyes, and hold our breath each time a cough occurs near us. We can keep holding our breath in angst until flu season passes, wishing hazmat suits were in style, or we can breathe and be proactive.
Since I’m not really that great at holding my breath, and I don’t think I would look good in a hazmat suit (They are not very slimming.). I like to be proactive and prepare for the big win against the flu during the season of germs!
Here are 7 easy steps in preparing for the big fight.
Please get your flu shot. You can get the mist instead if you don’t want to get the shot.
Now I know I just told you that one year I got the flu after getting the flu shot, but here’s the thing. I was much less sick than I was when I got the flu several years back without getting the flu shot.
It’s the responsible thing to do. You might not care whether you get the flu or not, but if you have the flu and go out of the house while you are contagious, which happens, then you could be exposing someone to the flu who has an immune system that can’t fight off the flu. You could be doing great harm to a weaker person by being near them when you are sick, so be responsible and get your flu shot.
During flu season, make sure you have plenty of frozen dinners on hand. Now, you might be saying, “Frozen dinners? What? That doesn’t sound healthy. How am I suppose to fight the flu with unhealthy food?”
Here’s the thing, if your child, or husband, or you are sick, you don’t have time to cook, and you won’t feel like cooking, trust me! But, hey, your family still needs to eat. Make sure you have some great tasting and as healthy as possible dinners stored away in the freezer for those days sickness has hit your house.
Stack up on instant meals like soup or macaroni and cheese. Simple meals that nearly anyone in your household can cook in a microwave will help you get through those days when illness prevails.
Buy extra boxes of healthy snacks like oranges, protein bars or dried fruit. Make sure you keep a protein bar in your purse during flu season. We all know what it’s like to be in a doctor’s office waiting room. You’re stressed out enough, and you don’t want to add “hangry” to the list of symptoms.
Go ahead and buy that large pack of toothbrushes. Now, I know it seems excessive, but when someone in your household is sick, you have to get rid of that germ carrying weapon. Changing out the toothbrushes more frequently during cold and flu season is a smart investment. While you are at it, pick up several new tubes of toothpaste.
Of course, you will want to buy a few jars of hand sanitizers. Buy one to place by the door. Buy a travel-sized one for your purse and car.
Make sure that you purchase enough soap to get you through the season. You’ll be washing your hands more frequently.
Your hands may begin to get dry and chapped from all the handwashing, so make sure you have hand lotion sitting right beside your soap.
Keep extra tissue boxes on hand, and make sure they are the soft kind. Trying to blow your nose on a lovely thick paper towel, or walking around the house with a toilet paper roll tucked under your arm is not the way to go. Have many boxes of soft tissues strategically placed around your home so you can catch that runny nose.
Buy extra paper towels, and place a roll in each bathroom to help reduce the spread of germs. During flu season, I’m not a fan of drying my hands on a damp hand towel in the bathroom. I’m guessing you aren’t a fan of that either.
Stock on up laundry detergent because you will be doing laundry more often than usual, especially if your house gets hit by the dreaded stomach flu. Changing sheets more regularly becomes a must during flu season.
Take vitamin C and Zinc daily when you start to feel ill, and make sure you have enough for the family to last through the season of sickness. Black Elderberry is a great supplement to take during the winter. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can check out information on Black Elderberry here.
Go through your medicine cabinet BEFORE you or your family member gets sick and throw out any medicines that have past their expiration date.
If you are low on the staples (like ibuprofen, Tylenol, Immodium, antihistamine, cough syrup), then make sure you replenish your supply to prevent that 2 a.m. run to the store. As always, if you have children in your home, make certain that your medicines are out of reach. A padlocked tackle box is a great place to store medicines when youngsters are in the home.
Make sure your oral thermometer is working well. There’s nothing worse than struggling with the on/off switch of a thermometer that is not working during the wee hours of the morning when your child is sick.
Make sure you have an updated list of your family doctors’ names and contact information as well. There may be a time when you or your loved one will need a specialist during flu season. You may find yourself on a trip to the hospital, which may require your physician’s name and contact number. It’s best to keep that information on hand.
Is your pharmacy’s number listed in your contacts? If not, make sure to add that. You don’t want to have to carry a prescription to the pharmacy and wait when your doctor’s office can easily call it in. Proving the office with the pharmacy contact information will prevent you from standing at the pharmacy waiting for your prescription to be filled.
Health Insurance cards should live in your wallet, that way you will never have to mentally struggle over where you put the darn card while you are feeling miserably sick.
Many times, your insurance will provide you with a separate prescription card. Make sure that card resides next to your health insurance card in your wallet.
Keep an extra phone charger in your car. A quick trip to the doctor’s office or hospital is unheard of, especially during flu season. There is nothing quick when flu season is upon us. If you must spend hours in a waiting room, you want to be able to charge your phone if you need to so you can let the rest of your family members know what’s going on. If you keep the extra phone charger in your car, or in your purse, you can find an outlet in the waiting room and charge your phone. That will be one less thing you need to worry about while you wait.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well armed to fight through flu season. Good luck, and (Did you just sneeze?) God bless you.
Click here for your FREE INFORMATION ORGANIZER to help you with the information you need to bring to your doctor’s appointment!
Did you make one or several New Year’s Resolutions this past New Year’s Eve?
Well, here’s what you need to do: dump them!
Completely get rid of them right here and now. Yes, right now. It’s true, we are not even a month into the new year, but let go of those resolutions!
Does anyone really ever keep New Year’s Resolutions?
Have you ever heard anyone accept an award, maybe a Grammy or a Nobel Peace Prize, saying, “I owe this all to that New Year’s Resolution I made back in 2002?”
I know I never have heard anyone say anything great resulted from New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the fact that all too often they deal with a specific outward change.
Do these New Year’s Resolutions sound familiar?
I’m going to…
Usually, those resolutions come after a month of overindulgence during the holiday season, and we’re are trying to appease our guilt.
We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. So, I say STOP with the New Year’s Resolutions dealing with a specific change to your outward life.
Come on now, we all know that those rapid ten pounds that you may lose in January are going right back on during that spring cruise you plan on taking.
That exercise class you signed up for in January will end quickly when you find something less jarring to take its place, like watching March Madness.
Those outward changes won’t stick, and you will find yourself sad, and feeling sad too often takes us all back down the road to overindulge.
Think about that time when you saw a friend go on vacation, and she was so excited about it. She goes on vacation, comes back home, and talks about how calm and wonderful her life was while on vacation. Then, she goes back to being chaotic and miserable in her everyday life. She tells you she needs to go back on vacation. Have you ever heard that from a friend?
Maybe you have heard yourself say those things.
Life isn’t all about the outward. It has to be balanced with the inward.
Just stop the insanity of trying to change an aspect of your life that won’t change without an inward resolution.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if each day of your life was like a vacation?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose the weight and keep it off?
Change the inward, and you can start to change your life.
I challenge you to make an Inward Resolution.
Here are some to start you off:
I will focus on…
Just pick one. You don’t have to do all three. Just start with one.
Find time to sit and think.
I don’t want to hear that you don’t have time for that because you do.
You have ten minutes in your day to be calm. Once you make time to be calm, you will find that you have more than ten minutes. Remember that 20-minute rant you went on about how you don’t have any time for yourself? Lord have mercy, I know I remember that rant you went on. Guess what you could have been doing with those 20 minutes instead of going on a rant?
Calm down. You’ll find it so much easier to make better life choices when you are calm, and often those better life choices include exercise and healthy eating, which means you are winning on that New Year’s Resolution you dumped!.
Find time to focus on your breathing. We all spend far too much time holding our breath or shallow breathing, which are signals to our nervous system that we are stressed-out!
Don’t tell me you don’t have time to focus on your breathing. I don’t want to hear it. We all know we have time to breathe. We have no choice.
Take a few moments while you are at your desk, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths.
What does that mean?
Do this for several cycles.
While you are at a stoplight, focus on your breathing.
While you are sitting on the train, focus on your breathing.
When you focus on your breathing, your body will begin to calm down.
Bring that sweet magic of vacation back home and breathe!
Focus on the here and now.
What is in the past is in the past.
Leave it there!
You are not the same person you were back then and neither is anyone else. You are going to cause a terrible crick in your neck by constantly looking at what went on behind you.
You can’t control what will happen in the future.
We all wish we could, but let’s face it, we can’t control the future.
All you can do is do the best you can NOW.
Stressing about the what-ifs will throw you off balance.
Life is happening right now!
Pay attention to what is going on around you right now.
You’ll find yourself less likely to make bad choices when you live life in the present.
Remember back to when you were on that vacation. You weren’t thinking about the past or present. You were living life largely in the here and now, and you loved living that way!
Now, think farther back at your happiest childhood memory.
Maybe you were 4, or 8 year’s old?
We were all probably doing something different, yet we all had a few things in common: we were non-stressed or calm, breathing freely, and living in the present.
Maybe you were like me, eight year’s old and riding your bike on a sunny day. I wasn’t worried about tomorrow. My breathing was deep and steady. While living in the moment, I felt joy.
Get back to that childhood feeling of joy!
Get back to that vacation-induced joy!
Dump those New Year’s Resolutions you made a few weeks ago, and set your Inward Resolutions.
My friend Fran communicated with the dead, and not in a creepy Insidious way.
Our friendship, spanning several decades, which went by lightning fast, was often spent talking about the messages she got from the dead.
Oh, don’t get me wrong! We didn’t only talk about the dead (I’m not talking about the Grateful Dead band here people.). We also talked about life, family, food, everything really. Nothing was off limits. Of course, the most memorable moments were when we talked about her conversations with dead people because let’s face it, not very many people communicate with the spirit world.
She died last month leaving me wondering why I never asked her how I was supposed to talk to her after she died.
Would she talk to me from the great beyond?
Would she send someone alive, so that person could give me messages from her after she died?
Or maybe she was just talked out, and wouldn’t want to communicate with any of us anymore once she was on her way?
Now, I find myself scratching my head and saying, “OK, Fran, now what?” as I am sure most people who knew her will be doing for quite some time.
I met Fran in a most peculiar way.
I was involved with a Newcomers Association in Connecticut; although I don’t practice the art of Feng Shui, (My furniture is put wherever it fits in the room.) I decided, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we had a Feng Shui seminar at my house.” I found someone reasonably certified to hold such a seminar and spread the word.
There was a fairly good crowd for the seminar. Not sure why. It wasn’t very popular back then. I’m not sure it is even that popular now.
The majority of people there were new to the town we lived in, but not everyone. A few people had lived in the small Connecticut town for decades – Fran, for instance.
As I was greeting people for the meeting, Fran walked up to me and said, “Hi, I’m Fran. I’m a medium, but really I’m a small.”
Fran was truly a small in women’s clothing. Far too slender for a medium, yet she was a medium.
Back then, the only thing I knew about mediums was from watching the movie The Sixth Sense and John Edward’s show on TV, but that was about the extent of my knowledge on people who speak to dead people.
I was really shocked that Fran was in my living room introducing herself as a medium.
I can’t remember what drink I was serving that night. Maybe it was ice tea? Maybe coffee? Definitely not Mezcal Tequila. There was no hallucinating going on that night. Yet, there in my living room stood a small lady with a giant story, or two, or three.
She found me shortly after the meeting started and asked if I had any hot tea, so we walked back into the kitchen. I pulled out a tea box my brother had given me years ago and handed it to her, and she opened the box and found an Echinacea tea bag.
She was overjoyed by this. Why? I don’t know.
I remember her saying, “You had me at Echinacea,” and laughing. Fran was a very very funny lady who loved to laugh and loved to hear other people laugh as well.
That was the beginning of our friendship.
A short time after the Feng Shui gathering, Fran called me and told me she was having a Nutrition Meeting at her house, and she would like for me to come to it.
It was just an Echinacea tea bag, but Fran figured that I was interested in nutrition.
She was right. I was very interested in nutrition.
A few days before the Nutrition Meeting at Fran’s, I went to see a chiropractor in Woodstock, New York, which was a two-hour drive through the beautiful New England countryside.
At the time, I had a miscarriage, six months later another miscarriage, and then six months after that Lyme’s disease. I was just getting over the Lyme’s disease. I was really struggling. Everyone struggles in life. When I go through periods of struggle, I tend to remember the people who cross my path and act as a beacon of light.
As you probably already guessed, Fran became a beacon of light.
I hope I can shine that brightly for others in my lifetime.
Oddly enough the chiropractor played a role as well in illuminating my path.
There I am, sitting on the table at the chiropractor’s office and wondering what in the world am I doing here? A friend of mine had suggested Chiropractor Harris might be of help in my quest to regain my health, so I blindly went.
In walks the chiropractor, and after an hour session, out I walk feeling empowered and spiritually connected.
Turns out, Harris was also a Shaman. I didn’t know what being a Shaman meant, but that didn’t matter. He used healing modalities on me that helped me tremendously.
Of course, I wanted to spend an hour every day in his office after that, but he said to me, “There is a person in the town you live in waiting to help you.”
In my mind, that part was a load of doo-doo.
The next day arrived at Fran’s front doorstep for the Nutrition Meeting.
After being thoroughly confused at what to bring to the meeting, I brought a few boxes of Bancha tea as a hostess gift. I didn’t think I could bring wine or cookies and was really stumped at what to bring to a Nutrition Meeting.
Recovering from Lyme’s disease made me a little sluggish, so it was no surprise when I was a little late to the meeting and set my tea boxes on the kitchen table where there was every dessert known to mankind – cakes, cookies, pies. As you can imagine, I was very confused by the spread.
Following the sound of conversation, I then walked into the dining room where 12 or so ladies sat at the dining room roundtable deep in conversation.
There was an empty chair waiting for me.
My eyes were as wide as saucers, and my mouth hung open in surprise as I listened to the ladies talk about their experiences.
Suddenly the conversation stopped, and all eyes were on me.
Fran introduced me, and the group asked if I was OK.
“I thought this was a Nutrition Meeting,” I stammered.
The group chided Fran saying things like, “Oh Fran, how could you!”
Fran replied, “I had to get her here somehow.”
I never fully understood why she had to get me there.
You see, the meeting was for area psychics, and they were sitting around the table talking about their experiences and the difficulties that come with living everyday life when you are a psychic.
I’m not a connoisseur of psychics, but they sure seemed like the real deal to me, and boy did they have the stories.
That night, I was introduced to a world I didn’t know existed. Fran was a master weaver of people. She was so gifted at bringing folks together, and she wove so many amazing people into my life.
I always thought she would have made a great mayor. She knew everyone in town and never backed down from a challenge.
I imagine mediums don’t all get their messages in the same way. When someone from the great beyond wanted to talk to Fran, the spirit would mess with her electronics. At times, the TV would flicker on and off when a message would be coming in for her. Fran would laugh when she’d tell me about her husband asking her to go get the message so he could watch TV without it flicking on and off.
Other times, she would sit down, with pen in hand, and stream of conscious write. A message would come out of the writing, and it was often her task to try and figure out just who the message was for. You see, it wasn’t always clear. She began calling these messages H-mail, and together we created a logo and business cards for her.
Sometimes, she would call me on the phone with a message, sometimes she would give me the message written in beautiful loopy and curly handwriting. The H-mails were always encouraging – positive.
They were the kind of messages you would hope your loved one would give you when he or she passed on. You know how you might think to yourself, “When that person dies, she won’t be so distracted by that nonsense or have time for hate.” Well, Fran’s H-mail always support the fact that people in the spirit world didn’t hate or get caught up in pettiness.
And, the messages Fran delivered contained information that she couldn’t have known on her own.
She was like a Chaplain, consoling a grieving person with news from the great beyond.
My grandfather died years ago. As he lay dying, I whispered in his ear, “Pop, when you get there, tell me what heaven looks like.”
Fran called me shortly after my grandfather died, not knowing he had passed, and read a message to me or someone I knew ( You know, she never really knew for sure who the message was for.). The message that day started, “The view from where I stand…” and went on to describe paradise.
Most people help others by sending a card or flowers, maybe even by bringing over a casserole. Fran? She would sit in your living room and share with you a message from the spirit world in hopes to bring you peace.
Fran wasn’t defined by the fact that she was a medium or a small. She was a good Catholic and loved her church. She was a devoted mother who raised four beautiful kids who love and support each other. Fran also maintained a loving marriage to her best friend and husband. She was a huge advocate of homeopathic medicine and used a naturopathic doctor for years instead of a medical doctor.
When my daughter was in the ICU, it was Fran that visited me driving three hours to get there. She went door to door and raised money to help pay for my hotel room while my daughter was in the hospital. When Fran was on a mission, nothing could stand in her way. Fran refused to let me repay her and only asked that I pass the money on to someone who one day needed it. I did.
When my daughter was sick, Fran called me every day. Every single day. And, when she couldn’t visit, she set me up with a Jesuit Priest named Jim who visited me at the hospital and prayed over my daughter. How do you put the fear of God in a Jesuit Priest? I don’t know how she did it, but that was Fran. Occasionally, Jim would grumble about Fran owing him $200, and occasionally she would say, “Don’t let him make you think I owe him $200.” Fran’s daughter explained at the funeral that they had a running joke about a missed flight in South Dakota.
Fran taught me the beauty in saying “I love you,” to a friend.
She was such a bright light in life to so many.
I don’t think we can or should be defined by an event in life that takes us away from this world. That thing that kills us – that’s not us. That’s not who we are, and it wasn’t who Fran was either.
Some people die in a day. It took my Pop three months. It took Fran over three years to transition away from this life.
As much as we would like to, we can’t choose how we die, and I know Fran would not have chosen the path she had to take.
The beginning of the end for Fran happened one day nearly five years ago when she was crossing the street heading towards the library. She was in the crosswalk and caught the eye of the young driver who saw Fran and paused. For some reason, with Fran in front of the car, the young woman put her foot on the gas pedal and hit Fran. We can speculate all we want here. Maybe the driver was on her cell phone? She was obviously distracted.
There Fran was lying in the middle of the street, and her husband was at the post office running an errand before he was to walk over to the library to meet Fran. He heard all the commotion and thought, “Wait till I tell Fran about this,” having no idea it was Fran.
I know this because Fran later told me about the events around the accident and laughed at that part. Fran loved to laugh.
The EMS transported Fran to the hospital. She had significant injuries including brain trauma, but she was recovering, partly, I think, because her youngest daughter was pregnant with her first child.
It was a painful recovery and was halted nearly a year later when she fell and hit her head.
I’ve always heard that one of the biggest dangers with a brain injury is hitting your head once more.
That second hit to her head started a decline for Fran from which she was never able to recover.
Her brain was severely damaged.
She said things she didn’t mean. She did things she didn’t mean. All this happening while she slowly died.
Her husband and her family were by her side until the end of her life several years after her fall.
I didn’t know she was in the process of dying when it happened. Her family, like most, huddled together bound by love, struggling with grief, and surrounded her with love as she left this world.
I have been totally honest with you, and am totally honest with this as well, a few days before Fran died, the ceiling lights in our kitchen started blinking. My daughter and her boyfriend were freaked out by it, so of course, I said, “That’s someone from the great beyond trying to communicate with us.”
My husband changed the light bulbs, and those lights stopped blinking. The light over the kitchen table then started to blink on and off just as the kitchen ceiling lights had.
The blinking light stopped when I got the call from Fran’s daughter telling me that Fran had left this world.
Since Fran’s death, I’ve reconnected with some of my old friends in Connecticut. One of them is recovering from breast cancer. I knew this because Fran had told me about it, but I let my old friend talk about her journey becoming cancer free without mentioning that Fran had already told me about it.
As I was talking to my old friend, she mentioned when she was diagnosed with cancer. I asked her to repeat herself because something was off with the date. Way off!
Fran couldn’t have told me because my old friend was diagnosed with cancer after the last time I spoke to Fran. After, when Fran was no longer able to verbally communicate. But, I’m sure Fran did tell me.
“OK, Fran, now what?”
I have paddle boarded in lakes and oceans by the side of playful dolphins, a curious manatee, and a world of aquatic wonderment both seen and unseen.
Last summer, my daughter and I paddled near a school of feeding tarpon – to this day my daughter swears up and down they were sharks. They weren’t sharks, they were tarpon. Big tarpon, but tarpon!
If you ever get the opportunity to stand up paddle board, you absolutely should. A lot of people call is SUP boarding. Oh, who am I kidding, I just made that up because it reminds me of Crush, the turtle in Finding Nemo.
Honestly, I have heard a few people call it that, so that’s what I’ll call it in this blog.
Here are three reasons why SUP boarding is worth a try (See important safety information at the end of this article please*):
Unlike canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing, or other partaking in a sport on other water vessels, you can stand, sit or lie down on a SUP board.
Now you are probably thinking, but hey, wait a second, doesn’t the name of the board suggest that you have to stand up on the board. That’s part of the beauty of SUP boarding. You can rebel against the system and sit down. Dude, you can even lie down. Some boards have built-in chairs so you can fish off your SUP board.
The paddle is adjustable so you can shorten it for those times when you want to just be you and sit on your SUP board.
Stand up and paddle for a few miles if you prefer, and then lie down and take a nap.
It’s all good!
Don’t feel like sitting, lying, or standing? Then, dude, you can kneel in vajrasana. Speaking of vajrasana, you can even do yoga on your SUP board!
SUP boards maintain their balance so you can change your mind on what position you prefer. That creates a much more free feeling that you don’t get in, say, a kayak.
There is no loud motor coughing up the air with a SUP board. The only sound is your paddle dipping quietly into the water.
Maybe there is an occasional curse word if you lose your balance while attempting a headstand on your board. Maybe.
Maybe there is an occasional, “Oh my GOD, MOM, THOSE ARE SHARKS,” coming from your paddle companion. Maybe.
For the most part, it’s just you and nature.
A few weeks back, I was out on the lake paddle boarding with my husband. A great blue heron flew by, and we were able to hear the woosh-woosh of his giant wings as he traveled over us. We breathed in the sound, feeling the energy of his flight.
When you are standing, sitting, kneeling or lying down on your SUP board, there are only a few small inches between you and the water.
You might not be able to walk on water, but with a SUP board, you can stand on water.
When I had the lucky experience a few years ago of paddling beside five dolphins, I was so close to the water that I could feel their massive strength as they swam. Although I wasn’t swimming with them, I had the experience of being one with them.
Once, a manatee’s curiosity with me and my board allowed me to be one with his world. As I paddled, he’d peek his head out of the water and stare at me before submerging his head, body, then his giant tail.
I am pretty sure my daughter wished we were the height of an ocean liner when we encountered the tarpon on a feeding frenzy. Instead, we were inches from the water.
When you are on the water, there’s a whole world below you: a world of aquatic wonderment. Being so close to the water helps you feel connected to that amazing world.
The quiet of the SUP board helps increase your awareness in the present moment.
The ability to just be you on the board adds a sense of freedom to the overall experience.
Go on. Give it a try. Dude, SUP board!
* When possible, don’t SUP board alone. Always bring (or even better, wear) a life jacket. Always carry a bottle of water on your board. Wear sunscreen. Make sure you keep your cell phone and keys in a waterproof container that floats in case you fall while working on your hip hop moves (not that that has ever happened to me). Don’t mess with aquatic animals, just let them be.