Going 'All In '
As I have paddled the waters of North America for the last year and a half, I have obviously had a great deal of time to reflect on many things, most of which are related to my Spirituality. That is, what do I now believe in and where do I find my faith, strength, and sense of peace. The subject of Spirituality is deep and complex, and not really something that can be described in a simple post. However, I believe that my concept of 'All In' is relevant and worthy of some discussion and might have an affect on how you approach your day to day life.
For me, as I have paddled and experienced a new and profound transformation in my life and my beliefs I have come to often think of this concept of 'All In'. What this has meant to me is that I try and make sure that my beliefs and my faith in the Universe and its forces, does not become subjective to the whims of my brain. What I mean is that it has to be all or nothing; you either believe and accept or you don't. No 70/30 for me anymore.
I have found that if I have faith at all times that things will work out; that the right thing will take place; I am always at complete peace. When my brain begins to wander and the voices in the head and the two shoulders begin to have some raging debate about something, that is when I get into trouble. The funny thing is that these debates can span the spectrum of mundane to complicated. One that often arises for me, especially on this Atlantic Coast Odyssey is simply where am I going to camp.
This coast is so populated that it is often difficult to find a spot that I feel comfortable pulling out and spending the night, which if I am not careful, can create a real sense of angst. Ironically, I first began to notice my concept of 'All In' up in Alaska last year over the same subject, camping. Well, when I turn off the brain, accept 100% that the right site will appear, I have never, not once in over 300 nights on the water, been disappointed or left hanging. I have been in the most bizarre places, begun to doubt, calmed my brain, and then the most beautiful sites have appeared. And I really do mean appear, out of the blue, and out of the 'Norm' for where I am currently at. I was in complete wetlands a few weeks ago, one of the small stretches of the ICW that I paddled and really beginning to doubt things. The Jersey shore was completely developed, no beaches at all. The few Islands that I found were bird sanctuaries full of nesting birds, and there was no way I could disturb them. It was getting dark and a storm was on the horizon. I silenced my doubts, and a house, in the middle of the channel appeared. I mean, it was built right up on top of the wetlands in the middle of the channel. I paddled over, and there it was, simply a perfect spot to camp and watch the setting sun and midnight stars. I have even more extreme examples, this just being one recent occurrence.
So I really began to believe in the concept of 'All In' and have now applied it to everything I do, and every situation that arises. It is a constant belief and faith that I have, that the Universe and all its wonder and beauty will take care of me. It is a silencing of the voices in my head and the raging debates they create, and instead being distracted by them, I choose to simply believe. Now, when good stuff is happening it is easy to follow this path. However, it is the stuff that we perceive as 'Bad' that really puts us to the test.
In large part, I believe this is because of our tendency to label the event as 'Bad' or 'Not Good'. Instead, I choose to now believe that it is all good, it is all simply part of the path, and it all works out the right way. The concept of going 'All In' is independent of what your faith is, of whether you believe in God, the Buddha, the Universe, or whatever. It is simply a reminder that we cant subjectively pick and choose where we believe and where we don't. If you go 'All In' on your faith, whatever it may be, the peace that results from that simple act is unlike anything I have ever encountered.
Take some time, see where you pick and choose on your faith, and then maybe spend some time just opening up to going 'All In' and see if it makes a difference in the peacefulness of your life. For me, I will never go back, my life is now 'All In'. The journey has begun and the ride is simply AWESOME.
Peace & Love