The First Day of Being a BagLady

06 January 2010

I believe in authenticity. And sometimes, I fall short. Sometimes I KNOW the right thing to do, will tell others how to do it, yet I'm not living the part myself.

Today I realized, as I was reading one of my eco-blogs I subscribe to, that I haven't taken the simplest step to reduce our trash. And that's the "reusable shopping bag". I've purchased a couple, sure...but at the store I still answer the question "paper or plastic" with whichever bag works best for me that day.

I live in Seattle, where eco-conciousness is at the nations peak. People bike to work, use reusable bottles and cups and we almost had a tax placed on plastic bags in grocery stores by the Seattle mayor to reduce use of the things. There really is no excuse for my behaviour, so it's gotta stop.

This year, I'm trying to become more responsible on a whole lot of fronts, and the environmental front is one of them.

Today is the day I start to answer, "Um...that's ok. I brought mine."

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You Go Girl!

04 January 2010

"YOU GO GIRL!" These three words are the newest addition to my "Motivation Wall" at GirlDiver World Headquarters. But not motivation for remind myself to always focus on becoming a motivator and cheerleader for others.

As 2010 comes in, I am finding my "place" in the larger world. The world beyond hoisting a tank on my back and leading divers down the stairs to the waters edge. Oh, don't get me wrong...I will still be teaching this year (as that's what puts the skip in my step), but I want to look beyond simply teaching scuba skills, when really, what I'm doing is offering my students (male and female) the ability to transcend their fears and become a part of a world only 1% of the world gets to explore.

Several times per year we teach a women's only scuba class. And I love these. The overall attitude of a womens only class is so much more encouraging and supportive for the women involved than a co-ed class. And I can say that, in spite of the fact that we have some of the most supportive co-ed scuba class experiences in the Seattle area. All egos are left at the door, and we cheer each other to the depths.

"You Go Girl", while a trendy phrase in today's conversations, is an attitude I will embody in 2010. "You Go Girl" a cheer for the little and BIG things the women in my life, both in scuba and out, accomplish.
How are you making a difference today as a cheerleader in your area of influence? I'd love to hear your thoughts below...

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Life Lesson #3

15 November 2009

Stay Calm When it All Falls Apart

Serena is one of my favorite teen students. She's 13 years old and a daredevil. Not that I've seen the daredevil side of her...for me, she was happy, polite and obedient, but her mother reports she's a bit of a daredevil.

We had finished her sisters certification dive and the waters were starting to get a bit rough. But this was the big day, and Serena was fine to go into the waves. When we entered the water, the surge was enough that I had Serena lay back in "relaxation pose #1" . I donned her fins for her, while she kept her regulator in her mouth. We descended beneath the churning sea and spent a half hour watching sea critters frolic on the floor of the Sound.

The ascent. Ouch. Our entry point, a set of stairs, was completely blocked by crashing waves and logs strewn across the waters surface. The waves were large, Serena was calm. I quickly thought of the other exit...the beach. As I spotted a large log coming straight for us, only a couple waves away, I looked at Serena (regulator still in mouth) and said, "Drop down and follow me."

We descended back to the calm of the bottom, swam around two piers, and re-emerged in deeper water in front of the beach entrance. Walking out was not an option, as the waves would hit Serena in the waist from the shore. I decided we'd low crawl. I explained to Serena we would swim into the shallows, then crawl on our hands and knees up onto the beach. She said sure, and down we went.

(Note: For divers from Northern California, this is how they dive...but in the Puget Sound, we don't get real waves. )

We hit the beach, began to crawl, but Serena being 13 could only make it halfway out, and without the water's lift helping her along, she crashed into the sand. She lay there, tossed and toppled by each wave, regulator still in her mouth, while her instructor unclipped her BCD clips so she could crawl out without the gear. Unclipped...up the shore she went.

At no point in the entire exit did Serena show any panic. No fear. Just calm. I was very thankful that day it was Serena, the daredevil, who simply trusted that all would be ok and her instructor would take care of the rest. While our exit was rough, it was emotionally uneventful and much easier to manage due to the calm when it all fell apart.

Sometimes in life, we need to stay calm when it's all falling apart. Look for another way out and realize that there may be challenges with the second option as well. But remaining focused on the outcome will assure that while the journey's tough, the ending will be satisfying.

I'd love to hear any examples of how you've stayed calm in the face of danger...we can all learn from others and grow stronger! Leave a comment below:

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Life Lesson #2

11 November 2009

Slow Down

There is a rhythm to the water, and the thickness of the body slows every movement, whether our breathing, our reach, our kick or vision. If we try to overpower the water, we become tired. Overexerted. We don't find the ease others speak of.

If we move as the water allows us, we slow down. It's not the same timing as Terra time, but we are no longer on Terra. We are in another world, and when in that world, we must adapt to the culture.

In my own life, I tend to hurry everything. Appointments are overbooked and sometimes family time becomes a task, not a pleasure. Instead of enjoying the pathway of life, I tend to focus on the end goal. Rushing to reach it, and becoming exhausted and frustrated in the process. Terra time.

When I bring Lesson #2 to land, I learn to move slower. It doesn't matter if you get to the end of the reef, it's what you see on the way. When I slow down, I notice the magical moments I would miss if I was always running as fast as I can. Sitting, as my granddaughter MacKenzie sleeps for two hours, without worrying about all of the things I could be accomplishing if I weren't waiting. Instead, focusing on the child resting peacefully, without a care, on grandma's couch. Knowing these moments, like those of my children's youth, are precious few and soon will be gone.

To move slow. To realize the end of the reef is not the most important part of the journey. It's the moments along the way. And if the end of the reef is not reached, there will still be enriching moments found in the crags and crevices explored on the journey. Unexpected surprises one would have missed, if only the end was in sight.
How do you take time to "be slow and in the moment" in your daily life? Comment below:

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