Rivers have been and continue to be some of my most powerful teachers.
I have been intrigued by them since I was very small. I would play in creeks, streams and rivers whenever I could. I still do.
My Mom, Jeep Lindsay was an elementary school teacher but for two summers in the late 1970's she became a river guide on California's South Fork American River. She took me down my first stretch of whitewater when I was nine years old. It made an impact. I could not believe that a person could actually do something like that for a job or that adults could have so much fun at work and in life. The river bug had bit me.
At the age of nineteen I got my first job as a guide and quickly journeyed to various drainages in North and South America to ply my new trade and live a life as a guide. I was fortunate enough to see some sections of canyon that are now flooded behind dams. I had grand adventures and lived and worked with some of the most vibrant, hard-working, honorable humans I have ever known.
I continue to guide rivers.
Over the years my relationship with them has morphed and changed. As a younger man I went to the river with a need to prove myself, test my mettle, take risks and be daring and strong — an ego trip. I acquired pictures of myself captaining rafts through rapids such as "Troublemaker", "Clavey Falls", and "Confusion". I gave them to my parents as gifts.
I shot and produced whitewater videos of kayaks and rafts navigating foaming rapids. My focus was on the people and their experience. The drama of "man against nature" was the unspoken yet obvious story I was telling.
These days I don't seek to define myself and others as conquerors and heroes, focusing instead on the river itself. I sit at the feet of the river and acknowledge it as the Teacher that it is. My time in Nature is about my desire to connect - to both receive and BE received by my Larger Body.
I still put people in my river videos but the river, water, and canyon are the stars of the show now.
The soundtracks have changed too. Instead of victorious, haunting or dramatic music I use mostly natural soundscapes. Lately I have taken an interest in creating nature meditation videos with the sound of Ujayi Pranayama breathing.
These are breathing meditation videos. My intention is for the viewer to use their Ujayi Pranayama breath while they watch, that they slow down, and drop into their body.
Here is a video I shot last week while guiding and teaching on Idaho's Selway River.
Please set aside three quiet minutes to sit mindfully and breathe with this short meditation. Notice how the sounds and images affect you.