Poised on the edge of the raft, my husband, two sons, and I waited for our guide’s signal to jump into the churning rapids of the Colorado River. Just before Wiley gave us the green light, he imparted some simple advice: “Hold on to each other. Breathe when it’s light, hold your breath when it’s dark.”
Over the side we went, and for the next several minutes the whitewater alternately dragged us under and tossed us up to the surface. We gulped air when we could and held our breath the rest of the time as we rode it out, clinging tightly to one another’s life jackets. Eventually the rapid spit us to the surface one last time, and the raft picked us up in the calm water downriver. All we could think about was doing it again.
Two years after our amazing week on the river, Wiley’s advice still resonates with me. And I’m convinced that navigating life’s “whitewater” often calls for the very same approach, in a metaphorical sense. Sometimes the best strategy is simply to ride out the turbulent patches, holding on to those closest to you, taking a breather when you can, and conserving your energy and air the rest of the time.
Our family adventure down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon was the trip of a lifetime for all four of us. The scenery was breathtaking, and the folks at Western River Expeditions provide the best guides, the best food, and the most exciting whitewater ride in the business. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that.
My novel, Yard Sale, is available at Amazon.