The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
I recently had to fly across the country to California on a quick business trip. To spend the morning looking out at the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, and then to sleep in the comfort of my own bed at home in Florida that evening is a marvel of modern living that will never cease to amaze me. And it also makes me think about how the principles of purposeful and sustainable living are the same no matter how far we go from home.
Coming from Florida, the sagebrush and desert landscape of southern California is vastly different from the one I call home. Only about 12 inches of rain fall there every year, while my front yard sees 65 inches a year on average. The plants, the animals, the ecosystems, and even the way humans build their homes is necessarily different between the two places. What’s not different are the principles that drive the ecology of natural systems. Plants and animals respond to their environment and adapt to thrive no matter where they are.
In arid southern California, plants develop deep root systems, fleshy leaves that hold moisture, and adaptations to occasional fires such as the ability to release seeds with wildfires to take advantage of bare soil. Animals burrow into the ground seeking cooler temperatures, while others do so to wait-out the many months between rainy seasons, emerging from dormancy to quickly exploit the sudden presence of water.
The principles of healthy living also are universal. On my visit I celebrated the dry air and warm winter sun on my face, and adapted to the local environment by drinking a little more water to make-up for the arid climate. That’s showing respect for local conditions. Yet while I did adapt to my new environment, most of my daily life actually remained the same despite being in a place so different than my home environment. Even through long days of work, I made time for yoga and frequent walks in the fresh air—just like at home.
Most importantly, however, I brought with me my own internal happiness that translates to wherever I go, independently of how hot, cold, wet, dry or otherwise challenging a place may be. In developing a solid set of principles for deliberate living, we choose to create our own internal environment of mental and physical well-being.
Unlike the southern California fairy shrimp and its eggs that can lie dormant as long as ten years between rains, humans have the ability to choose to thrive and live purposefully today. Right now. There’s no need to wait. And when we make that choice, our relationship with the planet and ourselves is one of happiness and health.
Standing Up for the Planet by Bob Purdy
Here I sit at “Bliss Cafe” in Peachland, my favourite coffee shop in in the Valley, and there is not a thought in my head! It is a typical grey winter day, even though March is upon us, and my view out the window is spectacular!
Bliss sits across the street from Okanagan Lake and there is a cold north wind blowing stirring up the water with mini waves. The lake is about a mile across here, and on the other side is Okanagan Mountain Park, made up of several of the many mountains that grace this valley. This side of the street has several old growth trees, both deciduous and evergreen. It is snowing lightly, and I find myself people watching and indulging the no thoughts that are going through my head.
Bliss is a busy place. It is a favorite of a lot of people, and the traffic in and out of here is very comparable to the traffic at an ant hill. It’s like a happy place on caffeine! Bliss makes all its own goodies and bread, definitely one of the top bakeries you will find anywhere. People are drawn here like moths to a light.
The city of Peachland is one of the few places that gave thought to how lakeshore could be developed. All the buildings are across the street from the lake, and they have created a walk that goes the entire length of the community. A person can park anywhere along the road that is set back from the water and enjoy all the lake has to offer. Sharon and I lived just up the street on Beach Avenue for 13 years. We have been gone for 16 years, and are still drawn to this place almost weekly for a walk, beach day, visit, etc followed by a trip to Bliss!
When you enter Bliss, chances are you are going to have to wait in line, many times a line that goes all the way to the street. Bliss has become a big hit in the community, on any given day you can find people from all over the World who landed here by design, or by accident. Clearly there is an attraction here at Bliss. Great food, great coffee, great treats, great people, great location, that is the magic formula that makes Bliss such a great hit!
I have known the owners for many years, and when they told me they were going to open Bliss, and showed me the location, I knew Bliss would be successful. They had all the elements of success, location, location, location! That, and they are really good at what they do! It has been a few years since they opened the doors for the first time, and with all their hard work, they have created a masterpiece in a little slice of paradise! Bliss is everything they pictured and worked for!
I am quite easily distracted, and I often find myself wondering what drives all the people to visit Bliss. I know some arrange to meet friends to “Talk Story”. For many the treats and coffee are reason enough. Lots come after a walk, bike ride roller blade or dog walk down the beach. Some come to buy stuff for a picnic and a dip in the lake. There is always at least one person who insists that Bliss is a great office to catch up on work. Local lore has it that there is one guy comes in to warm up after paddling, even in the winter!
Whatever the reason, it is quite clear that Bliss is magic! Bliss accommodates people of all stripes for all kinds of reasons. There is no labeling or judgement at Bliss, they will happily serve you doubles of anything if you want, guilt free! Which is a good thing ‘cause I just had a thought! I think I will go get me a Tiramisu and a Tea! Break time is over, I have a deadline to meet!…
Join Bob Purdy and Leslie Kolovich for the 3rd Annual World Paddle For The Planet September 13, 2014 in Tofino, British Columbia.
Check out the movie that is being made about Bob’s passion for the Planet called The Paddler, find out how you can help support it.
I Am… Completely embracing the feeling I had while first reading the story of Pope Francis’s declaration. Groups everywhere are jumping in posting “don’t believe!It’s a hoax”! I get this funny picture in my minds eye of all these church people of all kinds scrambling around frantically to prove it a hoax. Well, ok he didn’t say it, but just imagine if he did.
It was sort of a feeling that the divine had truly had enough with the way humanity on this planet was using, and abusing, the most sacred connection to our souls, and gave the courage and insight to someone who could make a difference, the Pope.
I quote from the article: “Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God”.
I invite us all to really think beyond our comfort zones and fears. Ask yourself, what if we believed in a “God” like this?
I quote from the article: “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children.Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”
Again, how beautiful a statement? Is this message just too simple for our complex lives? It has been my experience that unconditional love is powerful. Of course there are complexities to simple,and all different kinds of scenarios that can be brought up, but consider for a moment this one.
What if: During the time when Jesus Christ was performing miracles, and teaching through the power of loving unconditionally the Kings and rulers of the times would have just simply learned from him? I feel those in power saw Jesus teaching and treating the common person to trust the pure connection we all have to God as dangerous. There may not be a need to pay and work for a King to build his castles or build his armies if everyone had a direct connection with the creator. Kings and powerful rulers cut this connection off quickly, the connection that Jesus Christ was offering in his life, and life style of teaching unconditional love. This was taken away from the common person and sides were formed and rules of religion defining how one should think on the matters of the soul became unbreakable laws with penalties of unthinkable torture and slow deaths. Kings, rulers and those in power took spirituality away from humanity and replaced it with fear, hate, judgment, greed and power, and called it Religion. This, in my humble and uneducated opinion created the fear of owning our own ability to be connected with source, with God.
More and more people are having personal connections to “God” that are not coming through a “religion” and feeling confused even scared to trust these connections because of the stronghold of the “churches”. I have read there actually is a new category for people as it relates to religion, it’s called SBNR, Spiritual But Not Religious. More people are understanding, and seeing there is a difference. Trusting the personal connection we ALL have to God is finally breaking through. It’s sort of a spiritual revolution. Honestly I believe this new Pope understands this completely. The old chains of the greed, power, control in the name of God can be broken. Trusting in what I believe our creator wants most for humanity is for all of us to experience life together and understand the full spectrum of living in all it’s glorious offerings. Living a life driven by fear restricts the “wholeness” of life itself.
Just imagine once again, if the Catholic church opened up in this way to the world, I think the churches would be filled again, but for a completely different reason, people truly could have a home within a “religion” that just offered it’s beautiful spaces for personal meditation and connection or re-connection to God. Spaces of equality and genuine caring for all who walked through the doors. An even better thought, what if all churches opened up this way? Just imagine the significant changes in the total vibration that would be felt around the planet. I believe it would be a Christ Like Miracle. With that said, I do with all my heart believe in miracles.
So as I jump back on Facebook and see all the comments, the scrambling for links declaring a hoax to the Pope’s speech I will continue to place value on the words that someone else wrote with gratitude and love because it made my heart fill with hope and light. ~Love Leslie Kolovich
PS: I have always said, once a woman can become Prophet or Pope that is the day I will walk back into the doors of religion. Just imagine.
My personal spiritual journey, a look at an experience that opened more than doors for healing and growth.
As many of you know June of 2012 I traveled to British Columbia to meet and report on Paddle for the Planet’s Bob Purdy’s first World Paddle as he paddled the length of Lake Okanagan 80 miles. This experience changed my life. All the elements for a spiritual awakening were present, and as I look at it now, I realize my life had been preparing me for that very moment. The environment, with the majesty of
the mountains surrounding the incredible lake, the spirit of the First Nations People both in struggle and peace, the energies of the Universe with so many true healers in one place including my hosts, Bob and Sharon Purdy, all combined created a safe portal for my true self to “see”.
I was awakened to my calling of healing through compassion, love, and peace through an amazing experience of speaking to spirits of those who have passed before me, and a journey through several lifetimes of places and environments that my physical body has never seen before. I saw through the eyes of a great eagle, breathed deep in the ocean as fish, sparkled in the universe as a star, felt red clay walls of a cliff dwelling, saw the faces of ancient children who stood behind my out stretched arms with words “protector of peace” coming to me 3 times. I glided across huge mountain ranges silently as if part of the wind, swirling shooting stars funneled downward to be recognized as sperm traveling into a birth canal.
I now know this experience is called Astral Traveling. I had no knowledge even of the word at this point, all I knew is that I truly experienced something extraordinary. The actual date was June 21st, summer solstice, after a week of deep connection to the water spirit, the soul of nature, and to the planet in the Okanagan Valley. This was witnessed by my photographer and best friend, Joan Vienot who shared the space we called home for 10 days at the Purdy’s. It had to be witnessed or no one would believe me. I do not use drugs, I rarely drink alcohol and on this particular trip we were eating so organically and clean my body was in pure health.
I was fully aware and talking out loud to Joan as it happened. In fact, it all started with me waking up in bed around midnight and matter-of-factly commanding her to not talk, and to listen and remember. She sat up immediately on the bed across from me as she knew from the tone of my voice she needed to pay attention. I kept rubbing my eyes to see if they were open, they were not, the images were clear as day. Between each event my body would breath so deeply it felt like air was reaching the bottoms of my feet. I saw and described in detail each place as if it was a personal IMax movie screen with 3D glasses. After about an hour I finally said, “I think I’ve had enough for tonight” and my body sank into the bed for sleep. When I woke I looked at Joan across the room with a confused and dazed look, and asked if I was I dreaming? She shook her head and said, “no”. I was exhausted, but eager to talk this out with Bob and Sharon to see if I had gone completely crazy. I sat on their couch telling the experience and was overcome with great emotion. They both knew exactly what I had experienced. They nurtured my soul and physical body with nutrition and a peaceful environment as I still was trying to make sense of it all.
I had planned on competing in the Kal Classic Stand Up Paddle race that day in which Bob said, “I think you should not race and just take it easy today”. That was the first time I welcomed a stay off the board idea. We went to the event on the shores of Lake Kalamalka in Vernon BC. It was bustling with pre-race energy, a bit rainy and cold. I went into stealth mode, flying low and under the radar of the crowd. I was there, but almost as if I was outside of my body watching. My senses were so heightened. I could hear each raindrop on my hat individually, my sight was crystal clear seeing distances and details. I felt my heart beating and the movement of blood and oxygen in my veins. The sounds of nature, the feeling of the weather on my skin seemed personal. I sat off on the dock away from the beach where paddlers were lining up to race. I could hear the start, the frantic paddling and board knocking as the paddlers set off in competition. My heart rate remained calm and steady the noise of the competition fading to background sound as I only now could hear the water splashing up against the dock I was sitting on alone. The traveling happened again that night, but with an action of protecting a shoreline from a great wave. Incredible images continue to present themselves to me which I believe are gifts from our creator, angels and guides. Wonderful people continue to come into my life to guide, lift and support and be supported.
The story doesn’t end here, and of course it didn’t begin here. This experience of huge growth came at a time when I was ready, and perhaps because I can serve in a greater way at this timeline on earth. There is so much more to tell, but this is all for now. As I write I can see how my most recent experiences with my jaw and forced time out are all playing a role in my spiritual growth. I used to be fearful of telling this story as I was worried people would think I was crazy, just like the fear I used to have about telling my story of sexual abuse. Fear traps and paralyses growth. Our paths must have obstacles to help us grow, experience, feel, understand, and overcome that which scares us the most,”the human experience”. Be fearless today, be gentle to your soul with love being the ultimate goal and with that know that everything is possible.
Thank you for your continued well wishes and healing prayers and energy. Love~Leslie Kolovich
September 27, 2009, Jordanelle Reservoir, Park City Utah. First interview with Dr. Bob and Betsy Risner.
It was a beautiful Autumn afternoon in the Wasatch Mountains when I first met Bob and Besty Risner. I had traveled to Salt Lake from Florida to attend my volleyball reunion at the University of Utah. The Sport of Stand Up Paddling was on the verge of explosion inland USA to lakes and rivers. The Stand Up Paddle Radio Show had been producing weekly shows since the beginning of Summer talking to people from every corner of the globe who had found this new, but ancient activity we now called sport.
I met up with Utah Paddle Surfing’s founder Rebekka Stone. She was bringing the sport to the Great Salt Lake. She was in the know for all the Utahns who were becoming passionate for Stand Up Paddling.
She gave me a list of names I should contact including Bob and Besty Risner. She said this couple found the sport 10 weeks ago and had been paddling everyday since and were training to compete in the 2nd Annual Battle of The Paddle in Dana Point California, oh and, they were in their late 50s! I knew I needed to meet them.
One phone call and a paddle was scheduled on the Jordanelle Reservoir with this dynamic couple. As soon as I stepped out to meet them you could feel the high energy of Dr. Bob! He wears bright colors, orange and red it matches his energy of passion. The air was crisp, the water cold the altitude 7000 plus feet. They took care of this thin blooded girl from Florida and only made me do 6 miles. Dr. Bob and Betsy were kind to me, made me feel like family as they did with everyone they met who shared a love for the outdoors and especially paddling.
In this podcast interview you will hear the complete excitement of this new sport coming from Bob and Betsy, especially Bob. His story and life philosophy of living every moment within something you are passionate about resonates deeply today.
This interview was before everyone outside of California and Hawaii knew anything about the sport. We had just discovered that the Battle of the Paddle was the Super Bowl of racing in the ocean, and Dan Gavere was the first person to run white water on a stand up board, and that there were such things as race boards and differences in designs and manufacturers.
In this interview you hear pure passion from Bob. It was a lifestyle he and Betsy had found and wanted to promote to get people outdoors on the water. Bob and Betsy, originally from Ohio, moved to Utah, discovered a Stand Up Board in of all places a mountain sporting goods shop, and bought 2 on the spot. Bob describes his first outing as “disastrous with unexpected encounters with the water”, but he continued to find his balance and speed on the lake which he and Betsy paddled daily for at least 8 miles.
And after just 10 weeks he and Betsy took it all the way to the highest level of competition in the ocean in Dana Point California for the 2009 Battle in both races. They were all in. They became part of the thread in the tightly woven SUP community from the West coast to the East coast. Fierce competitors with the friendliest after parties around! There are so many memories of the early days that include Bob and Betsy and I am forever grateful for them.
With Bob’s unexpected passing this week it makes us take pause, and listen carefully to his words about living your passions. Bob lived every moment no doubt, could he have slowed down? I think not. In fact if one believes in reincarnation, Bob is already choosing his next adventure, if not, Bob is most likely having a conversation with the one in charge about redesigning angel wings for more speed and efficiency.
Our hearts go out to Betsy knowing the pain of this loss to her. Let the peace from the water be with you, and the love of your community hold you and know the passion and energy Bob carried can never be gone.
With love, respect, and great gratitude~ Leslie Kolovich