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Focusing the Dragon

By Joanne Gardocki

There is one more thing for the list of joys returning with the spring. Along with bulbs, babies, neighbors, robins, Easter and blue skies, there is one more treasured resurrection on my list now. The dragon boats are back in the water. The team is reunited; we are home again.

The dragon climbed right into my heart and made a home there in 2016, along with the team, coaches, youth and the community at the park. There are muddy foot prints and treasures down to my bones and deep in my soul. There is nothing that quite compares to the embrace of being part of a team. There is nothing that prepared me for the nagging emptiness over the last five months off season, waiting for the dragon to return.

For one who plays the catalyst and wears many hats, one who feels like they have resume bullet points testifying to moving the immoveable, or worse, herding cats, the experience of paddling in a dragon boat can be the ultimate freedom. There is nothing like the sweet simplicity of being told where to sit and having only one job: paddle in time. The synchronized movement is active meditation releasing everything except the present moment and the drive to paddle. During races, there is such diamond hard focus of mind, body and breath; it is beyond any experience I can name.

Like a gong sounding, it is time to gather up the equipment and organize for practice. It is time to leave the shreds of off season workouts and return to our boat. It is time to focus the dragon on bringing our best to the team.

There is truth in the duality, as an individual, there is very little need for me to “win” but I will give all I have striving, pushing, digging deep for our team to win. There is a new place within, filled with the quiet calm of potential, like a coiled spring that exists because of that dragon. We are more than we were and we are more than the sum of individuals in a boat, as well.

I could prattle on about the benefits of exercise but one needs to experience hard muscle where once there was none. Words are empty compared to the experience of a sharp, creative mind and eyes brightly focused on living adventure. Stories are just that, stories, until one becomes part of the team and the dragon and the story.

Cherish the spring and the vital energy of new beginnings. Open your lists of treasures that unfold with the energy flowing at this time of year. Embrace opportunities for clearing the old and building new growth. Who knows where the future will take you. Look sharp for the opportunities around the next corner. Reach for the growth that is beyond your comfort zone. As for me, I know not where I shall be called but I do know I will be riding a dragon.