Each morning at dawn you’ll find me in my kayak on Tampa Bay. For me, it has become part exercise…part church. It’s a place where I can silence my mind and just listen to the rhythmic sound of my paddles quietly entering the water with each stroke. Beginning each day on the water brings with it new surprises. Some days the water is like glass…perfectly quiet and smooth. Some days the winds create a slight chop in the water which makes paddling a bit more challenging. Also, as I navigate out of my neighborhood and into the open bay, I am sometimes met with different water conditions based on the intensity and direction of the wind. Like life, changing conditions are around every corner.
What I’ve also come to learn from my early morning kayaking is how deceptive a cross current is. It’s one of those currents that approach my kayak not straight on or from behind…but at an angle. Those are difficult because when I look at the chopping waves of the cross current approaching my kayak, I can get disoriented from the direction I am trying to paddle and my kayak ends up moving in the direction the current is moving…rather than remaining true to my intended heading. It literally makes me dizzy if I look at it!
So, what I’ve learned to do is to ignore the current entirely… and instead, pick a single point on the shoreline to paddle towards. Single point of focus. This way I can maintain my heading…
Hmmm…that sounds like good life advice as well!
All too often, we find ourselves going through life and without thinking about it, we find a “cultural cross current” acting on us. Unlike the currents that hit you head on (which we can all deal with)…or power you from behind (which we all love), these currents are deceptive. They are sneaky and are constantly trying to divert you from your intended heading.
So what if you don’t have a heading?
That is a problem… Without a single point of focus off in the distance to move toward, you’ll most likely soon find yourself way off course! Why? Because that’s what the “cultural cross current” wants. It wants to take you off course…even it has no real place to take you to…it just wants to interrupt your heading.
I have seen this play out in real life all too often. Many people I know have been taken off course by a variety of “cultural cross currents” pulling them away from their path. They are so common to us, we barely recognize them, so let me list a few just so you know where to spot them:
- Most TV shows
- TV Commercials of all types
- The News
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Some friends…and even some family
- Social Media and cell phones in general.
Currents are a fact of life and when you’re on the water…currents are a part of the environment. We can’t fight them…but we also can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore them and their potential impact and influence on our heading.
Pick a spot out on your horizon…and row steadily towards it…and most likely…you’ll be fine.