Positive Pineapple Blog
Adventure is a lot like a Pineapple …
You often have to push through the spikey, uncomfortable exterior
before you can experience the sweet goodness hidden within.
This is a blog about our experiences, both the sweet and spikey, and we hope to inspire you to find your own tropical goodness, wherever you are.
Wild Water is Wise Water
We love Journeying Outdoors In Nature in all forms but one that holds a special place in our hearts is White Water.
There’s something about the magic, that accompanies natures original roller coaster, that draws us in. The adrenaline that pumps through our bodies, as we hear the roar of a rapid approaching from around the next bend. The grin that spreads across our faces upon successful completion, or if mishap avails, as we float down amongst our belongings, laughing.
The sacred wilderness we have discovered, often only accessible by river. Secret canyons and ancient hot springs, unknown to those who do not dare venture downstream to find them. We want to share these special places with you.
We have learnt many lessons from whitewater adventures, its beauty often disguising its power and wisdom. Here are our top three:
Go With The Flow
It may be a phrase associated with “hippie” advice, and one firmly adopted by the hawaiians to match their lava-like attitude of existence, but nothing can be truer than this when it comes to paddling rivers (and negotiating life). If you go with the flow, or where natural forces are taking you, it is much easier to succeed than if you try to fight against your surroundings. In a river, this phrase often refers to following where the most water is headed, as this is more likely to carry you through the obstacles, because you are working with the current. The important thing to remember is that in life, your “flow” may be vastly different to that of the majority, but it will be a path that when you are on it, feels effortless; as you are supported towards your destination by what is around you. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up doing what everyone else is doing, because it feels normal, so therefore is justified as being right. Just like the main channel of a rapid can be funnelled through the dangers of an overhanging tree, or keeper hole, the majority can often be mislead. So keep your peripherals open and an eye out for a sneaky side channel, because that may be where you end up finding YOUR own flow.
Look at the Positives
Ever find yourself thinking about what you should have or could have done in a situation? Or catch yourself reminding a friend not to do something because this, this and that might go wrong? It so easy to end up only looking at the fear and danger in a situation and this can often overshadow the good. Occasionally, when we stop to look at the bigger rapids I hear gasps and groans as people tend to spot the scary obstacles first. It is much more effective if you can channel that attention towards the positives, rather identifying where the water flows freely and where you intend to go. When we paddle a rapid we try to look for these features, because in general, where your attention goes, your energy flows. If we paddle a rapid and spend the whole time focusing on the rocks and holes we must avoid, more times than not we end up in them. Its like when you carry something precious and concentrate on not spilling it, this energy is much better funnelled into reminding yourself that you will carry it successfully, than being wasted on predicting possible disasters. So look at the positives, and you will find a way through, rather than giving energy and attention to making the negatives look more overwhelming. The river, like life, is full of obstacles, that are best conquered with your mind on your side, fertilising your garden of self belief..
Be flexible and open to changing plans
Some great advice we have gathered from a fellow whitewater instructor is to: “Always have a plan B…..and C and D”. She often reminds paddlers as they stop to scout a rapid, standing on the river bank planning a route through the rocks that lie ahead. On river, it can be very easy to put all your energy into planning to a tee the best way through a set of obstacles. Then once you start paddling, you can often find yourself in a completely different part of the rapid, purely due to a few unexpected bumps and bumbles. This is where all planning goes out the window and your ability to be in the moment, communicate well and draw on good coping mechanisms will get you through. Similarly I find this in life, we often get so caught up in making sequential plans yet it to only takes one cog in the chain to jam and we find ourselves pulled to a grinding halt or taken off in a totally different direction. So remember to be flexible, and do your best to adapt to what is happening right now. Even if you end up paddling backwards, or into unchartered territory, if you stay calm, positive and open to making new plans, you will put yourself in good stead to make it through unscathed, and a better person for the experience.
So as you can see white-water, or wise-water as we like to call it, has plenty of lessons to teach us. If you think this is something you would like to learn, sign up for our Introduction to Wild Water sessions through She Went Wild. We look forward to having you JOIN Us on an adventure sometime soon.
Earth Hour: Everyday
The television flickers and dies and we are finally set free. Back into the real world. The power shedding in Zambia means the electricity goes off for a few hours every day. Sometimes many, sometimes few. Lucky refrigeration is a new idea and the dried fish and stacks of eggs that always sat on the street side stalls, remain unphased and uncooled.
Most people would be frustrated by this, but I am so grateful.
When I walk the streets in the early morning, they are quiet. Aside from dimly lit windows and the echoes of TV programs, the early rays of sunlight are met by few; just those going to gather fresh goods to sell at the markets, and not many more.
My favourite time of day is when the power finally fizzles and cuts. The children creep out from every corner, their eyes squinting in the bright sunlight. Minutes later, the streets are alive with laughter. Games of tag and hide and seek entangle the back streets, makeshift soccer field are set up and small kids holding hands run with bare feet through puddles. It’s like when electricity leaves everyone rediscovers the real meaning of childhood. Or Wildhood. In my opinion: the way it should be.
Its tempting to find a way to incorporate insufficient power supply into my homeland (Australia), to encourage more children to venture outside. If that is all it takes, I think we should do it.
When the power goes off, even the adults, head outside. They gather around small charcoal stoves on the front steps of huts, the lack of electricity meaning the electric stoves have surrendered their duties to the simplistic art of kettle on fire. They huddle communally, their cups of tea facilitating an opportunity to notice the world around them and reconnect. They breathe the fresh air, pay attention to the weather, talk to their neighbours. Something so simple but so important for daily existence. Building a connection to place, people and the environment. They may feel powerless, but their simplistic existence is so powerful.
I join in a game of hopscotch, thinking it must be pretty universal and that my experiences playing as a child in Australia will overcome any language barrier. Golly, am I wrong – just when I thought the game was over, it was only beginning! It had ten levels and so many additional elements it became epic. I probably should have trained for this much hopping! Blindfolded, backwards, skipping squares and chanting mantras, it was a creation formed from hours of natural play. Simplistic to the point of just needing a few stones and a good drawing stick, but complex as a result of generations of additions and variations, facilitated by endless time to collaborate, create and be outside. It was magnificent, it was magical. It was so nice to be a part of. And it made me wonder, if any children in Australia play hopscotch anymore?
On Saturday, it’s Earth hour, an Australian-born initiative celebrating ten years of raising awareness of climate change, by encouraging people to switch off their lights. Participants spend the night by candlelight for just one hour, on one day of the year.
For many countries this is a daily existence. For some, electricity is still relatively unknown. This may conjure up feelings of pity and sorrow, for these places are yet to experience the frivolity of a 24 hour life style, fueled by artificial lighting and the world wide web.
Personally, these untouched places are some of my favourites in the world. I loved trekking through the mountains of Lesotho, and watching the small figures gather around fire pits after the sunset. LIstening to the quiet hum of solar powered radios and wind up torches in Kiribati, start up upon dusk. Celebrating as 9pm approached in the Philippines and the three hour window of electricity (that was primarily utilised for loud karaoke) came to a close. WIthout electricity everyone appeared much more intune with their surroundings, the stars were acknowledged nightly, not spotted rarely on a camping trip. The sunset clearly marked the end of the day, and lack of blue light and screen time, meant the natural release of melatonin ensured everyone slept most of the night.
So please, this weekend, JOIN Us and take the plunge. Unplug your lampshades, and duct tape your light switches. Dust off the candles, find a box of matches and enjoy the warm light they bring to your home. If you enjoy the experience, why not try to make it a habit? I know it can be difficult to resort to such neanderthal ways when convenience is always at our fingertips. Sometimes to truly connect, you must first disconnect from technology. And for the sake of the wellbeing of your family and our beautiful planet, it may be worth it.