Art and Knowing · Trust Issues · Uncategorized

Improvising On Three Strings

The story that Itzhak Perlman played a concert on a violin with only three strings  appeared years ago. A string snapped and he finished the piece, “modulating and recomposing” in his head.  Afterwards, Perlman was said to have offered this insight: “It’s the artist’s task to see what music you can still make with what you have left.”*    violin

I think we find ourselves at times improvising with “what we have left.” We may have based a task or goal on certain emotional, mental or spiritual habits. They change. We find ourselves with only “three strings.” So how do we improvise with “what we have left” to stay focused on our goals?

I’m finding out. I have to admit a lot of bravado in my approach to water sports.  I would boast to friends that if I ever capsized sailing, I would eventually drift to shore and get poison ivy. Kayaking? Who capsizes doing that?

Once I launched my sailboat when the wind was too strong, convinced I could handle it. The feeling of being on the edge of capsizing was terrifying. I made it, but that feeling hasn’t left me. Then I capsized my kayak, twice in deep water. Both times I scrambled to safety, but I remember panic as I fell into the river.

Kayaks at Riverside Park, Greenville, PA.
Kayaks at Riverside Park, Greenville, PA.

I’ve overcome those feelings to kayak regularly, but getting out my sailboat has been harder. I can’t blame the lousy weather totally…I have to admit my bravado is gone. Other life events have increased my feelings of vulnerability.

I’ll sail again, but I’ll have to improvise on three strings.

So, Lora, what ‘cha got left?




* There may be issues with this story. See for their research.

Spiritual Places · Uncategorized

Ten Life Lessons Learned From Kayaking

A salute! as I near the end of a great season of paddling…some life lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Rally on the Shenango River in Pennsylvania
Rally on the Shenango River in Pennsylvania

1.  Respect the River, or it will remind you of your place in the universe.

2.  Prepare for the trip. You can’t bluff your way along.  Sooner or later you’ll be found out.

3.  When trouble comes, you can’t run home to Mom. You can’t quit. (There’s no exit.) You have to finish the trip. (Speaking from experience.)

4. Go with the flow. Understand the current and where it takes you.

5.  It’s true. Still waters really do run deep. They offer a respite from active water. But they are more work to paddle.

6.  Anticipate obstacles and plan ahead. If you hit them, they’re in charge.

7.  Be reminded how big the world is outside of you.   2013-09-14 13.16.03

8.  If disaster happens and you go over, your life jacket will intervene. Let your Protection and Safety work for you while you get yourself to shore. And Stay with the Boat. Stay with the Boat. Stay with the Boat.

9.  Experience is all fine and good, but stay humble. You don’t know it all.

10.  Yes, it’s risky.  But so is life.  So go ahead and dare, and have fun while you’re at it.

After capsizing, sans sunglasses (at the bottom of the river) Photo by Helene Dreisbach