DadsNews


Volume 1, Number 7

May 10, 2005


In this issue:

  1. Greetings!
  2. Feature: Fossils and Fountains
  3. Quote of the Month
  4. More Goodies...


  5. Greetings!

    The flowers on the magnolia tree outside our dining room window have finally popped open. I'm outside in the garden every chance I get. Sure, I've dropped a a few new lily bulbs and other perennials into the dirt - mostly I just walk around and look to see what's grown since my last walk a couple of hours ago...

    As an avowed "winterphile," I never really knew what to do with warm weather. Then, one summer while living in New Jersey, I discovered that I had the same strange condition that had so painfully afflicted my father and younger sister...

    I was diagnosed as a gardener. Yup, I could grow plants, and since that pivotal moment, life has not been the same...

    It hurts to admit it, but I rarely complain about the end of winter anymore. (OK, maybe just a little...) The seasons flow more easily than they used to. Truth is, I found a passionate pursuit in digging in the soil. It's become another creative path built around a medium of patience and intention. Every year the gardens teach me more about waiting, magic, trusting, and the flowing of seasons... I also learn subtle lessons about water and earth - and change over time.

    ...All of which leads us to this month's feature, "Fossils and Fountains." While witnessing the seasons on the hill and in the garden is one way of measuring - and enjoying - the passage of time, there are other adventures into the tick-tocking universe that shine a very different light on the big temporal enchilada. Hence we dip our toes in the chill waters at Lee's Ferry and begin our little float down the mighty Colorado...

    Pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, make sure you'r drybag is properly sealed, and get ready to do some high-siding...

    Oh, and before you get soaking wet, if you're not yet a regular DadsNews recipient, then please accept this invitation to jump aboard!

    Keep those virtual cards and letters coming - I love to hear from you...

    Cheers!

    Ken


    Feature Story: Fossils and Fountains

    There are places in the world you can visit and, however hard you try, neither words nor pictures can do them justice.

    Eleven years ago - May of 1994 - Danielle and I flew to Salt Lake City, climbed into my brother's van, and headed off toward Lee's Ferry - the rather unassuming put-in point for raft trips on the Colorado River.

    My brother, Ralph, had organized the trip. He had given us solid advice on packing: "Lay out the minimum amount of clothing and incidentals you think you'll need, and once you have it down to the bare essentials, put two-thirds of what's left back where it came from. You won't need it." On still and video cameras, he instructed us: "Leave them home. If you see the river through a view-finder, you won't see the river."

    I didn't know exactly what he meant, but I took his words to heart and left the camera, film and just about everything else at home...

    After a windy night spent in a flapping tent, followed by a morning orientation with a National Park Service Ranger, (essentially a review of all the poisonous critters and human foibles that can land you in deep poop at the bottom of a very, very big ditch) our party of thirteen boarded five inflatable rafts, pushed away from shore, and dipped our collective oars into the river that would become our home, entertainment, bath, mode of conveyance, spiritual guide and beer-cooler for the next twenty days...

    To be fair, I must let you know that the entire adventure would take days and many pages to tell. So forgive me in advance and accept this caveat: as epic river stories go, this is going to be a complete tease...

    We fell into a routine pretty quickly: eat, paddle, eat, paddle, eat, sleep, repeat. If there was a hike planned for a specific day, we worked it in between an eat and a paddle. Those of us who were new to life on the river took our turns paddling on flat water and small riffles, cutting our teeth on the easy stuff while giving our more experienced oarsmen and women a break. After all, we wanted them fresh for the big water.

    Day two found us at House Rock rapid early in the morning, where I had my first real experience of the power and sheer size of the Colorado River. I was on an eighteen-foot raft - the largest of our boats - with Mark, our designated oarsman, and Tina, keeper of the ceremonial teddy bear. After surveying the rapid from shore and discussing our approach with the other oarsmen, Mark picked his line, pointed us down-river and, miscalculating the speed and direction of the water, landed our boat dead-center of a huge hole that ended in a towering standing wave the height of a two-story house. The front of our raft buckled as we slammed through the hole and caught the face of the wave, pinning my legs against a food locker as I threw my upper body against the raft's broad rubber bow to keep us from flopping over. We went through the top of the wave, soaked to the bone, yet somehow managing to stay right-side up.

    It was a moment of instant education - this River is cold, very wet, and when it piles up that high, it ain't messing around...

    I decided to take off my watch sometime around day three, shortly after our stop at Vasey's Paradise, a powerful, idyllic fresh water fountain that flows out of a hole in the canyon wall, splashing down to the river over broken rocks covered by a lush, dark green mat of poison ivy. (Supposedly, the water that we filled our containers with at Vasey's Paradise fell to the ground as rain and snow hundreds of years ago...) An hour later, we were exploring a side-canyon filled with the fossils of ancient nautiloids - shelled creatures that pre-dated the dinosaurs by hundreds of millions of years.

    By the end of our first week, my sense of time had been completely re-tuned. I couldn't tell whether it was Sunday or Wednesday, and it really didn't make a difference. Our menu became our calendar: If the stir-fry was scheduled between the pasta and the tostadas, and we had had pasta last night, then tonight must be stir-fry, and this must be day nine...

    In the Inner Gorge, the river becomes quite narrow, and the world is reduced to little more than vertical rock, slightly tilted water, and sky. The walls of the Inner Gorge are formed from the oldest exposed rock on the planet, and the powerfully spiritual feeling of the place is beyond description.

    Whether one is witnessing Creation or being witnessed by Creation, who's to say? Either way, deep within the core of a living Earth - it's a sensation that cuts to the core of one's being - and stays there...

    Time on the river is different. Without artificial light, it makes sense to go to sleep when darkness falls. Waking happens when the sun comes up. On cloudless nights under a full moon, one canyon wall is in deep, ink black - shadow while the opposite wall is glowing grey-blue, with every layer of strata visible. Water that was snow months ago flows past native ruins high on a cliff-side. People lived here, carved or painted on the walls, left their apartments in the rock and simply vanished.

    There is so much more to tell - the wonders of Elves Chasm, blasting through Horn Rapid sideways, the joy and terror of taking the oars and rowing through my first rapid... and there's little room to tell it here...

    There are lessons to be learned on adventures such as this. The truths of those lessons span not years or generations, but geological periods. Lessons about relationships between expedition members. Lessons about service, leadership and keeping one another safe and well. Lessons about listening to the rhythms of water and stone. Lessons about patience and observing. Lessons about simplicity and wonder. Lessons about living in the moment, and in that moment, seeing all of time in a billion year-old rock wall. Lessons, finally, about the measures and pace of time and change...

    I'll bring my son to the river when we are both a few years older. I trust my brother and Danielle will be with me, too. To some of us, the rock will look the same. To my son, a new world will open and reveal itself. To the rock, we will look much different than we did many years ago...

    I'll breathe deeply and pull on the oars, smiling at the same rock I saw years ago - the same rock Powell saw back in 1869. I trust that the rock, recognizing our very different brands of shared impermanence, will smile back...


    Quote of the Month

    You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.

    Heraclitus


    More Goodies...

    "A Better Way to Work"

    The heart of any fulfilling, successful and sustainable business flows best from deep within the heart of those creating it...
    "A Better Way to Work" is a juicy, lively 5-Month intensive program for men, women or couples starting off in pursuit of their entrepreneurial calling. Send me a note or gimme a ring at 518.580.0550.


    Creativity: Power, Paradox and Birthright

    This one-hour intro teleclass is for you if you want:
    • To build a solid connection to your creative energies.
    • A clear understanding of the paradox with which creativity is held in our society.
    • To claim your creative birthright – essential for a rich and fulfilling life.
    • Recognize new pathways to creative expression in business and everyday life.
    • To begin to take creative action in this moment.

    Creativity is held in a paradoxical fashion in our society. While we strongly encourage creativity in our children, we tend to marginalize the value of creativity as adults. We offer adulation and star status to actors, musicians and other artists, yet doubt the creative spirit within ourselves.

    Across the ages creative expression has been a hallmark of the human experience. The urge to create is as much a part of our individual experience as it is our human cultural history. From ancient cave paintings to working your mojo in the kitchen with your stereo blasting while no one is looking, creativity will always seek an expression. The Muse will bite. How you choose to respond is your business…

    “Creativity: Power, Paradox and Birthright” is a fun - and occasionally irreverent - invitation to explore and respond to creative urges. If you’ve ever dreamed of tapping your creative energies – whether to increase your business bottom line, or simply to expand your range and appreciation for full-out living – this is the place to begin.

    The Buzz:

    “I am now very much centered with the fact that I’m an incredibly creative person. I’m even somewhat artistic. I’ve more confidence in myself, and more trust…”

    “Suddenly I got that I could just sit down and write a book. It’s a breakthrough in my ability to see the actual possibility of writing something that people will pick up and read!”

    “I'm bitten - I mean smitten..!”

    The Facts:
    • Dates: Thursdays, (choose one) May 12, 19, and 26, 2005
    • Time: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Eastern Time. (8:00 to 9:00 AM PST)
    • Tuition: Zippo…
    • Materials: Just bring yourself, the biggest piece of paper you can find, (your nice, newly painted wall will work, too…) and something to draw or write with…
    • To register: drop a note or call Ken at 518.580.0550.


    Mark Brandenburg and I have been revving up the engines over at the CoActive Network's Fatherhood Community. On Wednesday evening, May 25th we'll be joined by Joe Kelly, author, activist and founder of "Dads and Daughters." Membership will run you a grin and two minutes of computer time. The grin is optional, of course, but much appreciated...

    We've also put together an audio CD - "Ten Secrets of Effective Fathering," which is now availble. Drop me a line to learn how to get one...


    More cool stuff coming at Coachville's "Awesome Dads" community, including a live interview with "Chicken Soup for the Father's Soul" (and other "Chicken Soup" books) author Jack Canfield on Thursday evening, May 17th. Lots happening - run over and have a look-see...

    More Fatherly resources are available on the Cirrus site.


    Coaching News

    On the coaching front, I'm setting up sample appointments for the third week in June and beyond. Ready for a 45-minute test drive? Let's set it up! On the house, of course!


    Feedback for DadsNews - or a simple "howdy!" - is always welcome. Send me a note!

    More cool stuff is available at the Cirrus Leadership website!

    Next issue of DadsNews: June 10, 2005. Until then, find a river to splash around in, have fun and try something new and different!!!


    DadsNews ©2005, Kenneth Mossman, Cirrus Leadership® - Use and distribution permitted and encouraged, providing attribution is... well, attributed!