On the 16th of April, 2011 I found myself in the middle of the mighty Columbia River struggling to stay alive. It was my birthday and each birthday I require of myself to do at least at three athletic feats. I'm obsessive compulsive. I like living on the edge. I like Athletic Activities Like Wind, surfing, surfing, mountain biking, riding motorcycles, activities that allow me to feel the forces of nature and take me to the edge of my ability, but one never wants to find oneself on the wrong side of that edge. That day I had done a [inaudible] workout. I'd been on a bike ride and now I want to do wind surf.
During spring, the snow melts and the river swells bringing frigid water in, very strong currents. The wind was light, but I was determined to get out. I launched from an isolated site where the river is well over a mile, a mile wide. I knew the wind was too light, but I was certain I could make it happen. I called one puff of air and sailed out in the middle of the river. The wind shut down completely. I started swimming back, dragging my board and sail. It was freezing. Then I spotted a barge in the distance coming downstream toward me.
Barges cannot stop and cannot turn. They are huge, frightening and will simply plow over you leaving you no chance of survival. I felt panic arising within me, but I knew I'm a strong swimmer and I believed I could make it. I looked at the river bank and realized how fast I was being swept with the current. I felt my muscles starting to cramp from the code. My thoughts became fuzzy. Hypothermia was setting in. I started shouting, this is the worst day of my life. Why did I sell today?
Will my life end? On my 56th birthday, I did eventually reach the bank. I collapsed completely depleted. When I stood up and looked at the beautiful bright spring sky, I knelt down and wept. This was the best day of my life. I was alive. I would see my family again. I was overcome with humility exactly 20 years earlier. 1991 I had another humbling experience also with a force of nature.
I made a person who was to become a dear friend, a teacher, and a mentor. Kathy Stanford Grant. I was 36 I'd been practicing polarities for 13 years. I did the entire master level repertoire. I was dancer and athlete and I thought I knew the work well.
I cannot remember if Kathy volunteered today. If I volunteer to demonstrate some moves on the one the chair or if Kathy volunteered me, whatever the case. I found myself on a one that chair in front of Kathy. By the end of the day, I was humbled to my call that evening. I thought either I must give up LRTs or start learning from the beginning again. I'm grateful. I chose the latter and my polities practice was reborn.
20 years before that 1971 my father turned to me and said, Raikes, when you learn the meaning of humility, you will realize your true potential. I was very close to my father and thought I understood what he was saying. I did not. I think I have an inkling now, but he is no longer around for me to tell him. We all need to rediscover our humility each day. Humility is a virtue. Humility will make you better students, better teachers, and better people.
Humility will make this a better planet. All that is wrong with the world emanates from the opposite of humility. Even in our own politeness community. Think of the great humanitarians that championed humility. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the greatest of all, he changed the path of humanity. Jesus, they all taught humility. Nothing.
Nothing will impact your teaching more positively than the spirit of humility. I will leave you with a couple of quotes that inspire me greatly. One by Katharina storic over Clemmer. If pain doesn't lead to humility, you have wasted your suffering.
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