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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Nehring

“Tropic Like it’s Hot”: Further Reflections from a Standup Paddleboard

They were everywhere. Bluegill with their mouths sticking out creating rippling rings in this amazing frenzy as they were feeding off the food hovering on the top of the water that normally presents itself in high August. I was surrounded by this chorus of movement. My paddle gently easing through the major movement and the weeds that took over the lake trying not to get them stuck on the fin of the paddleboard. You don’t get anywhere when that happens. I interrupted a painted turtle munching on some seaweed greens at the surface of the water quickly escaping in a dive to try and hide from me.

“Sorry little guy. I still see you,” orange lining his (or her) body in a miraculous fashion, “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you. Keep munching away.”

My attention was suddenly taken away by a shadow that covered my head. I ducked wondering how low whatever it was, was near me, with a whoosh. The shadow slowly releasing itself in a gliding fashion as I covered my eyes from the sun looking up to see a bald headed eagle, maybe 100 feet above, eyeing something around me, or maybe me. It circled in a continuous golden loop following my board as it kept moving in unison with me, until it took its place on a nestle-wood pine tree where one lake merges into the next. Peering over its kingdom from its throne I was enamored by how close it was. Is this my spirit animal? This has happened more than once these past few years, always in surprising heart pounding ways that feel more than just coincidence.

I was taken. Felt loved. Honored to be a part of all these presences. In this vast wonder of sights and sounds, feeling into my being that I am a part of this massive flow of surrounding energy, a continuous life, a hub of movement forward.

As I sit here on the deck now with my hair longer and frizzier than it has ever been, holding a glass with paintings of hibiscus flowers, a pineapple with sunglasses on it, and the statement, “Tropic like it’s hot,” on the side of it, I wonder about life in all of its togetherness. In all its unity. Its harmony. In all its energetic flow. I ponder, how do I…how do we keep this love alive and vibrant? Flow means movement. Flow means change. Flow means moving into more love. Bigger. Wider. Further than our eyes have the capacity to see. Sometimes you just need to sit. To close the eyes. To take it all in.

I used to think love flowed one way. Out. We can learn so much from nature. How it works together in this one amazing network of love. One thing relying on another. Community. A symbiotic relationship. A calming sigh of relief heaved from my body remembering that I am a part of this, that I am always supported in this magnitude of an intricate mandala that breaths in, out, around, and through. That my heart is never alone. It is so magical. We can see and feel the beauty if we lean into the Divine design of it all. Life. Balance. Harmony. Flow. Love. It’s all there. We matter. We are loved. Everyday. May we continue to find ways to trust each other, opening to this bigger love, that flows together as one.

Heidi Nehring works with an amazing community at The Heart Revival Center in St. Francis, WI. There she dedicates her time and love teaching writing and meditation classes, as well as offering 1x1 Life Coaching Journeys and 1x1 Spiritual Writing Coaching sessions. See for more information and offerings. See also her books, Under Willows. Over Flowers.: A Journey from the Head to the Heart through Poetry, and When Sensitivity Breaks: A Journey through Vulnerability. She is currently working on a third. Say tuned for more information on upcoming writings and adventures.

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