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Rowing: Therapeutic Escape



This weekend marks the end of our local rowing season. I'll be venturing off to Wichita, Kansas for the Nov 5th Frostbite competition, as a spectator! 

This past spring, I started rowing with a recreational group. It's not a team, different people show up each meeting. The recreational aspect has helped me enjoy the sport with its unique blend of physical exertion, mindfulness, and camaraderie, rowing has offered me a therapeutic escape particularly during times of extreme stress. Releasing endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers, which can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression. The physical exertion involved in rowing also helps reduce muscle tension and promotes a sense of relaxation, allowing a temporarily detachment from the endless bad news all around us.

Connecting to the river, and other open water environments calms the mind and allows for possibilities to see the unexpected. I've encountered deer, beavers, bald eagles, waterfowl and a variety of freshwater fish. Recently I spotted a family of 7 wild turkeys enjoying a drink at the river's edge. 

Teamwork and camaraderie are still a part of a recreational team. We row in sync, and I've found rowing together even for a few hours fosters socializing and a sense of teamwork. The shared experience of navigating the river and ducking from the enormous silver carps that can jump up to 10 feet out of the river creates a bond that can be incredibly uplifting. The mini sense of community has helped remind me that there is goodness in strangers, and as Maya Angelou wrote in her poem, Human Family, "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. we are more alike than we are different from one another." 

May you find your own way to connect and nurture tranquility.

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