I just read an article about how the idea of a soul mate may have caused more problems than it has solved. Our lives are shaped by our expectation. If we expect to find someone or something that is perfect, we will always be let down, and be searching for more.
It may be a stretch but the search for love is not much unlike the search for the perfect river. If we are looking for a river that has exactly the right difficulty, beautiful drops, runability at many different water levels, play waves, or whatever, we will always be searching, and always finding fault in the way the river is. It may have a big hike in, a shitty shuttle, too many portages, a scary gorge, a few too many sieves. But, if we are open to the experience of loving each river as something that is inherently imperfect, and we expect there to be big hikes, scary sections, beatdowns, portages, and long shuttles, we can be content with those things, we can hold onto the small perfections that each run or person has to offer. Chris enjoying a small perfection.
I have fallen in love with imperfection before. Teaching is imperfect, and marred with many shortcoming that a pure philosopher would spit at. Every run I have ever done is imperfect, every person, every action. Perfection is elusive, which is why we practice, which is why we have meetings and attend conferences, and go out again day after day trying to figure out how to communicate, forgive, be compassionate, boof, scout, assess, pack, teach, and love.
Yuba gap reminded me of this. I am quite a prude when it comes to kayaking, I want low input and high levels of reward. I don’t want my travel time to be greater than the amount of time than I am on the water, or on the bike, or skis. But, on this day yuba gap was perfect. I got stuck in an undercut eddy, portaged a ton of rapids, pitoned my boat 4 times, and it took us 7 hours to complete the run, but I expected all of that. I expect scary portages, long days, intimidating rapids, to not run everything I could run, and in the end, it was perfect, because I expected it not to be. If we can lose our idea of a soul mate, and start to expect, and even enjoy the imperfections of our relationships with others, we can love them fully, and accept them fully, as the beautiful river that they are.