One of my goals is to share adventures through Clear Water Outdoor, so I review adventures, get to know local guides, and evaluate the journey’s level of difficulty.
Recently, I invited a Michael to join me on a discovery trip to study an adventure. His first response was standard husband/father stuff, he needed to check with: wife, work calendar, kids’ schedule, and budget. Later that afternoon, I received the return call that he was joining me and, in fact, this trip would be “cathartic”.
I was excited to have a trip mate. I pondered his words, and wondered why Stand Up Paddleboarding has healing properties. I recently read an article by an SUP friend in Distressed Mullet , “I Love SUP, Because it Saved My Life.” I met the author through the paddle and we may have not crossed paths otherwise. The message was ringing in my head and philosophical exercises were bound to ensue.
Catharsis stems from katharsis, the Latinized form of a Greek word, which grew out of the Greek word katharos.
Katharos translates to "pure, clear of dirt, clean, spotless; open, free; clear of shame or guilt;”-Online Etymology Dictionary
The American Psychological Association (2007) defines it as "the discharge of affects connected to traumatic events.” Freud spoke about coping mechanisms and wrote about it as a treatment. Aristotle described the emotional release and cleansing that spectators experience during and after watching a tragedy, which has a corrective and healing effect. According to Aristotle, emotional discharge helped to restore harmony and produced a wise and reasonable man.
Although it takes different shapes, the essence in all definitions remains the same: it is a release from some burden (either physical or mental) and furthers healing through its cleansing effect. It is no leap of faith to surmise SUP is a healing sport, I have heard too many testimonies about the benefits people experienced, and I have witnessed positive changes in individuals and families. Physically, almost anyone can participate, and I have seen people who wondered if they could ever exercise, get active! An emotional response is fear they couldn’t participate; and the cognitive realization that they can...Cathartic! SUP has many meditative periods as we paddle along. I once had a wind change on a paddle that turned my timeline home epic! I buckled down and started the long slog back to the launch site and over the next few hours… I worked some stuff out! It was time to reflect and resolve.
So SUP cleanses and heals, then I have found another calling. If I can do good for people with paddling and empower them to be cathartic, then this is a gift!