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Australians have a way of assigning saying to situations we come up against in our daily lives and ‘Up Shits Creek Without a Paddle’ is one. The phrase has its origins in the USA, however, is and has been for a long as I can recall very much Australian.

Up the Creek

If you have ever been up Shits Creek you will know that it’s not a good place and to be there without a paddle takes this to another dimension. Like everyone on this planet past and present, I have been Up Shits Creek numerous times in my sixty-plus years on this planet. Even at times in situations where it appeared to be ‘Without a Paddle’.

More often than not we do not realise as we are totally consumed with the drama of the events unfolding around us. We are always surrounded by other individuals paddling their canoes up the same Creek. Sometimes we even throw them a line to hold as we endeavor to help them paddle their way up the Creek. All the time we are attracting more and more chaos and drama into our lives.

Our journeys up Shits Creek can be over many years as we struggle with a totally unsatisfactory event in our lives. Even as children and even more so as adolescents do we find our canoes and head upstream, paddling with all our might into situations that are only causing us more grief and turmoil than we can possibly imagine. This is even more so the case today with all of the temptations available to launch that canoe into good old Shits Creek and start paddling.

Paddling is hard work

The thing about Shits Creek is there are many many tributaries for you to follow. Some are fast-flowing so you have to paddle like crazy. The environment and the landscape are something you could not have imagined when you launched that canoe into what seemed a perfect place at that time in your life.

What you always find is the number of like-minded individuals paddling with you. They all feel the same as you and some have been paddling up the same Creek their entire lives. Some of these individuals have been placed in their canoes by people around them and launched up the Creek unknowingly. Sadly they know no difference and will likely spend the whole of their lives paddling away in blissful ignorance in their broken worlds.

There are some of us who manage to escape the Creek and the paddling for periods of our lives by allowing our canoe to drift down the peaceful Creek that leads to Purpose and Happiness. Unfortunately like all addictions and Shits Creek is one of them, we find ourselves back in Shits Creek paddling upstream again. Joined by some of the same but always new paddlers to keep us company up the tributary we have found ourselves.

Over my sixty-plus years on this amazing planet, Earth, I have ventured up many of Shits Creeks tributaries. Accompanied by many and varied individuals who have joined me along the way. Sometimes I have been thrown a line from the shore and someone special has pulled me to the bank and helped me out of my canoe. More often than not I have worn myself out paddling and in despair have drifted downstream. It is when this letting go and letting myself drift down the Creek happens, I have let the Universe take control of the canoe and that is when amazing positive shifts started to happen in my life.

Our journeys up Shits Creek with or without a Paddle are never wasted. Every tributary and every ounce of effort paddling has been an experience and one that shapes us into the individuals we become. Those of us who have spent a lot of time up Shits Creek have a greater appreciation of who we are and if we are really fortunate, find our real purpose in this amazingly special world.

Graham Cotter

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