In 1992 a shipping container filled with rubber ducks was lost at sea. Over 28,000 rubber duckies fell overboard on their way from Japan to the United States. Imagine thousands of rubber ducks floating on the ocean. Many of them have since washed up on the shores of Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Australia and the Pacific Northwest. Others have been found frozen in Arctic ice and made their way to Newfoundland and Scotland. How wonderful to find a rubber duck on shore one day!
Perhaps what is more interesting and the key point of this story is it is believed there are over 2,000 of them are caught up in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The Gyre is a vortex of water that stretches between Japan and southeast Alaska. It is a vast churning area of water that holds anything that comes into it in a whirlpool for years if not forever. Now imagine thousands of rubber ducks churning around and around in a whirlpool of water for over 20 years.
These duckies are just going around in the same cycle, doing the same thing day after day, year after year…until one day somehow they break free. It may be a pod of whales swims by, they may bump into each other or into another floating piece of debris, they may get tossed out by a cruise ship, whatever it is they are finally set free of the Gyre and can float free to a new and unplanned shore. They are free of the vortex that has held them captive for decades.
I love this story as it reminds me how easy it can be to get up in the vortex of self-denial, bad habits and just negative energy. Then one day someone, something or some new idea allows you to break free – even after decades of the same old, same old. We break free and find our way to a new place, a new face, a new delight.
If thousands of rubber duckies can break free of millions of litres of rushing water why can’t we break free of the whirlpools in our own lives that are no longer meaningful?
I give thanks for the people who I rubbed up against, the cruise ships of disappointment, joy and change and the teachings and teachers who helped me find my way. We do not have to stuck in the gyre. Our life can be as free, fun and as delightful as a rubber duckie found on a distant shore.