A Manifesto on Making Some Room

| By Angie Mattson Stegall |

In June of 2013, my husband Nelson and I spent sixteen days rafting 225 miles of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Having never done a trip like that before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

MakeSomeRoomThankfully, the friends who invited us prepared us well:

Take everything you think you will need.
Leave everything else behind.

Turns out, everything I needed fit into a bag about the size of a small Golden Retriever.

During our trip, our six rafts held the rest of the gear we would need: kitchen and food, bathroom setup (aka “Groovers”), and assorted emergency gear. The motto of Grand Canyon is “Pack it in; pack it out.” And that means EVERYTHING.

So, it went that I spent sixteen days sleeping under the stars and Milky Way, keeping track of trash and crumbs (called “microtrash”), and eternally trying to keep the sand out of my contact lenses.

Here’s what I learned during that trip:

• It doesn’t take much to keep sixteen people happy. A filling meal three times a day plus some snacks goes a long way.

• Wearing pretty much the same clothes for days on end isn’t a big deal.

• Taking a bath (in the 49 degrees-cold-river) every three or four days makes being clean all the sweeter.

• Nature is all around and she is beautiful. Slowing down and paying attention is like creating the most delicious meditation + prayer milkshake.

• The rapids were big and fast and the water was cold. I was scared shitless more than a few times. There was no option but to keep going. So, I did.

• Laughter, conversation, and connecting with those sixteen people were a crucial part of each day.

• I didn’t think about money on the Canyon. Except for one stop at Phantom Ranch (deep at the bottom of the Canyon) for postcards and lemonade, there was literally no place to even use money. If we “needed” anything, we traded for it. Beer for toilet paper. Beer for ice. Will swim for beer! It turned out beer was quite the bartering tool.

• “Drink more water.” That was the answer for everything from general crankiness to major headaches. During this trip, I learned I was chronically dehydrated; even today, I drink three times more water now than I drank before the trip.

Simplifying your life down to a bag and a boat showed me what was important. I fell in love with the simplicity and rhythm of each day.

The Make Some Room Manifesto

In a world where our modern lives tend to be chaotic, noisy, and overscheduled, making some room can be a real challenge.

I found that my time on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon created the space for me to think about my life very differently. This trip set the stage for me to write my Make Some Room Manifesto, which contains 20 powerful life lessons that were driven home while I was rafting through Grand Canyon.

I created my Manifesto after this life-changing experience showed me what was truly important.

Of course, knowing and doing are two very different things. The goal of the Manifesto is to help you sort through the noise of life and create some space and time for you to think about simplifying your days. My Manifesto – my public declaration of intentions, beliefs, and opinions – shows you what I learned is important to me. I hope that it can serve as a launching point to help illuminate what might be important for you.

My wish is that everyone has the opportunity to have a Grand Canyonlike experience at least once in their lives. My Manifesto (and the book I wrote about it and the trip) is my way of sharing my personal experience. My hope is it hits you like a ton of bricks… or a two-by-four upside your head… or that it quietly but relentlessly tickles your subconscious like a gentle feather… something, anything that can wake you up to life and inspire you to begin living your life on purpose.

But wait, how do you do this?

In a nutshell, your only job is to figure out what is essential for you.

What is essential? It’s a sweet mix of:

• your goals and values
• what you love and desire
• how you wish to make an impact in the world
• what you need and want
• and most importantly, what makes you come alive

This process of “figuring out what is essential” doesn’t have to be hard; in fact, the simpler, the better.

Once you figure out the essential stuff, you can eliminate the rest. And that’s where the power of “making some room” begins.

Since you’re still reading, I assume you’re ready to think about making some room in your over-stuffed life, right?

I believe the 20 powerful life lessons contained in my Manifesto and book are a great guide to help you begin making some much needed room in your life.

As far as life-changing adventures go, you can’t get much bigger than Grand Canyon.

If you’re inspired enough to go on a big adventure to help you along, I applaud that. But life-changing experiences don’t always have to be big and grand. Sometimes just changing one single thing can create a wave of changes.

Look over the Manifesto and choose the one thing that really resonates with you. Decide right now to practice that one thing. I believe it will make a difference for you in big ways. And those big ways lead to new discoveries. A shift in perspective. Or even a true transformation.

Ready? Go!


“Make Some Room – Powerful Life Lessons Inspired by an Epic 16-day Colorado River Rafting Trip through Grand Canyon” is Angie Mattson Stegall’s fourth book. It is available in paperback or Kindle through Amazon.com. Learn more at www.AngieStegall.com.

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