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Go with the flow — even if it means going upstream

Dean Krakel is one of the best photojournalists in America. Period. I say that, having worked with him for eight years when I was a reporter in Denver. His images captured the West like no one else.

Dean Krakel. Friend of Fawn.

Dean Krakel

So, it was devastating to hear that he had taken a job cooking Chinese food for $8 an hour after the Rocky Mountain News went under earlier this year. Fresh out of a heartbreaking and financially ruinous divorce, he was forced to re-invent himself at age 57. He did the wisest thing he could possibly do.

He blew the rest of his severance and booked a trip to Africa, where he will spend a month traveling down the Omo River.  He wrote in a recent blog post, “In times of trouble I have always turned to moving water for comfort and answers. Rafting or kayaking always seems to put things in perspective for me. Despite the cliché, it really is true, life is like a river. You learn to go with the flow, even if that means sometimes going upstream; life’s challenges are a bit like rapids, you study the current, pick your line and then paddle or row like hell. One way or another you usually come out the other side.”

There is so much to learn from him. The biggest lesson is to stop trying to force the universe to solve anything. Live your life and it will solve itself.

It’s funny that I’d reconnect with Dean today because, just yesterday, an acquaintance told me the story of the near death experiences of the business she and her husband have built. She jokingly wrote, “When I get finished maybe I will write a book How I Survived Losing a Million for the Third Time. The only problem is that this million is our ONLY million and we have not one thing to fall back on. The last two times at least we at least had property and other things to fall back on. This time we have lost EVERYTHING!”

Like Dean, Deb has stopped trying to force things to work. Her situation is made perilous by customers who owe her business a lot of money but won’t (or can’t) pay up. The bank came after her and recalled a $100,000 line of credit. “When the bank says ‘You have to give us $100,000 in 10 days,’ what can you do? Its so outside reality you can only say, ‘Okay, come on. I called the guy and said, ‘How do you feel about running a steel company? He’s in a bank in Orlando.’ I had to laugh.” When she laughed at the absurdity of her bad luck, the seas parted. Payments have been delayed until November and there is hope.

The common theme here is that you can’t force the universe. This whole saga of 2009 is going to unfold the way it is going to unfold. You just have to go with it. Especially now, go with the flow — even if it means going upstream, like Dean said. Live your life. Things do have a way of working out.


Now, to give you a moment of absolute tranquility, it is my honor to present some of Dean Krakel’s West.

Copyright 2009 Dean Krakel. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2009 Dean Krakel. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2009 Dean Krakel. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2009 Dean Krakel. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2009 Dean Krakel. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2009 Dean Krakel. All rights reserved.

  1. That was really nice…I like it!

  2. Your words of wisdom always touch a chord and
    bring me hope for the future! Thanks.

  3. Fawn,
    This is a wonderful tribute to a guy I had the incredible pleasure of working with at the Rocky. Sometimes it takes actions of boldness and fearlessness to live our lives. The time is now to follow Deans shining example. No Fear. Live Boldly.
    And By the way, Fawn, your latest book “Finding the Up in the Downturn” is fantastic.


  4. We all need to be reminded of the peace that comes from ignoring appearances and going where we feel Source the most. Thanks for reminding me.

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