I started surfing to experience physically what life was doing to my soul. I needed to feel like drowning, see if my physical body was also supposed to die. Exposing myself to be hit by a relentless swell crushing me over and over again with no other option but to keep my head up and my body strong, get back on my board, paddle out fast, and try again, and again, and again. Until I caught a wave.
Surfing is healing. Embracing pain is healing. I surfed waves I wasn’t ready for. I surfed in countries I wasn’t able to locate on a map. I wonder how I pulled my two feet on my board sometimes considering how exhausted, starved and desoriented I was. But I did, determined to rise and shine, going far out of my comfort zone until I couldn’t even remember it, never allowing the fire around me to burn brighter than the fire inside me.
Today when I walk towards the ocean, I feel the sun rising in me, calm and confident, open and ready to whatever will be given to me, catching momentum by surprise and growing into an accomplished brave human, letting go of all my fears and doubts, one at a time.
I have come a long way, never trying to reach a goal, embracing the process, the exhaustion, the good days, the bad ones, the cold, the dark, the sun, the warmth, people I met on my way, the joy, the pain. How should it have been? We have this idea of how things and people should be… It is silly if you think about it. Nothing is supposed to be one way or another.
I came to realize that the main cause of our suffering is the gap between our expectations and reality (explained in details in “the War of Art”, Steven Pressfield). It is our attachment to what we think things and people should be that causes us to suffer: what we want and hope them to be. But can we find a way to let go of our expectations? We have expectations for everything: ourselves, our partners, children, situations, things, our health, our relationships, even the weather… And when it doesn’t go our way, we feel bummed out or worse.
Turns out, we do have the ability to let go of our expectations. We are in charge of creating what we call our karma and indeed, can choose to mindfully generate new, healthier emotional patterns that will allow us to embrace change and see challenges as opportunities to learn and grow instead of problems getting “in our way” and slowing us down. It takes practice, insight and focus to change mindset but the promise is huge: freedom.
Start little, watch yourself resisting reality, catch your reaction, pause, adjust and try again but this time, pause before you react. Then, respond instead, mindfully. Slowly letting go of your expectations, embracing reality as it is and opening to the beauty of the present moment.
Over time, you too will begin to have faith in your ocean. And in your path. Neither are that unpredictable after all, coming day by day, wave by wave.
There is no plan B. It was plan A all along.
Surfing taught me to appreciate everything, expect nothing and go with the flow, heart open.
Indeed, you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf…
You can ❤
What’s your therapy?