Surrender in Surfing
It look me a long time to learn that the path of healing is not a linear route. It is a spiral. It is messy. It takes time, it takes patience and it takes courage.
It’s not a case of just following the steps, ticking off the boxes, and at the end you get a Blue Peter badge for healing.
It’s an ongoing process. Some days you’re on it, like a car bonnet. Others you wonder if you’ve made any progress at all. It’s all ebb and flow, except more random than that.
We don’t have much control over when and how the waves come. We can only prepare ourselves for when they come, and learn to ride them.
This came to me the other day when I found myself surfing, which I really was not expecting. I’d found myself having to do some really deep, inner work, as another “spiritual lesson” presented itself to me.
My first half hour at least was spent in a battle with the waves. I would conquer this. “I can surf”, I told myself, “I’ve got this”….. then “why isn’t it working?????”.
“It’s a different board”, I was saying out loud. “The waves are too short”. “There’s no power in them”. “This is rubbish”. ….. then “I’ll beat it though”.
After half an hour, I’d exhausted myself, mentally and physically, trying too hard, using my mind to try to conquer the waves.
And then I caught myself. I observed myself like a young child having a tantrum (albeit privately, I might add, I was on a public beach).
I started to listen to myself, and finally I started to laugh at myself. Not in an unkind way. Just as an adult may be amused by their son or daughter as they get their words mixed up. Because that’s who I was in that moment, a young child. I’ve found that when we get this, we are more compassionate with ourselves.
Anyway, after that, I “let go”. I stopped trying to be the best surfer I could be. I sat out on my board for a while, and I just watched the horizon. That big expanse of ocean, with unknown varieties of waves that would eventually come. I felt the power of Mother Nature within me once more. I surrendered, knowing that this Ocean was way more powerful than me, and I felt my faith return.
The reminder of my time on the way flew past. I was out of my head, into my body, and at one with nature once more.
I was reminded that the work is never really done. This is reality. It’s not paint by numbers. It’s not “follow this and it’ll all be ok”. It’s more a case of “let’s see if we can learn to ride these waves the best we can”. We’re going to fall off, that’s inevitable. Yet each day we do, we rise up again, stronger than before.
We may need to rest before heading out through the white water again, and preparing for the next wave. We may need to go and lie on the beach while we catch our breath. We may feel defeated at times, and it’s OK to feel like it’s too much like hard work for a while, and just sit and watch for a while.
We need to remember to get back on the board again though. And to respect that nature is more powerful than us. We need to learn to “surrender”.