When I first moved to California, I was determined that I would learn how to surf. As a teenager in Savannah, Georgia I watched surfing competitions on TV whenever I got the chance and dreamt that someday I would shoot the curl.
So, I came to California imagining sunny, sandy beaches and me surfing like a natural. I rushed over to Santa Cruz and took my first surf lesson and found that this was not the beach I had dreamt of. It was cold. I had to wear a wetsuit. And it was cold.
Still, I loved surfing. The feeling of finding that balance point and being propelled gracefully toward the shore. Cold as I was, I was hooked, and soon bought a used board. I spent many weekends pulling on my wetsuit and booties, paddling out into the frigid Pacific Ocean, and trying my best to catch a wave (which I did a couple of times, though never completely mastered the art).
In the end, I gave up on surfing in Santa Cruz. The water is just too cold for this Southern girl. But I’m happy to surf when we visit the warmer waters of Hawaii, and I learned a lot about life from surfing.
You can’t calm the ocean, but you can calm yourself.
The ocean, like life, is massive and chaotic. There is no way anyone can tame it or calm it. But you can learn to ride the waves.
However, if you don’t learn to calm yourself, you’ll never be able to surf because you won’t find your balance on the board. You’ll be too tense and overreacting to every move the ocean makes, and you’ll wipe out.
But if you can find that stillness inside, you are one step closer to hanging ten — on a surf board and in life.
You can’t surf on a calm ocean.
Sometimes the ocean is glassy and smooth. It’s beautiful and peaceful. But you can’t surf on an ocean without waves.
In life, those calm periods are needed. They are beautiful. But they’re not meant to last forever. We need a little bit of chaos to propel life forward.
You may as well learn to surf.
Bear with me for a moment as I get a little ridiculous with my metaphor, but imagine you lived in the ocean. Not under the ocean, but in it… like in that place where the waves are always churning and crashing.
You could just go with whatever the ocean threw at you in a helpless kind of way, and get tossed around like a rag doll. Or you could learn how to ride the waves.
Life is the same way. You can get tossed around by the chaos and overwhelming nature of life and busyness and demands on your energy. OR you can learn to be the master of yourself and ride the waves.
You have something powerful inside of you.
Maybe you can’t contain the ocean or prevent chaos in life, but you can create peace inside of you that anchors you and allows you to work with the chaos instead of being its victim.
If you’d like to learn more about finding that inner peace and power inside of you, check this out.
Photo Credit: windyhoek_web_05 by gaftels, on Flickr