I did not plan on surfing in the Pacific Ocean on this trip. Or ever really.
I am afraid of the ocean. My earliest memory of the ocean is my mom telling me about riptide and scaring the crap out of me. I wasn’t the strongest swimmer so I have had a fear of swimming in the ocean. I can jump waves that come up to my waist but if I can’t touch the ground, I freak out.
I went surfing in Costa Rica for about 10 minutes and called it a day to help out the children. To be honest, I didn’t mind because I was a little intimidated by the water (which was really the Caribbean Sea).
For the last two days, I have sat on the beach and admired the Pacific’s beauty from afar. I have felt its pull during the night. On our first night here, I woke up feeling like something was pulling my feet. There is nothing like the ocean. Staring out at it, I feel its strength and power.
“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.”
Arthur C. Clarke
My husband went surfing yesterday morning with his colleagues and I had zero desire to do it. But as I watched the surfers for a second morning in the row, I thought about my fear. Fear of this awe-inspiring and vast force of water. Water can destroy but it can also cleanse and heal.
As I walked back to the beach yesterday afternoon, I passed by “surfer vans” with surfboards atop of them and I noticed that a gentleman was staring at me. He said, “I’m staring only because you have beautiful skin.” (By the way, I also struggle with accepting compliments.) Instead of just continuing to walk, I turned around and said “Thank you.” And then I couldn’t believe the next words that came out of my mouth,
“Do you do surfing lessons?”
My heart started to pound and a voice was screaming at me saying, “Are you freaking crazy?!?”
I am no longer surprised at how the universe works so of course he did and now I found myself booking a private class for myself and my husband. A radiant young woman was standing there who happened to be available today to teach us.
Her name is Sky.
I woke up this morning with my stomach churning. I was so nervous. Ever-patient had “learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean” on his bucket list. But it was not on mine. But when we stepped out of the hotel, the sun was shining. For the last few days, the sun had not come out until noon. It was 7:45am and the sun was beaming.
A good omen.
Because we were a little early for the class, we walked to the beach to just sit and chat. But then this happened:
My first free standing handstand.
I couldn’t hold it for long but I just went for it.
I relaxed a bit as we laughed at my various attempts and I felt ready to get in the water.
The sun was out and the water was beautiful. Sky is an amazing and patient instructor – she was clear about everything and so relaxed in teaching. As we waited for waves, she talked about surfing as her form of meditation. When you surf, you have to be present. You have to feel the ocean and be in your body.
After a couple of wipe outs that freaked me out a little, I wanted to just sit out the rest of the session. I was beginning to get scared. But then I looked at Sky and Chris and their supportive faces and I told myself, “Ok, one more time.”
As I lay on my board, waiting for the next wave which I thought might be my last one for the day, Sky mentioned something that was a light bulb moment for me. It is the quote I had to write in my Book of Hours today:
“Let go. The ocean is loving right now.”
I looked at the horizon and a wave of peace enveloped me. The ocean was supporting me too. I understood. I understood the essence of surfing, the essence of everything we are afraid of, the essence of the unknown, the essence of right now.
Can I just love it back?
Once I became willing to love the ocean, I could really let go. I was able to just trust my body and feel the wave instead of overthinking the technique. I was able to really enjoy the moment of riding the wave and wiping out equally. Instead of getting caught up in a panic when I was tumbling underwater, I let go and just let the ocean really embrace me. For the first time, I felt safe in it. An ancient remembering that this is where we began and this is why we are drawn to it.
P.S. I can’t hear again in my right ear. But it was so worth it.
Thank you Sky and my husband and Marty for making this morning a real breakthrough moment for me with the ocean. By the way, Sky is also an amazing young woman working on a fantastic inspirational project for young women – Lady Time. Check it out!
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.