After arriving in an utterly perfect home, so zen and gorgeous, peaceful and meditative on a mountainside in Santa Barbara, I found the peace and quiet I craved after our endless winter, and the warm vibes and great waves one always needs down at the beaches of the region. But the stress of the last few months followed me into the surf, and I found myself wound up gunning for waves and messing them up in anxiety and a rush to get them, fear of failing.
I had to really stop and watch. Watch it all. The amazing porpoises, the sunlight on the water, the Channel Islands a misty vision 25 miles away or so, the surfers playing with the waves always ending with a fall. I had to let go, to realize that every wave they rode, these epic great local surfers ended with a fall. Of course. All waves end with a fall, in the end, no matter how perfect the ride, and it's ok, it's water. But it's the ride that counts. The smile on your face, the play with the wave, the euphoria rising in your chest and the out of body joy. Or if it doesn't go that way it's how you get up from the fall, laughing and ready for the next one, or shaking it off.
And so after a long while I returned to perhaps my Montana perspective, lost in the work life snow stress of it all, but a fresh perspective apt for that day, and every day, while sitting in the (warm-yes, guys) Pacific water. I had to let go. Trust in the waves. Trust in myself, to handle the awesome ride, and the fall, whichever whatever came, to know I am strong and playful at the same time, and that its all just life. You fall off every wave. In the end. It's about being totally present in the here and now, & just enjoying the ride while you're on it.
Sitting here now, it reminds me a bit of of "The Three Questions" from the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, or Tolstoy's later take on it. Essentially, it boils down to is '"there is only one important time, and that is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important things is to do good for the one who is standing at your side." For these are the answers to the most important questions in the world.'
And for me in that moment it was kindness to myself, and acceptance of the inevitable failure, therefore free from it.
And suddenly surfing became a whole lot easier, because all of it is amazing, the ride, the fall, the light, the waves, the water...
A dawn surf report from my awesome 'surf guide' - "Actually there were a few people at Leadbetter this morning, just looked a bit gutless. Refugio might be a good call... Good luck hunting the wild surf...G".
I'm officially in love with this lifestyle, hunting the wild surf!
"Yes, I have a 'surf van! "I don't go on vacation often, but when I do I do it right"
I joined the Wednesday Wave Warriors at Refugio today, totally lovely gentleman in their 60's and 70's getting back into surfing after careers! We couldn't have had more fun whooping it up and cheering everyone on, each at their own skill level.
And when I caught those waves, arced into them, slowed sped up... I'm pretty sure I literally glowed with joy! The feeling is absolute perfection!