“Turn around, Go Go Go!” the surf instructor said as I quickly maneuvered my board around. As the wave came closer, I paddled, then gripped the board and …
OMG I’m freaking surfing!
I’m standing up on the board, looking out toward the beach with the world’s largest smile on my face. What an incredibly exhilarating feeling. About 10 seconds later the wave began to lose its momentum so I jumped into the water and began to paddle back. Holy s#!t I just surfed. I caught the first wave.
“This is going to be easy!” I thought. Watch out Gidget.
My arms are still gaining their strength back after post-surgery atrophy and it took a lot of energy to paddle back out to the waves. So I hung out for a few minutes, straddling my board in ocean, happy as can be.
OK, I’m ready for more and the instructor is saying, “Go, Go, Go!” I paddle, grip the board and pretty much immediately face plant the water with the wave pouring over my head. Unfortunately my first attempt was probably beginner’s luck. It was the only wave I was able to stand up with that afternoon. After an hour I was exhausted so I paddled out to the surf school boat. Wow, I surfed : )
Surfing was never something I had intended on trying.
Last Saturday, my friend invited me to a weeklong surf yoga retreat leaving the following day for Nusa Lembongan (a small island 30 minutes away from Bali by boat). The thought of going terrified me & I didn’t respond to his text for an hour.
I meditated. I sweat. My body was in full on fight or flight mode.
The thought of surfing frightened me. I haven’t done vinyasa yoga since my arm surgery. The first (and last) time I snorkeled I was 18 and panicked in the Hawaiian water.
But I was incredibly curious to my strong reaction of fear. So of course I had to go!
I no longer consciously let fear rule my decision-making.
The interesting thing about fear is that it is all future tripping. It’s just not real. It’s been safe to think, “Surfing’s not for me.” But why not? I love the ocean. Why not play in it more?
Experience continues to show me that the thought of doing something scary is far worse than actually doing it. There were times throughout the surf week where I was getting smacked down by the ocean and those moments were actually very sweet.
It was as if an angel appeared in my thinking while I was surfing through fear. I heard the sweetest self-talk ever, thoughts like, “It’s OK, we got this” or, “You’re doing great, keep going.”
To be totally honest, the first day those weren’t thoughts… I was actually speaking out loud to myself LOL. It wasn’t premeditated. It was like my higher self was coaching & comforting the scared little girl part of me. Witnessing that was the most spectacular part of the surfing adventure.
Surrendering to the ocean & really being with myself moment by moment is something I want more of.
I lasted about an hour on the last surfing day. I was totally exhausted from trying to stand up on the board & all the paddling. I headed back to the boat with barely any energy left & feeling very weak. Once I cleared the waves & made it to the channel I rested.
I was totally defeated, face down on my board & crying while floating in the middle of the ocean.
I was grieving my older stronger body & really letting it all out. The ocean had wiped me out. I was sad & letting myself feel it. The ocean was rocking me back & forth, soothing my grief & holding me in my tender moment. It was beautiful.
I am going to surf again.
I need to rebuild more arm strength first but I will get back out there. Surrendering to each wave makes me feel so alive. We got this!
What is something in your life that you fear but that you actually kinda want to do? It is my wish that you gain the willingness to walk through your fear. What you’ll be walking toward is a life beyond your wildest dreams!
Comment below one thing you will do this week to surf through your fear.