Don't get me wrong. I'm not really miserable. I caught several waves and rode them to the beach today, stepping off in ankle deep water. I've found something deeply missing. I am so alive. Yet, I have been running on the momentum of days past, and that momentum, like a wave that's running out, is running out on me. I have not found a better analogy of what I'm doing with these 365 days than surfing. There's profound energy in the world. It comes rolling at us and holds great promise to let us fly. Yet, if we're not prepared for it, sitting in the water staring at it, it will just roll us over and leave us coughing up seawater. If we aren't well equipped for it, a board suited to our skill and intent. Are we seeking a fast ride, flash 360's or a lazy long-board? We can't catch the energy of the world without the right tools. Then, with those tools in hand, we have to work our asses off. A long-board only gets sandy sitting on the beach. We have to begin by paddling like mad to get past the break. It's tiring, demoralizing. It's honestly terrifying at times, looking up at a wave breaking over your head. You have to have the right technique to survive it or it'll carry you all the way back to the shallows, battered and again... coughing. But as the thing towers above, it's crown of clear water tipping over glinting with sunlight, you just roll over and in planting your back in the deeper water, the board pierces the wave and you roll back up ready to paddle like the devil again.
Our surf instructor Jose was giving a ration of shit to friend in Spanish, cackling with laughter. He told us the instructor and a student were trying to pass the break. The waves were huge. The student was a very strong paddler and so got through the break, but the instructor couldn't. He clearly hasn't yet lived it down. Their banter was hilarious.
But I digress...
You've done the work to pass the break, but that's just the first part. You have the equipment, are in the right place... But what next? Pick your moment. Cresting. A nice wall running out to the right or left with a drop that fits what you can ride. Then, when you see it, you turn to the shore, lay down, and and paddle like a stabbed rat. racing. Blind to the monster rising behind you, then you feel it. The ocean tilts up behind, a great force moving you forward, taking you with it if you can join it. It's like being pushed, but not from one point, but with your whole being, the whole world suddenly coming to life and rushing up behind you with joy and power and terror, and then hands flat, back foot front foot, crouch, turn into the ride, and the wave and you just go. Flying. Fucking flying. The ocean is rushing under the tip of the board, and you're shifting left left right right right left to stay on the side of the wave. And with all that preparation comes deep joy. Love. One word... Flow.
So how does this all connect to my project? I have been feeling this flow in my own life. But it takes so much preparation. Waking up with active gratitude. Meditation. Exercise to make the body and mind healthy. Metta because caring for others will surely lift us up. then work. Meeting goals. It feeds self esteem and purpose and so much. Then when we do this at first the tools are unfamiliar. They slither beneath us and kick us out. We fall, sputtering. But as we keep going, as we meditate more and exercise more and wake up early, we begin to find our footing becomes more stable. It's easier to stand up in the morning and take the flow to the gym, and then suddenly... when it seems all we've done for days is fight... our efforts create something. We slip into flow and the world begins to carry us forward with a supernatural rush. We are almost helpless to stop it, only adjusting the coursing power and trying our best not to go down. With this a great joy rises up. Deep well being and purpose. Flow. The day seems to be effortless and our heart fills with love. Those we run into are gifts, problems become interesting challenges, and we feel electric. But none of this will happen if we don't first paddle.
So, over the last two months I've found some deep joy when I used to be sorrow. While my life has improved massively, being here, it's been so easy to let it all go and just be. I even said so in my first post, it in doing so, I've let the currents of my mind pull me out of the breaking energy that sweeps me in the right direction, and I have become lost in old thought patterns... specifically looking at the past with regrets and sorrow and looking at the future with doubt and anxiety. With this, my insomnia has returned. Even here, without my daily focus, my mind can take me to misery.
I don't want this. I'm going back to the new way. So how do I do that? Paddle into shore, walk down the beach until I get back to the break. Paddle out. Do the work it takes to get past the breakers. Use my tools. Roll my board. Work. Roll the board. Work. Then, sitting on the rolling energy of life, which is pure energy after all, all matter is positive and negative charges with almost no actual physical mass, sit and wait, be prepared, read the world, and when the time is right, aim myself, and work my ass off again. When I feel the world rush up behind me.... hands push up, back foot, front foot, adjust, stand upright, knees bent. turn turn turn, shift, If I fall (we all will at times) just paddle roll paddle, get out again. But... and here's the beautiful part... if I don't fall. Oh if I don't... The smile born in that flow-state doesn't come from your toes my friends. It comes from somewhere way down deep beneath your toes, down in the belly of our Mother Earth. My heart races just with the memory of it. Pura Vida. I will never be the same because of Costa Rica. I am grateful beyond words.