"Forcing your way through the sets is futile…Find a friendly current and let it carry you. Relax when the sets sweep over your body. Be as yielding as water is. Think too much and you’ll be wrenched backwards. Take your deep breaths, dive under the incoming waves and let the remnants of the river bear you outward. Newer surfers…would blindly charge out into the maelstrom, only to get batted back every time; the older ones, wiser through observation and experience, put themselves in the correct places and let the water do the work….The surf zone, where the sweet meets the salt, tells us this: Any challenge, any confrontation, can be met with fluid grace. Move as if you were a thin stream that had begun in the mountains weeks before….The only way through is to flow." -- "Waves" Coast Mountain Culture, Fall 2014.
I’ve spent a lot of time surfing this summer, and a better portion of that time has been spent getting crushed by incoming waves. I’m new to the water, new to this surf thing, and competitive as all hell, angry that I can’t get out to where the other surfers make things look so easy.
So this passage spoke to me, but its life metaphor is what really hit home. A lot of people I know, myself included, are reaching that point in our young lives that feels like the crash zone, the floundering victim of unrelenting personal and professional turmoil. These words from Coast Mountain Culture helped provide a moment of pause and clarity though—just because we’re getting pounded by the waves life is sending our way doesn’t mean we’re not moving in the right direction. Inch by inch, we move forward, past the break and into smoother waters. And then, as the metaphor goes, we get to catch our wave, and suddenly it’s all worth it.
To all of you out there struggling against the current, keep paddling, find your path, and flow on.
Here’s a photo roll from a recent trip to Tofino on Vancouver Island. Ironically, the only thing I don’t have pictures of is the surfing itself. Oh well, you’ll have to believe me, I guess.
When your stove breaks, things get desperate...