You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
How do we co-create with the universe? How do we accept its offerings? How do we learn and grow?
When surfing, it makes perfect sense to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Kelly Slater or surf guru, I am just a dude who enjoys the activity, is inspired by it, ponders it and every now and again has some fun. I see the waves as a representation of the universe and all it has to offer. I do not get to choose the size, speed or shape. My vote does not count with the tide, current or wind. What I can do is surf, aim to have fun, seek to enjoy, and create my experience by partnering with something bigger and in many ways (most ways) out of my control. Whether I like it or not, the waves are the waves.
The waves can be seen as events, happenings, opportunities, trials, challenges, learning experiences, whatever... I started by learning to surf about 5 years ago and of course, I had never done it before. I got a surf lesson and was shown the basics. Like a child learning, well, anything really, I was an absolute white belt. Then I went out and played. I didn’t have the strength or endurance because my surf muscles were underdeveloped. With focused attention and determination I made it out past the break and eventually caught a green wave. I had never done that before, but somehow I did it. It was not easy. It was exhausting, tiring, hard, not all that much fun and felt more like survival than surfing.
I started to get a bit more comfortable and less scared over time. I even got stronger. I was able to co-create with what was being offered and have fun while doing it. Like a child who had learned to walk, talk, run and play outside without mom, I had more freedom and less fear. But then I wanted to learn more… to surf bigger waves, to carve it up, to go to different beaches – but just like when I was starting I had not the skills. I was surfing 4-6 feet waves, but 8-10 feet, oh no! I needed and wanted to bust out of my paradigm to grow. The only way to do that was to take on something that I did not know how to do.
It is fascinating to me how we learn enough to master a certain level, and the only way to evolve is to do something out of our comfort zone. Like learning to ride a bike, then learning to hop curbs, go down big hills and pop wheelies. I must do something I don’t know how to do with a limited skill set. And that is the way it rolls.
A new challenge whether it be personally or professionally offers very similar opportunities to grow. Don’t know anything, a bit scared and excited, the unknowing factor of what is coming at ya… yeah, paddling and struggling and accomplishing and failing, it is all still there. Just like the ocean. Oh, and how my control issues got pummeled.
We can check the tides, wind, swell and sometimes we can be deterred and other times excited, but we still have to get into the water. No matter what conditions, if I stay out of the water, how can I engage fully? Detachment would be sitting by and watching. Attachment would be basing the fun of a session on how “successful” I am. The practice of nonattachment is one where we play in the undulation for the sake of it. Just because we can, without caring too much about the results - that is being fully engaged in the moment. Not remembering our best sessions, or when the waves were bigger or cleaner, but co-creating, molding, shaping what the universe is tumbling our way, whether we like it or not. The ever shifting waves of life offer new opportunities daily.
Ride the waves because they are coming. No time to complain or bitch or moan that will not change the things we cannot control. It is the perfect harmony between freedom, choice, control, ego and chaos, the universal and unique, the immutable and ever changing. This is the world and how we relate to it. The perfect polarity at play.
Do you want to play, co-create, accept, alchemize or resist, argue, and combat? However it rolls, the waves of life are there and they are not stopping for anybody, even little old, special, just like everyone else, me.