After many years of coaching people on how to surf their inner emotional waves, I thought it was time to learn how to surf actual waves. Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend two hours learning how to surf (thanks to the Stoked Surf School instructors) in the most gorgeous setting (Big Bay, in Cape Town, South Africa, with Table Mountain as a backdrop), on a perfect day (unusually warm winter’s day, 25 degrees C).
My lesson was both practical and metaphorical. And finally riding a wave – even if only for a few seconds – was exhilarating! I had so much fun and felt so alive. So, I asked myself, what would my life be like if I were to pretend to always be surfing?
If I lived my life as though I were perpetually surfing…
…I would be resting more, wasting less time working unnecessarily (i.e. keeping busy and distracted), when I could be making the most of the slower times in my schedule.
- Lesson 1: Know when to take Action and when to Rest. It was easy not to waste energy paddling frantically when there is no wave on the horizon… Equally, I learnt not to hesitate and then end up catching a wave when it was too late – I ended up with several big slaps in the face and sea water in every orifice.
…I would be wasting less time on worrying about the next opportunity/wave – when will it come, would it be big enough, would I be able to catch it in time, would I be good enough to catch it.
- Lesson 2: Trust that opportunities (waves) are endless and that they come in cycles.
…I would be more open to learning and experimenting, knowing that by trying things out, I am gaining knowledge and experience which will support me. I would know that this is the same for everyone else. I wouldn’t beat myself up for having to learn in life.
- Lesson 2: You can learn only by experimenting, i.e. by making mistakes and getting it right some times. When my attitude was light, I tried again and again, until my feet went numb from the cold water. No one is born knowing how to surf. It’s a practice not a perfect.
…I would know my strengths and not try to change who I am.
- Lesson 3: Know yourself and lean into your strengths: I kept on changing my front leg – swapping left and right, when I should just lean into the fact that I am a ‘natural’ (i.e. naturally prefer using my left foot in front for balance and not a ‘goofy’ where you prefer your right). I had to give myself permission to undo years of yoga training where I learnt to always put my right foot first.
…I would always tune into my inner ‘core’ – my heartsong, my gut, my values – to guide me to find balance rather than searching for it on the outside.
- Lesson 4: Balance comes from your core.
…I would always be present for the moments when I succeed and feel the bliss rather than thinking about the next one or the last one.
- Lesson 5: Enjoy the ride.
I can’t wait for my next lessons! What have you learnt from surfing or your favourite hobby?
Until then, Happy Living (and surfing)