Went surfing today.
There were umpteen lessons to take away from the experience, and I was reflecting on a few I wanted to capture while I was washing the sand & salt away in the shower this evening.
Preparation: surfing — winter surfing especially — is not a sport you just dive into (figuratively, anyway). My cousin & his stepbrother (whom I went out with and whom doubled as my instructors) helped me pick out the proper gear & equipment. All told we were probably in the water for approximately 60-120 minutes, and not once did I feel chilled, despite the temperature being a balmy 41 degrees.
Awareness: water is not to be trifled with; less the ocean; even less during the winter. It was important we did our homework and checked to make sure the wave sizes would be appropriate for a beginner & a couple of amateurs.
Determination: as I understand it, very few people are able to paddle out & catch the first wave they see. ‘Popping up’ looks simple when the pros do it. In reality, it requires an obscene amount of upper body strength & balance. Surfing is not meant for those who resign themselves after their first inevitably feeble attempts.
Acceptance: not once during our session did I successfully stand atop the board. I had plenty of other successes as far as a first day goes, and because I went into it with an understanding of what waves incessantly crashing over me would represent, I was at peace with not fully conquering the ocean.
Appreciation: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with family, regardless of the context of whether any particular goal was met or not. Being on the water (nay, in the water), though choppy and exhausting…was also rewarding and tranquil.
This is life. This is what it is. Do to do. Fail. Understand why. Grow. Apply learned knowledge to the next experience, and the next, and the next; harbor wisdom.
Last month I had the opportunity to visit an old friend from college, and he had many such insights to share — particularly in relation to his study of kung fu and the history of martial arts. He has been a diligent, tireless disciple for the past 3 years…and even now, he knows he has only just scratched the surface of what there is to learn & internalize. Awe-inspiring.
We are all students of one discipline or another, and we are all working at our own pace.
One session at a time.
If you are the ocean / I’ll be your beach