Learning to ride the waves of life’s challenges takes continuous effort. We must learn to paddle hard at times. To float patiently at others. To stand up and find our balance when the surge is right and to fall as gracefully as possible when life pushes too hard or drops us too soon.
Navigating life’s waves is a necessary skill to master. Life keeps pushing onto our shores. We can’t hide from life because that in itself becomes a challenge.
How do we learn to ride the waves?
Observation. Notice that at times the waves of life come in gently rolling seas that are easy to negotiate. You can float along on the top of each gentle wave rising up and setting down and rising back up again.
Inevitably, you’ll notice the surf changes. The waves get bigger. They begin to form white foamy tops as they crash in to shore in closer and closer sets. It is here that you may consider — you don’t have your shit together.
It is here that I find myself
I’m caught in a rough set of waves without my surfboard or boogie board. I’m not riding the waves of life. They are tossing me around and I’m seriously wondering if I’ll be able to stay afloat.
I’m caught in a time when life is crashing down on me again and again without respite. We had a difficult move where my partner’s back went out on moving day. He got the flu the next day. I got the flu a week later. Our contractor fell 6-weeks behind schedule. We found ourselves sick and living in the midst of construction chaos.
But that was nothing those waves were a slight irritant compared to what was coming. Suddenly, the waves of life became huge. You know, those big waves that surfers get super excited about. The giant crashers that those of us that haven’t figured out how to surf the power of those beasts stare in awe as the surfers go toward the monsters and ride them.
That’s what came into my life a big giant set of crashing waves. They have me paddling frantically trying to get out of their way as I know I need to turn toward them and learn to catch the waves. To take the ride of my life.
The monster waves came
The giant wave sets descended as my partner was diagnosed with a heart problem. A faulty aortic valve where one of the symptoms is sudden death and another symptom stroke. This heart challenge is serious enough that they recommend he have an advocate with him at all doctor’s appointments. So, we’re caught up in the turbulence of the American medical system. A place we’ve both avoided like it’s the plague.
Well, here we are being tossed around in a place we are not familiar with, being pushed here and pulled there, and we can’t quite find our footing. It’s like the sand is being pulled out from under us every time we put our feet down. We just can’t get out of this and nothing is working to avoid the big serious crashing waves.
Avoidance isn’t working
I can’t drink a glass of wine. It feels like poison to me. I can’t smoke pot. That makes me feel really weird. I can’t binge on sweets they make my tummy hurt. I gotta do this fully awake. We’ve got to learn to do this new scary thing fully aware.
Have you ever seen those surfers who ride double? And as they catch a wave the bottom surfer, always a male, will bring the female surfer overhead in some fancy pose? That’s what my partner and I are practicing right now. Catching waves together and attempting to pull off some fancy moves.
I stay present when my partner freaks. I consciously practice throwing him a lifesaver when he needs one. When I feel like I’m going under — I paddle hard to stay afloat in the moment by calling a friend or finding support for myself. When I get a kiss or a hug from anyone — I cherish it, fully. Not taking anything for granted anymore.
I guess what I’m saying is I’m learning to surf. To let go and ride those big life waves. There is no other choice. Life is crashing over me, on top of him, all around us. I know the ocean of life will calm again.
Thanks for listening
Check out this week’s Ageless Movement Practice. It’s all about riding the waves of your breath. Staying focused on my own breath helped me catch a few of those monster waves coming at me.
Let me know how you navigate life’s challenging waves in the comment section below.