This is about celebrating a little something called overcoming fear - no matter how small or large. I often encourage my clients to re-focus their thoughts around what they want more of in life. Sometimes what you really want or need involves making a foray into unknown territory. A new idea, activity, or adventure calls you...and if you follow it you'll be leading yourself just a bit beyond your comfort zone. This very thing came up for me recently when I realized how badly I needed a little adventure in my life, and just as quickly knew that what I wanted also scared me - surfing on the Oregon Coast. This is about my thoughts and feelings from that experience, a day surfing with a group of kind-hearted yogis from The People's Yoga Studio and fantastic instructors from Oregon Surf Adventures....
Standing around in our wetsuits at Seaside Surf Shop at the beginning of the day our group leader, Krystyn Strother, asked who among us was nervous. I raised my hand. When asked why, I said, the water. I am drawn to the ocean and yet so many things about it really scare me - the cold, the not-being-able-to-see-my-feet, sharks, strong currents, waves...that about covers it. And yet, when I look at the ocean, or when I have the rare opportunity to run on the beach, I feel alive, peaceful, and connected to the things I care about. I see surfing as immersion in the peace and exhilarating power of the ocean. But to do it, I have to get over the fear of being cold, and the fear of being in the water.
The night before the day trip I discovered I was growing some chicken feathers, telling my husband, I probably shouldn't go, because the week had been so busy. His incredulous look...and reminder that I'd already paid, got me packing. At the surf shop the next morning I got my wetsuit on and was told I'd need gloves, booties, and a hood, because, well, it's cold out there. Yikes.
Arriving at the beach 17 miles south of Seaside with our 10 foot boards in tow, we all sat on the sand to learn more about tides, sandbars, wind, and rip currents from our instructor Lauren Ahlgren. We practiced "popping up" on land, and then off we went into the water. I was the last one in. Fiddling with my leash, getting my gloves just right, tucking my hair under my hood...there were many things that kept me on the beach for as long as possible. And then, the plunge.
I braced myself for the cold. Which never came. That's right. The wetsuit was so thick, I was completely insulated. The water came in...and I was wet, but not cold. I paddled out. Priceless memories of being seventeen and surfing with my brother in Santa Cruz came flooding back.
I sat on my board out beyond the breaking waves. Calm. Peaceful. Floating in the Pacific. The surf was perfect for beginners and I had a board so long it wasn't impossible for me to actually catch a wave. Soon I was flying, propelled by the ocean. I didn't exactly pop up, but I did stand up and surf.
It wasn't easy or convenient to take a day away from my family to do something I haven't done in 20 years, and it was exactly what I needed. More adventure. More nature. That's what I want more of in my everyday life. If I don't make it happen for myself, I won't ever attain it. I'm working on it. Breaking down fear, one adventure at a time.
What do you need more of in your life? What fears do you need to over come to attain it? What's the very first thing you could do to start to pivot in that direction?