In surfing, we ride waves when all is timed right and it’s an experience of freedom, joy, gliding. When things aren’t timed well, the wave takes us under for a pummeling. Personally, I find this to be the hardest part of surfing. Ironically, the more I fight a pummeling, the harder it is: I get out of breath faster, the leash gets tangled around me, and panic sets in as I desperately try to find the surface. But if I allow the wave to take me under, and just let it do its thing, throw me, spin me and shake me a little, while I gently hold my breath, I come up with breath to spare, feeling fine and ready to paddle back out. It’s part of the adventure.
Personally, it’s easier said than done. I fight letting the wave take me under; do whatever I can to dodge it from happening in the first place (like the wave CARES? – it’s not going to stop because I ask it to). But this weekend I found that with my emotions, I am increasingly willing to be held under and just be there, not knowing how long it will last, if it will get worse before it gets better, or when I will break through to the surface again. My willingness comes from knowing that if I want to ride, I’ve also got to be willing to go under from time to time, and that I ALWAYS come back up. So let the wave take you under and do its thing. You’ll breathe easier on the other side, and be ready to experience the freedom and joy of riding the next wave.