Sunday, January 30, 2011

Undaunted Chapter 1: Somewhere South

    Sometimes before I leave for a trip I have a strong feeling about the life values it will accent.  Does that ever happen to you? For example, before I left for Peru I was terrified to go without my fiance or my family. I knew that, that trip fell into my life to teach me lessons about fear. I didn’t have that same intuition about this trip to Samoa yet. 
    While packing my suitcase my thoughts jumped from many different subjects. “Am I brining enough t-shirts? Do I really want to wear that dress on New Years?” and so on. As I pushed two more bathing suits into the mesh pouch on my suitcase lid, I began to think about how lucky I was to be going on a family vacation to the South Pacific. My parents work really hard to give us these wonderful opportunities. I’m inspired by a lifetime of observing them chase and catch their dreams. 
    They’re not afraid to feel. Their not afraid to fall. And there was the lesson. This trip would give color to the values of my life. The values shown to me by my parents. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Undaunted Chapter 2: Live With Feeling

     You can’t be afraid to feel. You can’t be afraid to experience happiness, to succeed, to fail. You can’t be afraid to feel sadness, anger, fear, to love, to lose. Our feelings are the greatest gifts of life. 
    I kept telling myself this over and over. I knew it was true. Knowing something and acting on it are completely separate things, unfortunately. Before we left I was freaking out about the waves in Samoa.
    One of the best and worst feelings surfing gives you is fear. Fear that you will fall, fear that the really sharp reef barely beneath your feet will take your face off, fear of drowning, fear of sharks, fear of fearing, fear of failing. At its best fear excites you, awakens you, reminds you of your strength and determination. Fear can remind you of your love for life. Fear is a great gift of life, just like surfing. 
    Our first day surfing we took a tiny aluminum boat out to the Samoan reefs. The boat skipped along 2 foot deep water as I was perched on her nose to keep the prop off the bottom. In the blur of light blue beneath me I saw turtles, candy colored fish and skittish sharks. Despite this pleasing scenery I was feeling fear at its worst, for all of the reasons surfing can make a person feel so. “What if I eat $h*+?”.
    Paddling into my first wave I kicked my feet anxiously, but paddled devoutly. Dropping backside onto a steep wall and into what felt like a new world, my worst fears became my best.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Undaunted Chapter 3: Learning to Fall

 If you made sure to ignore all of life’s challenges, you may go through it without ever falling, but in doing so you accept that flying will always be absent from your reality.
    I have tried to exclude falling from my surfing and my life. I push myself to new places that are in close proximity to the ones I am coming from; places that I am comfortable with because of their perceived rate of success.
    I realized this while I was surfing in Samoa. As I surfed I pumped down the transforming face of the wave. A white wash section appears ahead. As the wave I am riding folds over onto the now shallow surface it begins to break in front of me as well as behind me. I want to hit that closing section in front of me really hard, but I don’t want to fall. If I fell I would feel like this ride wasn’t successful. I bottom turn in front to the wave’s face, looking for that falling lip. As I spot it, my body compresses. My toes curl into the wax, my knees bend, my left arm leads, my right arm follows. 
    My board and I rise to greet the lip.  My head turns to spot the landing as my arms turn to the beach. My heart wants to me to turn harder. My heart wants to test my body to see what I am made of. My head wants my body to complete the turn without falling. I listen to my head. The turn is a success, or is it? 
    I used to think falling kept doors closed, kept me out of a world filled with answers, attainment, progress, joy. One morning I woke up and realized that without falling, I would never truly fly (both figuratively and literally, if I'm even thinking about learning to do an air). The truth is, falling is the key to the locked door that holds success. So these days, I'm learning to fall.