Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The "Pray" is Back...

There hasn't been much surf in the last two weeks, just a whole lot of respiratory crap and what have you. But there has been some yoga, and today...the pray.

A teacher I know has said, "the mind is a dangerous place, you don't want to go in there alone." And then there are the Buddhists who call it a great cart, but a terrible horse.

Prayer (and meditation) is a way to retrain the tracks on which a mind runs. For all my years, those tracks, when otherwise unoccupied with work, achievement, entertainment, etc., exclusively ran along lines something like this:

One day my life will look like X.
And I will be happy because X.
But right now, I'm a failure because X.
And on and on.

We all get the picture. To call it monkey mind is probably a discredit to monkeys.

But after prayer, after continually practicing prayer, meditation, various methods of personal transformation and now, yes, surfing, the broken record sometimes sounds like this...

X is a blessing.
X is a challenge.
I love my mother.
I give my life for the greater good.
I promise to get out of my own way, so that spirit can act through me.
All is well.

Sometimes it sounds like this. Not all the time. Sometimes.
But sometimes is good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Surfing with Family is a Mixed Bag

My seven year old daughter has a skin condition. It makes things painful for her that are not painful for other people. It makes things frightening for her that are not frightening for other people. Like sand. Like sun. Like the beach.

As excited as I was to finally have a dual family surf session, during which I would watch the kids while my friend G surfed, and he would watch them while I surfed - Trinity was...unexcited. Full of dread. Overcome with anxiety. Miserable.

I soldiered forward. On my back, a bulging pack full of diapers, wipes and assorted child needs. Over my shoulder, a pouch full of snacks. From one arm hung an unwieldy beach bag holding water bottles, towels and a wetsuit. Under the other, a large blue surfboard. Big Mama Wave.  The triumph was carrying all this baggage while safely directing the children across the road, across the bike path and towards the water.

The defeat? Trinity wouldn't step off the boardwalk onto the sand.

The triumph? I set us up on the beach without losing it.

The defeat? Trinity still wouldn't step off the boardwalk onto the sand.

The triumph? Ultimately, I carried her, legs wrapped tightly around my waist, to a cool spot beneath a lifeguard station.

The defeat? No sitting beneath lifeguard stations.

And on and on and on.

The ultimate triumph? Family surfing day happened.  I paddled out, enjoyed the gentle rise and fall of the waves, caught a few, wiped out a few. Got wet, got cool, got healed.

I've been trying hard lately: to breathe deep, to stay calm, to not lose it. After surfing, I don't even have to try.

It was low tide by the time I made it to the water. G said it was hardly worth going out. I disagree.