I love this metaphor: “We can’t stop the waves, but we can learn to surf.” ~ Jonathan Kabat-Zinn.
What does that really mean, though?
And how can we learn to metaphorically “surf” or swim (instead of sinking) when waves come crashing?
Yoga is one way I’ve found to be very helpful for navigating rough waters. Because yoga trains us to mindfully “witness” what is happening to us in a healthfully detached sort of way, it can build a internal resiliency reservoir within us.
Now, don’t get up and arms about that word “detached.” I know it carries some negative connotations. All I mean is that yoga empowers us to detach from our ego, expectations, and other things that often weigh us down or overwhelm us when we face stress or challenges.
So, lets just move forward with the wave metaphor to explain a little more what I mean…
When you were a kid at the beach, at first you never even noticed the ocean.
It was all about the sand, the trees, the toys right in front of you. Land was where it was at.
Then you noticed the water more, but were scared of it. There was no understanding of that large body of water other than it being big, loud, and very there.
One day you eventually dip in, and grow more comfortable. Perhaps, that’s where the journey ends. Or, you play for awhile, but as you grow older, you begin to spend more time on land again, on the shoreline, watching the waves.
Simply observing the waves intentionally, mindfully, seems to change them in subtle ways. You notice patterns. You respect – not fear – its power. What looks random to many others, just makes sense to you. The movement, the swells, the surges, and the withdrawals all serve a purpose.
When you step back in the water, when you re-engage, you seemingly naturally know how to move with the waves, how to roll up and down in concert with the natural force.
And it’s beautiful.
It’s beautiful because you transitioned from witness to actor, to engager, to part and particle of the whole, integrated, together. Being the witness enlightened you to being a better participant.
Your breath matches the tide.
Is every wave a matter of life and death? Certainly not. But now you know, you can go with the flow….because when you get caught in a rip tide, you’re supposed to swim WITH the current.
Fighting against it is futile.
So, here’s to finding the current, and jumping in 🙂
– 8 Nov – Next week I’m on my way to Washington DC to testify on a Secretary of Defense-commissioned panel about Response Systems on Adult Sexual Assault Crimes
– 11 Nov – Along with my friend, Tami Pine, we’re teaching FREE YOGA on Veterans Day in Denver, CO
– 17 Nov – Along with my friend, Kate Hendricks, we’re leading a 2hr Stress Reduction and Resiliency Workshop, Denver CO
– Looking for something a little “nerdier” to read? Friend and colleague, Kate Hendricks, and I, recently had a piece published in a scientific journal: Re-thinking Wellness: A Feminist Approach to Health and Fitness
– Just Roll With It Yoga & Adventure Retreats in COSTA RICA in the New Year!:)
–> 4-10 January 2014
–> 11-17 January 2014
Rest, recover, and play.
+ Are you in need of some fresh, down-to-earth inspiration? Do you have a copy of my book, Just Roll With It: The 7 Battle-Tested Traits for Creating a Ridiculously Happy, Healthy, and Successful Life, yet? No? No worries! Get your autographed copy HERE or order a copy for a loved one from Amazon.com for this swiftly approaching holiday season.