Any Ted Lasso fans out there are familiar with the character Dani Rojas and his oft-exclaimed proclamation, “Fútbol is Life!” Ever since I fell in love with paddleboarding a couple of years ago, whenever I’m out there on the water, my musings take me to a similar credo: “Paddleboarding is Life!” Here’s what I mean.
Smooth, calm water is lovely when you have it, but the water is ever-changing and impossible to predict.
The anticipation of the wave is worse than the wave itself. Let the wave come. If you resist it, you give it more power. Allow the wave; receive it graciously. Let it move you.
You’ll be tempted to over-analyze what’s coming – your brain is always trying to preempt possible danger. This is just your human brain, trying to protect you. Talk to that part of your brain lovingly, like you would to a child.
If things get a little scary, your attention will be pulled to all that is outside of you, but the key to keeping your balance and riding the waves is not found outside of you. The key to your balance is in your center, your core. Go there.
You’ll feel the stab of panic, the cascade of fear; these are signals and nothing more. Feel them as information in your body and move forward.
The headwinds will come, and it will seem that you’re making no progress at all. Measure your progress in inches.
You will fall. You’ll be knocked down. You’ll be finding your way back to the surface with water up your nose. This is called living, and you were, in fact, built for it. You were built to go out into the world and put yourself in harm’s way, on purpose.
Nature is medicine. The sky, the water, the trees – they are nourishment. Your body is the portal to experience these things.
We humans can spend too much time in our heads: solving problems, trying to out-think everything. We treat our bodies like second-class citizens, just along for the ride that’s happening inside our minds. We need to learn to listen to and connect with our bodies – to just be in our bodies, in the world. This is where the healing happens.