To say that I qualify as an intermediate surfer is being generous, but since I am the one who writes, I will call myself exactly that: an intermediate. I am thirsty for improvement, and still at the point that every time I get out into the water with a board I improve to some extent.
In San Sebastian, Spain I surfed my heart out. I surfed this week until I couldn’t anymore. I surfed until my fingers and toes turned white from cold and my knees turned blue from bruises, until my face was burnt to a crisp and my eyes were bloodshot from 12-foot swells crashing into me. The waves in Spain are like what I have never seen before on the East Coast in the States; sometimes just getting out past the break took twenty minutes of getting battered and tossed around. I was a rag doll, and the sea was an impetuous, spoiled child who wanted only to see me give up. Give up I did not.
I was the intermediate trying to surf advanced waves, and much of the time I did not succeed, or win a position on the wave I wanted, as the people who really knew what they were doing were much more aggressive than me, easily pushing me out of position. Prevail though, I did. I mastered the feel of the surf, found my comfort zone and then pushed past it. The first time I caught a dropping wave that I had intuitively thought would crush me, I had chills all over my body. Every time thereafter it was a rush of ecstasy, far exceeding the relentlessness of the rough waters that jostled me around the other 90% of the time. I noticed though that the less I thought about a wave, the better I surfed it. When giant swells came my way, the only way for me to catch them was to turn off my brain; there was no room for thought, for thought allows room for fear, fear causes hesitation, and hesitation makes you miss out on the best waves.
Sometimes in life you have to do the same: turn your brain off. I tend to be an over-thinker myself, so when I can turn my brain off, I experience great freedom and tremendous subconscious growth. Surfing in Spain forced me to turn my brain off. I had to feel. I had to say no to fear. I had to trust my body. I had to believe that I could surf what I previously had not thought I was capable of, and I had to just try without thinking. And, it worked.
Let your brain turn off sometimes so that you too can grow by just letting go. If I can successfully hang in San Sebastian, on the “big boy” side of the surf, then you too can do anything that brings you great joy. Go get what you want in life, and don’t think too hard about all the perceived obstacles that stand in your way. The best swells of your life are just around the corner, be patient in waiting for them, and when they come, don’t hesitate, just ride the wave.