Birthday Reflections. Surfing Alone During Coronavirus

Wow what a crazy wave we have all been riding recently. These unprecedented times have certainly shaped and molded us all in new ways to say the least. As the world adapts to a “new normal” I had a unique opportunity to reflect and ponder our radically changing worlds right now during a solo surf session recently in San Diego (sorry I’m not disclosing where) at a more remote spot when we were told our ocean waters were closed. Yes I’m a rebel at heart but the ocean was beckoning me and I was there to answer its calling.

My birthday is today. I’m always more reflective and seem to go more “inward” around my birthday. But to be able to do this completely alone with the ocean and elements at a great surf spot where normally there would be 15 to 20 guys out surfing was a gift that I will cherish for a long time to come. And it reminded me of who I am and what is truly important in life. Time alone in nature certainly enables this indeed. What a gift.

Our ocean is back “open” now for surfing, swimming, and other watersports even though certain beaches remain closed and we are told to not remain on the beaches while still maintaining a 6 ft distance between non household members. Its crowded out there and for good reason and so many people have been cooped up and “jonesing” to surf. But I’ll admit,  I’m not that anxious to get out there in the crowded lineup. I just keep remembering my solo time that day. Just me and the elements while enjoying the setting sun, the seagulls, the seaweed floating atop the salt water, a lone curious seal swimming by to say hello, and of course the waves of which I had the pick of which ones to ride. Or should I say the ocean chose which ones to ride me? In any case, it was such a beautiful necessary nostalgia. A unique spiritual ocean experience so essential for my soul. A remembering of how to rest in myself. 

I must say, even though I will miss surfing completely alone that special day, a part of me misses the comradarie and my fellow surfing kin in the water. Today (my birthday) is the first day since my “quarantine” that I get to share waves again with humans once again. I’m grateful. I’m also happy the ocean had it’s own time alone during this lockdown. I’m sure the dolphins and seals enjoyed playing in the waves and in their natural element without human contact for awhile. This has been a much needed exhale for nature and a rest from all the human “busyness” imposed on Her day in and out. Whew.

I’ll admit I’m so used to surfing with so many others sharing and “competing” for waves that the experience of surfing alone was a bit eerie and unusual for me. I even experienced some fear as the water was a bit murky from the red tide. Even though the natural scenery I was immersed in was so serene and beautiful my thoughts naturally went to wondering what was underneath me and when any sharks had had their last meal. In my moments of nervousness I immersed myself in paddling even though no waves were on the horizon, just to stay “busy”. Wow. What a mirror this experience was for me. Simply a reflection of what lies deep within (myself). And our fears can run deep my friends.

We all have fears and frustrations that are being magnified right now. Of getting sick, dying, of simply being isolated and alone, of adjusting to being less social (you mean I can’t even see or hug my friends like I used to?), and of being much more in contact constantly with our family members or roommates ( which can bring up a lot) among many other things. Covid 19 is simply showing us those fears and what lies beneath the surface. This virus lockdown time is a perfect mirror of our own thoughts and how we choose to handle or cope with our circumstances. Yes it’s a choice. Always. But feeling our fears and moving through them with courage is the foundation of how we cope with challenge and adversity as humans on this beautiful rock floating in “space”.

I have always known that although outer circumstances do define us, what’s more important is how we choose to cope with them and who we choose to be amidst those circumstances. That is what truly defines us. These are trying times. And in the challenge there always lies opportunity. We can’t forget that. It’s not the waves we ride but how we choose to ride them that will always matter.

And I ask the question again, do we ride the waves or do waves ride us? Or both? And how do we find the balance? Many “waves” of life are way bigger than us that we dont have control over (coronavirus) but the board under our feet is our “anchor” and that we do have control over. Our board determines how we ride every wave that comes our way. Our board is symbolic of our thoughts/perceptions and state of being. And that my friends, is something that we can always strive in honing and evolving. 

On my birthday my wish is that you (yes you) keep expanding in the fullest highest expression of who you are with your unique gifts to give to the world. Its needed now more than ever. Be the change. And stay kind and loving, mostly to yourself.

May you ride your “waves” well with conviction and courage dear ones…all the way to the other side….your own unique “shore”.

“Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it’s the Ocean”

Thich Nhat Hanh