I have always loved the beach. The ocean in particular. It is truly my favorite place on earth – my “happy place.”
There has always been something so calming and serene about the ocean for me. I could spend hours and hours and days on end, by the ocean. Like a yoga practice – it brings me mental clarity and peace.
Lessons learned from the waves in the ocean
My husband and I were recently on vacation. We went to Miami Beach, Florida, where we celebrated our wedding anniversary.
Every time we went for a swim in the ocean and a wave came, I realized that when I tensed up and fought against the wave, I lost.
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But, when I softened and relaxed my body, the wave naturally carried me forward.
Fighting versus softening with the waves
I thought about this many times while relaxing on the beach and drew a parallel to life.
When we fight against the waves in our lives, it creates tension and gets us nowhere. When we soften and relax with the waves in our lives (yes, even the hard ones), they propel us forward.
The wave will fade, and in that fading lies the ease and calm that we’ve been waiting for.
Life is much like a wave:
- It ebbs and flows.
- Busy times are followed by slow times.
- Stressful times are followed by times of ease.
- There are high points and low points.
There is always a beginning and an end.
How to approach the waves in your life
Life can become stressful when we don’t surrender to the natural current of where life is taking us.
Fighting against life’s currents is like fighting a roaring wave. It just leaves you depleted and exhausted.
Surrender yourself completely to the process (journey) and become one with the waves. This will move you forward into the space life is taking you.
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You will get there faster and with greater ease, than when you resist.
What letting go and softening looks like
You will often see that there is a bigger picture if you can let go and surrender to the flow of where life is pulling you.
Even when times are really hard and you don’t understand why something is happening.
Something bigger than yourself is unfolding.
Everything happens in its own divine timing. Trust the timing of the waves (experiences) in your life.
Trust that what is happening now, is preparing you for where you are going.
Instead of fighting the experience and trying to flee from it, consider that there is a lesson and growth there. The only way to get the lesson and to grow from the experience is to soften into it.
How your own yoga practice bears out these truths
It’s like holding Utkatasana (Chair Pose) in class.
The more we resist and tense up in the pose, the harder this already challenging pose becomes.
But, if we turn the corners of our mouth up in the pose, soften the shoulders away from the ears, and draw the shoulder blades together on our back…
Suddenly, there is space and ease in this challenging pose.
Rather than being “reactive,” we’re now “open” to not only the experience of chair pose but the lesson and growth that the pose is imparting on us.
What this means for you now
It’s difficult to be open to lessons and growth when we’re fighting and resisting. I often tell students in the class, to get out of their head and own way.
It’s much the same in riding the waves of life.
Try to get quiet and still enough. Soften your heart and release your expectations. This will create ease around the experience.
THAT’s where the magic of acceptance and growth can occur.
How to get out of your own way
What will you do the next time a wave comes at you in your life?
Are you’re currently in the midst of one?
How are you reacting?
Are you fighting against it?
Are you softening into it?
Consider what fighting and worrying solve. Now, consider what surrendering and softening do. Even in the midst of something that is already difficult.
You have a choice to make:
- Your way of being can create more turmoil amidst the wave, or
- Your way of being can create ease and help move you forward in the wave.
I want to leave you with the quote from above. Please read this slowly and as many times as you need to.
Let it land on your heart.
“Life comes in waves. We can’t predict or control those waves, but we can learn to surf.” ~ Dan Millman
When your back is against life’s ocean, my hope and encouragement is that you will choose to surf the waves.