“Although we have been made to believe that if we let go we will end up with nothing, life itself reveals again and again the opposite: that letting go is the path to real freedom.” ~Sogyal Rinpoche
Letting go is so pleasant and effortless while you’re on vacation. I’ve been cataloguing the things that seem to make it more difficult in my everyday life.
I’ve been back for a bit more than a week now, and I love that post-vacation, seeing it all with new eyes feeling. The freedom of vacation allows me to set new patterns and renew commitments to myself; the transition into daily life tests those patterns and provides new food for thought, new material for learning not only who I am and who I want to be, but how I construct who I am, and how I encourage or discourage the person I am becoming.
Surfing was transformational. The morning of my 40th birthday we were wet-suiting up and toting our longboards on our heads behind a man who embodied “surf movie” but cocked his head and smiled blankly at any question we asked in English. While the contact at Pacific Surf School certified he was “fun and has awesome dreads”, no one vouched for his teaching skills, and we were soon to find out why. (btw: if you’re looking for surf lessons on Mission Beach, check out Surfari, avoid Pacific). So we paddled and he held our boards for the waves for an hour or so and what I most learned was that I loved trying to surf.
My husband was better able to stand on his board than I was, and I loved that he was loving the experience. Sharing this with him was the ultimate birthday gift. We would take turns, hours a day, for the next six days with a short board we bought used and a rented long board, one in the water, one out, watching one another, watching the surf, tumbling in the surf, paddling, waiting for the swell, pressing into the board to rise and take our stand, tumbling mostly, sometimes easing down with intent, always turning right back around and paddling into the waves. (bts: the short board was fun and light, but we had our best rides and most fun on the long board. Yeah, it advertises that you don’t know what you’re doing, but you’ll do that when you’re out there. Just stick to the long board. It’s cheap, it’s easier. We sold our short board on the way out of town and bought a wetsuit for our next trip. Oh yeah, there’ll be a next trip.)
There was yoga on the beach, and we took a cheap efficiency a block off the beach so we could just flop barefooted and swimsuited from bed to coffee to beach to bed to food. I only made it up on the board a handful of times, and those were thrilling, but not even the best moments. It was the “-ing” of it all, the mind clearing toss in the surf, the being there, the doing without thinking and the needlessness of words. The broad smiles and exhausted drops into bed.
Never once did I feel like I’d “failed” to do something. True, I could see on “Fabian’s” face that I was not his star pupil, but his utter lack of interest in me was what made it easy not to internalize. I was loving every salty, roaring, push you under gasp for breath go do it again moment. Disappearing into that moment was all that mattered. Could it be that that’s all that ever matters?