I just returned from the salon, and after listening to
myself ramble to my hairstylist about the turbulent ride
these last 10 weeks have been, I feel both spent and surprised
to have survived the dizzying twists and turns.
Holidays & Hosting.
Know how I have been coping with life’s bumpy ride?
(No, no, not like a playa and not like a girlboss either…
even though playas and girlbosses are lovely.)
Like a surfer.
(I took the photo of these surfers at Pipeline,
a surfing competition on Oahu’s North Shore.
It’s my happy place.)
When you reach a certain age, I think you are less surprised
when the roaring waves roll in..even the ones
gnarly enough to claim you.
Because you learn you can ride gnarly waves.
Two words have become profoundly
significant on my surfing journey in the past year.
I learned them from a wise teacher.
Relax and cooperate.
To do this demands a letting go, a surrender,
and a gentle opening of hands and soul.
For many years, my small hands naturally
formed clenched fists whenever fear or anxiety surfaced.
I don’t think I viewed this response as unhealthy.
Just a harmless reaction, I thought.
It was only when I began to unfurl the fear from
these fingers in a vulnerable
and surrendered posture to receive,
that I began to awaken to a hidden wholeness.
As I practiced upturning my palms–even shaky palms–
to the sky more often, I found that my capacity
to feel love and compassion was expanding.
Is this not a precious treasure to discover
in the second half of life!?!
There was indeed violence in my tightly held fists.
I am keenly aware I still resemble a
stay-at-home-gypsy wired for words
more than I do a wave-loving-surfer-sage.
But there is surfing going on over here
in the land-locked heartland, brah.
For waves, for transformation,
for the gift of awakening to new realms.
Richard Rohr says if you don’t transform your pain,
you’ll transmit it, and I know he’s right.
In fact, pain can be recycled beautifully
if we allow it to have its way with us.
So when I open these hands now, I let go.
Of my need for approval and acceptance.
I let go of the old agenda,
and suddenly a new spaciousness
It’s an ongoing endeavor, of course.
I keep falling asleep, keep clinging,
and keep forgetting to open my hands.
And I’ll never truly arrive, even with striving
(which is totally a relief if you ask me).
But what might lie ahead with
metaphorical surfing practice, living out
two un-sexy words–relax and cooperate–
when the seas are stormy?
Do you suppose even bumpy roads
can somehow become a beautiful
deep blue ocean of waves?
Peace to you right where you are.