The Wave is your Life, the Board is your Breath.
Embarking on another adventure to the beautiful West Coast of Canada with two of my greatest friends, or brothers I should say, I found myself on a 20 seater jet en route to Calgary from Edmonton. Sleep was impossible; in part because of the ever growing excitement of our final destination, Revelstoke, BC, for some of the most incredible big mountain riding an adventurer can dream of, and in part because of the gigantic engine that might as well have been booming in the seat beside me. The perfect setting to think, and to write…so I wrote:
“I’ve been pondering the comparison between life and surfing. A surf board is a tool we use to conquer the wave, or at least survive it. Much like a good education, rooted in genuine curiosity and fascination, or worldly experience rooted in global travel is a tool we use to succeed in life and find whatever happiness we can.
Like life, a wave is much more powerful than even the strongest will of the human spirit. It has the power to create and destroy in a capacity we only imagine to understand. We utilize the tools we are given and cultivate in life just as we utilize the board. As we foster these tools or skills, we become better at controlling them. With the board, as in life, we learn how to keep momentum we have built, and often build it stronger. We learn how to twist, turn, slow down, cut back, or speed up. The wave is unpredictable, it can crash at any moment and it is rarley, if ever, as stable as we had thought it to be. There are times when the wave takes us over. There are times when life falls apart.
Our human nature, often filled with hubris, tells we are stronger than the wave, stronger than life, and we can beat it. Human’s have become so arrogant in this way that our teachers, parents, relatives, and friends will say the same: We can beat it. Humanity has made a blanket statement that giving up is weakness, when at times it can be the most powerful and challenging thing that can be done. It is in these times when the ego must perish. In these times, humility must take the reigns. Let go. Let go of the idea that nothing is stronger than your will to persevere. Stop and think, perhaps it is your will to persevere that is causing you so much suffering. You are not stronger than the wave, and despite what everyone and everything has told you, this is not weakness. It is strength. Learn to exhale, learn to let go. Learn to let the wave take you under, toss you around. The wave will eventually take notice of your surrender, it will release you from its grasp, let you come up for air, gasp deeply inwards, and put the board back underneath your feet. In your strength to let go, so increases your strength to hold on, so that next time, life won’t knock you off so easily.”
These notions proved extremely versatile and applicable during my time on the mountain, and these notions arise because of the dedication to practice of steadying the poses of the physical body, and the ever difficult task of steadying the mind. The depth of snow in the high mountains acts suspiciously like treacherous waters at times. I think they are conspiring together. I did not escape the mountains unscathed, but I am happy with the injuries incurred. Had I held on for another split second, I may not be smiling with the truest of pleasure that you see on my face. Until next time!
Contributed and wrriten by: Taylor MacGillivary