How do you anticipate and respond to waves crashing around you?
As the temperatures warm and the calendar flips over to June, my mind goes to the beach and memories of childhood summer vacations. My brothers and I would play in the waves until our fingers wrinkled beyond recognition and our bathing suits filled with sand. We learned quickly how to watch the waves and anticipate the size and strength of them as they broke.
My favorite waves were always the bloopers (at least that's what we called them) - they didn't break so you could swim along the top and get a little height before it passed. But of course, not all waves brought enjoyment. I have a vivid memory of one particular double wave. I dove into the first unaware of the second one hidden behind it. When I came up for air, I anticipated a lull between waves and took a deep breath too early. A little panic set in as I inhaled what felt like a gallon of salt water before finally breaking the surface.
The waves of life hit with varying strength and speed. Sometimes we're ready to ride them, sometimes we get tossed by the unexpected strength, sometimes we dive right into it ready for adventure, and other times we let a blooper give us the gentle boost we need. Or as Kabat-Zinn suggests, we can learn to surf them.
I haven't had the opportunity to learn how to surf, yet. It always seems so magical especially when I see an image of a surfer inside the barrel of a wave. But as with most things that appear graceful and easy, that ease comes from practicing strength, self-awareness, skillful observing/listening, and a willingness to wipe out. These same qualities can help us to be mindful and able to respond to what crashes around us every day. Let's get surfing!