Riding the waves of life – surfing is my metaphor.

This morning my partner came to me for support with a heavy heart.  She was looking at some photos of her favourite uncle and it stirred feelings of love and feelings of fear and sadness.  Her uncle is battling a serious health problem and my partner expressed fear about the inevitable day of saying goodbye.  This moment started a beautiful discussion about fear, happiness, sadness, and the whole range of human emotions.

As you know, all of life, as I see it, is about waves.  I usually speak about electromagnetic or mechanical waves in my posts but today I am speaking about the slightly more abstract waves of life, or more specifically, the waves of emotion.  It really got me thinking about how fortunate we are as humans to experience the peaks and troughs of the waves of life.  Even right now, as I think back to my biggest peaks, I can re-create those wonderful feelings and in fact, cause a surge of hormones – just from that memory.  How cool is that?

Conversely, I can think about my periods in the troughs of waves and a heaviness spreads across my chest and my eyes become moist at the very thought of those feelings of despair and helplessness.  What is beautiful about life and being human is that we get to ride our long boards through these troughs; weather the swell, and ride it back up the peak. As we balance our board at the peak of the wave we relish the feeling of the sun on our back and the mist in our face and the feeling of the exhilaration of life at that moment.  As we get older, we know the ride on top doesn’t last for too long; eventually we are sliding down the wave and back into a trough.  As we get older we accept this reality of life.  If we are really fortunate, we see the ride down the wave as the real gift of being human.  For if it not for the trough how would we ever really know how good it is to ride the crest!

It is easy to have perspective when you are not fighting your board at the bottom of a big, ominous wave.  When you are down there, gripping the deck with your toes, it is dark and uncertain and you are scared.  What if I never come back up?  Fortunately, in life as with all waves, there is ALWAYS a force which carries you back up.  You reach the top and feel better.  It is this ebb and flow of the waves of life that gives us the ability to contrast our feelings and it gives us hope that no matter how rough the swell, we will rise to the top again.  Our toes will relax and will carve gracefully across the peak.  Our smiles will be visible from shore.

I think the important lesson in the metaphor of “waves are life” is to stay on that board!  It is the surfing that makes us human and makes us really appreciate the full range of the waves of our emotions.

I dedicate this blog to my partner, our favourite uncle, and to anybody who is struggling to stay on the board.  Ride it out, another crest is on its way – it is the nature of life.



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