I just had one of the best moments of my life, and that’s surfing! For an ordinary person like me who doesn’t know how to swim, surfing could be a no, no; of course, anything could happen during the session. However, as I watched the beautiful scenery of waves being tossed in the air and the bright rays of the sun inviting me to join the party, I had decided to give surfing the chance to teach me some things that I have to learn.
As we, my instructor and I, approached the sea, I thought, “Will I be able to stand up on this surfing board? If I would, how many tries it will take me?” And so, a simple plan was created and that was to count all the attempts that I would have.
I always had tremendous wipe outs, and I just laughed so hard for myself. When I reached 10 attempts, I felt shame not because I couldn’t stand up on the surfing board but for my trainer who kept on encouraging and teaching me to never give up and just keep on trying. When my counting reached 14, I told him, “I’m on my 14th and still, I can’t stand up on this board!” He told me, “Stop counting your mistakes. Let’s get back to zero. Okay… hold… ready… and go!” AND I DID IT! I felt for the first time the waves underneath my board; I saw the seashore coming closer; and I heard my instructor gladly shouting that I really did it. It took me 14 attempts and on my 15th, surfing has taught me a lot:
1. Stop counting your mistakes; Start hoping for a good ride. Focusing on my mistakes will do me no good. It will just give me ideas on how to fail all over again. But when I started to breathe and hope that I would be able to make it, somehow I know that there’s a sudden shift of perspectives.
2. Always protect yourself when you fail from another danger. My coach taught me that if I get out of balance and fall, first thing to do is to protect myself from my own board for I am more important than it. Indeed, I am more important than my failures. So in every mistake, I must make sure that I am giving importance on myself by protecting it and not be consumed by my failure.
3. Learn to catch your good wave. Not all waves are good. I got wiped-out once by a not-so-good one… and it’s annoying and frustrating. The not-so-good wave first appeared to be exciting because of its hugeness. However, in the middle of my ride, it just led me nowhere and another wave overpowered me. I was reminded that there are people and opportunities which appear to be just like that kind of wave. Before engaging with them fully, I must make sure to give my full blast little by little or else, they will just trample me.
4. Ride with the waves and it will lead you to the shore, safely. My instructor told me, “I notice that your movement is not that straightforward. Usually a beginner would just have straight direction but you have some twists and tricks following the waves.” I answered, “Yeah. It’s because I play with the waves and it is fun.” Sometimes when problems are at hand, people panic and they have the tendency to go before them. But I have learned that all we have to do is to know how to balance and ride with those challenges. If we are able to ride with them properly, we will notice that they are the same aids that will help us get back to the shore, peacefully.
5. Be courageous enough to take the risk. Before my instructor and I departed, he told me that not all people can survive surfing. If one’s heart is weak and will just focus on his failures, he can’t stand surfing and will not enjoy the joy that it brings. He’s right. If I was still too weak to accept my defeat, I couldn’t engage with God’s nature. If I decided not to join the session because I was so afraid of anything that might happen to me, perhaps, I missed half of my life by letting go of a wonderful opportunity which was not given to everyone. Same with life… there are moments that we need to take risk before we get to see the results. All we need to do is to have is a discerning and courageous heart to accept whether defeat or victory.
After my first stand on my board, I still experienced to fail a lot of times. But what matters most to me right now is the time to be engaged with my waves all over again…