During my holiday last year in Ericeira Portugal I had an experience that shifted my energy. It was high tide and turbulent day for me to choose to surf but the waves had been poor the previous day so Tom and I were eager to get out. Once out in the ocean the enormity of the waves hit me, and after a little breather whilst bobbing up and down one these huge waves I decided to make an attempt for shore. Inexperienced and terrified I found myself hurtling to shore, before getting mashed up by the wave. I landed next to some rocks my lead tied it’s self around my ankles meaning that an escape from the next ginormous wave approaching impossible. After being churned up once more by the wave, my leash freed up and I grabbed my board to run for safety. As I looked back at the ocean it was empty not a surfer in sight. The waves continued breaking and crashing onto the rocks at the shore, and I realised it was a lucky escape.
As I walked home that night I sobbed, and felt all of the anxiety and tension that I had been holding in my body from this event flow out of me very unceremoniously.
The next day completely afraid I picked up my board and faced the waves again......this time they were slightly smaller. Even though I was afraid and visibly shaking I spent the next three hours surfing the waves. It was amazing! I felt the rush and thrill of the ocean, and the euphoria as I caught wave after wave.
The following day I stopped in the street to play around with a little inversion. Something that for many of my students can be very frightening. I had tumbled out of handstands a few times in the past and although I was still working with them, if I am being honest I was holding back a little. As someone who is a self proclaimed control freak I was afraid of not being in control. However that day something was different, I hopped up into my handstand I felt the charge of energy flow through me, and I could feel the earth pulling up through my hands. Holding the balance my body felt completely alive and energised. I felt like something had changed. I felt that loosing control on the waves that, and realising that I am unable to control everything it made me more connected to my body. I was less in my head and more in my body, feeling the pose.
We are taught to see fear as something to be supressed, or to be ashamed of, something that we should hide from others incase they see our vulnerabilities. While I do agree that there are times when it really does serve us to keep our fear hidden to protect ourselves, it is often our fear that keeps us trapped in a state, way of being and living that doesn't serve us. What I experienced on my trip was being very afraid at the mercy of the powerful ocean, then going back the next day to face the fear, which in turn really grounded me. My experience taught me great things can happen when we ride the wave, feel all that comes up and move through it.