In the years that I was married and my then-husband was coping with a traumatic brain injury following a car crash, each morning I would go out for my 3-mile run and then take my dogs our for their respective run-walks. My mood varied by what was going on at home, my workload with multiple contracts in the state of New Mexico for suicide prevention and loss workshops, and work on my doctorate. Some mornings were better than others. And there were mornings I didn't want to talk to anyone.
The problem was I couldn't avoid people. And because I had lived in the neighborhood for a number of years, I was known as the woman with the dogs (I had four) who ran every day. What I realized as time went on though, was that the more I forced myself to say "good morning" to people or to stop and have a short conversation with them, the more it lifted my mood. I believe this was because it took the focus off the rumination of the difficulties I faced.
Most people think that the hardest part about surfing is getting up on the board but the deception is that surfing is more than standing up straight on a shaped piece of wood to ride a wave. Not only do we have to get the timing right but we are contending with the ocean, something much larger than us.
What gets us in trouble is thinking that we are bigger than the ocean. I hadn't been on my surfboard in six months and my biggest fear about getting out on the ocean was getting past the breaks in the water. They are unpredictable and I have found myself getting battered by the water. My board hit me on the head twice yesterday (luckily, not hard but hard enough to remind me that I'm not in charge out there).
All three days I tried to surf on this trip, the water was breaking twice which made it more difficult to get to the lineup but it also made it great because you could have two chances to surf one wave.
While I love finding coins and the sense that they are left for me by my loved ones who have died, I sometimes joke that I wish I would find messages on sticky notes because I sometimes need the clarity.
After attempting to surf at Hungtington Beach yesterday, I sat on the beach for a while with a book I was reading. Although it's a self-help book, several chapters felt negative to me and I left the beach feeling worse than when I started reading. After dealing with a dead battery in the surf mobile, I returned to Palos Verdes and sat down with another book while I ate a late lunch.
One line from this book stood out: