Hey guys! It’s Dad.
I’ve been throwing around this idea for quite some time; that surfing is a sort of metaphor for life. Not only that events in life come through in waves, but how we surf those waves ultimately determines our happiness.
It all kinda sorted itself out when I saw a social media post from a guy named David Bederman. He shared, “The Surfers’ Mentality.”
To summarize, David explains that surfers do one particular thing better than most of us do, and it’s not surfing. Surfer want to catch a great wave! They’ll fly and drive and hike and paddle and wait…to catch that perfect wave. But when they do, they know that it isn’t going to last forever. When they drop in on a great wave, they really enjoy it, they ride if as long as they can. But at every moment, they know that the wave is gonna crash. They could wipeout. “Get drilled.” But the surfer understands that there’s always going to be another wave.
Wrapping this into thoughts of presence and gratitude, let me expand a little on his idea.
The way I see it is that surfers are better at being (and staying) present than most of us are: They don’t take the good times, the bad times, or any of the times in between for granted.
When we go surfing, we need to be prepared. We need to be at the right place. If we’re smart, if we’ve eaten, if we’ve stretched and warmed up a bit, thrown on some sunscreen, and waxed our boards…then we’re prepared for the moments to come. We’re hoping for good conditions, friends, both old and new, nice weather, and big, surfable waves. If all that lines up nicely for us, then we paddle out and wait.
Maybe we’re stuck in the lull between sets. Maybe we miss the perfect wave as we’re paddling out. But then we catch a good one. We’re up…for a second, or five, or twenty. Maybe the nose of the board pearls. Maybe the wave closes out or we get sucked over the falls. Maybe we have a great, great ride and we let out a huge, hearty howl as we kick out, flopping on our back with our arms spread. But no matter what (unless maybe we got drilled) we’ll just paddle out again, feel the sun on our faces, and smile.
The idea of not just being present but being grateful during good times and patient and understanding during challenging times, speaks to the impermanence of life. The presence and patience and appreciation and understanding, no matter what you are currently going through in life, ensures that you’ll be in it…truly in life…with the best spirit possible. We can’t be sure what’s coming…but we can be sure that it’s gonna be different. Ultimately, good or bad, every moment is temporary…unless we’re unwilling to see them that way.
But this “Surfer’s Mentality” isn’t actually a new thing. The same perspective, the same ideas of presence and gratitude and impermanence can be found in old Jewish and Persian folklore dating back to 2,000 years before surfing was a thing. There are countless versions of fables, from King Solomon to Sufi poets to Abraham Lincoln, sharing one common idea: “This too shall pass.”
Lincoln once spoke,
“It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! — how consoling in the depths of affliction!”
To be humbled by and grateful for the good times. To be understanding and graceful during the hard times…
To be present…
This is the surfer’s mindset.
I love you guys