April has been strangely hard so far, for some reason, and I can’t really point out why. It shouldn’t be, especially after a quietly victorious Holy Week, and how the first three months of the year has just been really good. Why would April be so hard when I’ve got so much fuel to keep me up?
Anyway. I went surfing with some friends last weekend. I wiped out more times than I was able to stand, but that few seconds of being on the board and actually riding the waves felt almost surreal. I know most first-time surfers had the same sentiments that I have. I understand what makes it so fun, why people want to do it over and over again. Truth be told, I almost wanted to quit after wiping out for the nth time…and then, I actually managed to stand up. It was just a few seconds — few, precious seconds — before falling off again, but it had me whooping like an excited idiot when I surfaced again (not that the water was deep, anyway). Then I ride the again to try one more time. Again and again, against the waves, with other surfers, while the sun beats down on everyone.
I was thinking of a corny analogy for that — you know, compare life with surfing? But it already sounds corny in my head, so let’s not get to that. Instead, I think of how surfing requires so much…hereness. You know, focusing on where you are, right now.
Let me elaborate. I’m not a huge fan of deep water, even if I can swim. I admit that surfing made me apprehensive because the ocean is so big, the waves are so strong and what can a small person like me do against something that big and powerful? Anything can go wrong, and I can imagine all the accidents that could possibly happen, and how I may never, ever want to do it again.1
Being out there, however, with the instructor telling me what to do, taught me that lesson on being here. There’s no room for over thinking there, there’s just room for now. You can’t wonder endlessly about what happens next, because before you know it, a good wave comes, and the instructor pushes your board and the only thing that can have room in your mind is “This is it, let’s do this”. There are no guarantees if you’ll be able to stand, or if you’ll wipe out in the most embarrassing fashion, but you can’t possibly care for that anymore because the wave is here, and you just have to ride it now.
That’s the thing: in the midst of all the crashing waves and the fear of things going wrong, sometimes the best way to deal with it is to just be at the present. There’s no way for us to know if things will go our way or not, if we will be able to stand up or wipe out. Stop thinking of what could be, of the what-ifs, and just be here now.
My heart in the past two weeks was like the ocean I experienced in that weekend. There were too many things, too many questions and too long silences that made my emotions as turbulent as the waves in La Union. It rattled me because I wanted to get back to that highness and wonderfulness that is March, and I worried of what will happen in the future. But if there was anything I learned in that weekend where I first rode a wave — as corny as this may seem — it’s to just be wherever I am. Be in the present, not in the past or in the future.
Be here now.
Sometimes, when everything is too noisy or messy or when everything seems broken, the best thing we can do is to sit and revel in the now. Sometimes, the bravest thing we can do when nothing makes sense, when the waves are stronger than us, is to lie down on our board, wait for that wave and that push. Feel the motion of the water and then try to stand up…and then laugh in glee as you feel the exhilaration of being fully where you are, riding that wave, before you gloriously (and sometimes, embarrassingly) wipe out.
But it’s okay. And then, you go back up and try again. And again. :) Because sometimes, there is no better place for us — for me — than to be where we are right now.
Be brave, love. Be here now.