Today was my first full day in Santa Teresa and I started it off with my very first surfing lesson. I have taken surfing classes before in Hawaii, Australia and Tofino…but they were more one off lessons with the last one being about 6 years ago.
I met my surfing instructor at 8am and discovered that there was no one else in the class today except for me. My immediate sarcastic thought was that this was just fantastic…as it would mean all unnecessary attention would be solely on me. But it turns out that the universe knew what I needed more than I did…
I mentioned to him that I get tired fast…as my anxious reaction was to think that this surf lesson was going to exert more energy than I had to give…and I would get sick. But I just had to fuck it. He re-assured me that today was just an introduction and we would be taking it easy as I needed to learn the techniques.
He said we would start off slow…but I followed him into the water…wait…I hadn’t learned any techniques yet…is he crazy? What is happening?
We walked through the waves and he told me to hop on the board…which I did a few times…and then we went back to shore. He said that, based on my skills, we would start from the very beginning.
He proceeded to show me how to get on the board in preparation for a wave…lie down on the board, hands in close, get into cobra, elbows locked, get into a downward dog type position, left leg in front, then right leg and into position. We practiced this several times on land and then we headed back into the waves.
These waves can get intense. I was tired just by going through them and I could feel the panic rising in my chest. He asked me if I was ok…I nodded saying that I was anxious…he told me to breathe and said that he would be wth me the whole time. I turned around with the surfboard and followed his instructions.
I tried a few times with no success…just got tossed in the waves over and over…I was trying to breathe and relax…he said that I was thinking too much…and he asked me again if I was ok…I said I was not and that I needed a break.
My eyes started to well up and I began to cry.
I told him I was scared and that I hate that I have become so fearful over the years. I never used to be like this…I’ve jumped out of a plane for god’s sake!
He told me it’s life that has created this fear…and gently instructed me to lie down in the sand. He laid down next to me and breathed with me while I sobbed. He told me to feel the wind…feel the sand…hear the ocean…and to just breathe. He told me not to worry…that I was taking a huge step today and that many people cry during their first lesson because surfing can bring out really deep and intense feelings within us.
He patiently supported me while I slowly regained my composure…never rushing me in any direction…but just being there…with me…in the moment.
Overthinking was not just applied to surfing…but to my life on a daily basis…
We went back into the water one more time…and this time I managed to almost stand up on the board…and I was smiling..and laughing as I did it! I could feel that my energy had shifted…and the smiling and the laughter meant more to me than actually standing on the surfboard…I felt like I had won.
Thank you to my surf instructor who is a gentle soul…thank you for showing me kindness and compassion…and reminding me that life is a gift…and that we are lucky to be alive.
This was a true testament to the Pura Vida lifestyle that the Costa Ricans embody…I only hope that I can carry this on in my lesson tomorrow…but I will be gentle with myself in case I’m in need of another nudge…
As I was saying..the universe knew what it was doing when it sent me as your only student today…