Reflections on the Water

21 Sep

The scariest thing about learning to surf is strapping the board on top of the car and praying it doesn’t come flying off on the freeway. Seriously. Or, worrying if the little pocket in your wet suit, designed to hold your car key will indeed hold it. (Okay, I’m as neurotic as a female Woody Allen, I admit). But with faith the size of a mustard seed, I am managing to overcome these challenges. 

So today marks the beginning of a few much needed days off from work before the chaos of work plus school starts. Confronting my board transporting fears and the bizarre wailing sound the wind makes against the transport straps (a cross between a motorcycle and lawn mower), I went to the beach. And I was pleasantly reminded that the Pacific looks much different on weekday mornings than it does on Saturdays during a stretch of unseasonably warm water temperatures. 

Although surfing can be a communal gig, in the end it is just me and the wave. Being alone today, I luxuriated in this phenomenon. As a learner, I need time to think about what the wave is doing to me. Is it pushing me, gliding me, wiping me out or pearling me? And what I am doing in the intersection?

To master anything takes practice and the courage to make mistakes. On the other hand, repeating the same mistakes over and over creates bad habits. Good form is essential. In ballet, you do a million plies at the barre before moving to the floor and jumping. You build strength and foundation before graduating to pointe shoes.

With surfing, it’s all in the pop up. If I get the pop up right, I get the wave. If I have bad form, I stumble.

I reflect on all these things but in the end, thinking evaporates like the mist when the sun breaks through the clouds. In its place, being emerges. Thought, feeling and motion become their own form of trinity. And all my neurosis washes away with the foam (at least temporarily). From swimming in solitude. Literarily and figuratively. 

I feel so blessed to have this time to reconnect with myself. How disconnected I’ve been. 

“I am the bubble, make me the sea.” (P. Yogananda)

3 Responses to “Reflections on the Water”

  1. Kevin Brangwynne September 22, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    Hi Lise…just catching up on your last few posts, as I was out of town on business last week. I love the way you write…it really is beautiful! Don’t ever stop!! Can’t wait to read your reflections as you go through seminary. I suspect I’ll be blown away!

  2. lisesletters September 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm #


    Thank you for your sweet words. This means much and it was lovely to see you at JCC recently. I need to write like I need to breathe so I don’t think I’ll ever stop; I am worried however how I’m going to find time to sleep once seminary starts next week! I would give anything to make my living writing and not have to go into work everyday!!!!


  3. Kevin Brangwynne September 22, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    It’s always a pleasure to see you too and I’ll be praying for you as you make this transition…that there will be time enough in your busy schedule for you to do all the things that bring you the greatest joy (like writing / dance / surfing, etc!) Heck, I get worn out just thinking about it! 😉

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