Last Saturday I escaped the rush of life and just sat by the beach.
Alone. Watching. Thinking.
I watched the waves come in and go out, pushing the water around. Sometimes all you could hear would be the thrashing of the waves against each other. Sometimes though, I was able to hear silence. There was no thrashing, and crashing of waves.
Then I realised, life is just like riding the waves.
Say that you are out in the waves and one minute you are there floating around (or standing, depending on how tall you are) and enjoying the serenity of the magnificent, open ocean. Then, out of no where a wave crashes over you, and for a moment you can’t find your footing, you’re disorientated, wanting to gasp for air, but you just continue to tumble around in the white wash of the wave. Suddenly, it stops. You’re able to breathe once again. You resume back to floating in the ocean, basking in all of its beauty before the next wave. Sometimes, if the sea is rough, you’ll have a split second to take a breath and then you go under again. However, regardless of the time between the next waves, you learn. You learn to either jump above it, or swim underneath it. You learn to assess the size of the wave, the pace, and if there are multiple ones behind it. Regardless, you are determined to make it through the next wave and have the knowledge that there is a time of rest and peace awaiting you after the wave. There are times though when you do get thrashed about unexpectedly like the first wave. It sucks – you’ve got water in you ears and its hard loosing your breath again. But, you survive it and learn. You learn that no matter how hard you try and resist the wave, it is beyond your capability, and struggling against the wave will only make your situation worse. Out there riding the waves you aren’t alone. There are other’s facing similar waves and are able to help you learn more about the waves. They are there to check on you when you when an unexpected wave sends you tumbling. Sometimes you are incredibly lucky to be able to hold onto a surfboard or a flotation device. When you get into strife and the waves put your life into danger there is a lifeguard trained to rescue you the moment you put your hand up and signal for help.
So, how is life just like riding the waves? It is you, out there traveling through life. There are moments when everything is working out in your favour and you can take the time to just enjoy life and your environment. However, there are moments in our lives when something unexpectedly turns our life upside down. It can be anything, a death, a sickness, a loss of something, stress, relationship breakdown, or anything under the sun that for a moment shakes you. It catches you off guard, time goes quickly, time goes slowly, everything is a mess, and it feels like you’re stuck. Then, after time it subsides and things start to clear up. You’re able to relish in the good days again, you are on top of your tasks, you are hitting those goals like there is no tomorrow, and every day just feels brighter. Over time you learn that bad things in life sadly won’t stop happening and that there is no method to the frequency between those bad things occurring. However, you learn new ways to cope, new ways to work with other people, and you start to understand yourself more. Over time you learn that when these challenging times come, the more you try to resist and struggle against them, the more you prolong the suffering or put yourself in a more compromising situation.
In life there are people all around you. There are people who are close to you that support you in every aspect of you life, regardless of what season you are going through. There are people who come and go in your life, leaving behind wisdom and life lessons. There are people whom we watch and learn from by the way they lead their life and react to certain situations. We are surrounded by people at different stages of their lives, who have faced different challenges, who have different abilities and strengths. However, regardless of how different we are, we are still all in this life, living and learning together. There are things also they we can use to help us, like medication, faith, exercise, holidays and so on. that are able to give us rest and assist in dealing with the ups and downs of life.
The waves will always come, but the longer you are out there, or the longer you live, the more you realise that it is just a wave. A wave is temporary, necessary, reoccurring, but in the end, it is just a wave. The hard times in our lives are temporary, necessary, reoccurring, and in the end, they are just hard times. All we can do is just ride the waves, appreciate them, make the most of them, because in reality they are the times when they push us in the right direction.
“Enlightenment is when a wave realises it is the ocean.” – Thich Nhat Hanh