Why women were born to surf.And have babies

I recently caught up with a pretty special lady that I met through a mutual friend out in the surf. We each shared our vastly different experiences coming back from Indo trips over the years. Let’s just say her Bali belly was of a different nature to that of a non-refrigerated plate of nasi goreng.  In fact, she’s the only women I’ve met where I’ve recognized the striking connection between surfing and childbirth. I was rather intrigued by her sophisticated transition from a lady surfer to a baby’s mamma. As we sat over lattes at her local beachside café, she gracefully caressed her now six-month old, revealing her lavish smile as she retells the most defining chapter of her life.  

And that’s where it struck me. We jokingly made mention of our cupcake baking besties and their direct experiences of childbirth, and how they differed from those that she knew as surfers. The environment is more of a rough, testosterone filled line-up, where your cute bikini doesn’t mean much in the often dog-eat-dog habitat. And no I’m not talking about the dance of male pursuing female, although I now see it reads alike. I’m actually referring to all the risk factors of surfing, and how it’s a few notches above a mild burn, off a torn oven mitt pulling out that tray of freshly baked cupcakes.

She distinctly remembers hyperventilating on her hospital bed as the nurses attemptedhealthy living to relieve her immense pain with a gas mask. Through belts of laughter, she explained how she ran for the hospital door, ripping out all of her monitors, screaming ‘I can’t do this! I’m leaving!’ as the nurses ran after her.

After realising there wasn’t any going back, and the birth was in fact happening, like right now, she managed to calm her mind, and in turn her pain, from a very different source. One that’s not available in your regular hospital medical cabinets.  She vividly sketched the surface of a calm ocean surface in her mind, breathing deep as she remembered the silky feeling of a summer’s sea caressing her arms and fingertips, as she carelessly paddled through the line-up.

In describing surfing, she explained the all too familiar burning sensation of shoulders and arms, as you desperately desire that one perfect wave. The lifetime of deep fin slashes, bruises, burning reef cuts, jelly fish stings, infections and all other aspects of surfing that seem to add a coat of armour, to what could have been a life baking cupcakes. Not that we hold anything against our cupcake baking queens.

She was of the firm view that women who surf have a higher pain threshold. But I think32204_400218545167_814411_n it’s much deeper than a physical element. Mentally we hold those magical moments out in the ocean in the forefront of our mind. Often drifting off into daydream, far away from our current reality. And I know how much of a lulling effect that has upon flashback. I think the power of the ocean continues to live within, no matter how long it’s been since your last session.

I’m sure there’s that special kinship of once developing in the wound of salty fluid yourself, and that connection to the salt water as a surfer. Something I’m yet to describe in words. As for surfing with a young baby, constantly craving mum’s presence, I’ve never seen a girl so excited to get out into the surf at any given opportunity. It just makes me smile so big. But she just knew in her heart when she was ready. That pivotal moment when she realised there was something bigger to life than just surfing. As for the link between surfing and pregnancy; does it make us invincible? As much as we like to think that, I’m sure nothing will compare to the pain and challenge, we’re just equipped with a certain set of coping mechanisms, that are as unique as our salted gills, absent in our non-aquarian counterparts.

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Nature’s own rhythm

And I could sit on the shore and say that the tide’s all wrong, the wind is up, it’s about to pour with rain and the waves have no form to even consider riding. All was true. But my desire to be out there with an ocean to myself was too much to resist. Then I remembered I could still feel the warmth of a summer just passed, the water wrapping around my body as I sit alone being rocked in an ocean so vast and empty. White puffy clouds taller than any man-made tower soar on the horizon, igniting the purple tints reflecting from a sun soon to set.

I remembered it all but at the same time forgot so much.

I forgot what it was like to sit alone as the weather started to turn.

Beating to its own unmistakeable rhythm.

Black clouds arrived seemingly out of nowhere, as though they were ready to perform at a circus. The calm air quickly turned into a ferocious wind, as if to introduce the storm-front lashing the ocean to the north. Any colour from the horizon drained and transformed to229327_10151038233085168_1203521898_n shades of grey, like an artist knocking his brush water over his fine watercolour canvas.

Rain whips my soft skin and beats so heavy I lose sight of the shore I once was sitting on. I shield my hands over my eyes as my vision is pierced by the dagger-like drops of rain. Why am I worried that a wave will come that I simply can’t see? I felt it a hundred times before but how could I forget.

Amidst the chaos, I couldn’t help but begin to laugh out loud as a shiver of joy ran from head to toe.

A wave suddenly peaks as I laugh at my own joke and I have to paddle hard to make it safe to the other side. As I dive deep into the warm green water, I briefly escape the piercing rain drops. Returning to surface, the entire water is encapsulated by a blanket-like cover of soft mist, revealing the perfect curves of the ocean. Misguided lines of swell roll in, regardless of what the heavens had planned.

And as quick as the ocean was torn apart, the air calms as the little pocket of storm moves further south, as if to follow the second storm front moving in sync along the mountainside in the distance. You could never tell me that you used to surf, for you were never a surfer in the first place.

Passion lives here

What if you lifted all the pressure off yourself to perform in the blank areas of your life where your passion does not live and focused on the aspects you could never get enough of? Being a great lover. A great surfer. An adventurer and a free-spirit whose soul couldsurf lifestyle never be touched by anyone that comes into your space.

I’m not saying that blank areas are small and meaningless segments of your life. Quite the opposite. Your job for instance. How many truly love their 9-5? Sure it’s great if you do but luckily not all of our minds are created equally. I truly believe a life without passion is not much of a life at all and you’ve been taught, or even promised, to find it bountifully in all the wrong places.

Get a degree, work your way to the top, crush all below. How many of your passions are left untouched, collecting cobwebs amidst the chaos of chasing a career or a car or a house? tropicsDecades fly by. What if you so strongly felt in your heart of hearts that you’re put on this earth to just love. To just surf. To give others love. To give your kids your all. None of that has any monetary value yet all are ultimately priceless.

If you’ve found your passion in a very particular area of your life then that’s what gets your fire burning. Your vibration lifted. Take that energy and let it spill to those blank areas because you already found your purpose with so much certainty.

Think of finding passion as akin to being truly, madly, deeply in love. Your world just lights up.

Your underlying resistance that was once unexplainable vanishes. Things flow with ease and grace. You give more and can receive more. Stop wasting moments worrying about aspects and spaces that will never hold any value to you and only you. I’m not sure why, but things just start to make sense when you find your passion.

What you were looking for might already be in front of your very eyes.

The Wild Things

I feel my fiercely independent nature weaving into my daily life most profoundly when I sit still. I’m a wanderer, a drifter, a gypsy who’s never really found a home other than in the hearts of those whose souls call to converse with mine. But more often than not, I find my home in the ocean because its lines seem to run deeper than the thread of another. Floating above the earth’s surface encapsulated by sparkling blue waters, I feel it’s all the comfort and reassurance I need to get by.

The last full moon rose in my sign of Cancer and I hadn’t felt the need to crawl in my hardspiritual shell and tuck my claws away as strongly as I had in this moon’s pull. It wasn’t until after I felt waves of sensitivity, to everything, and an almost overwhelm, that I placed my eyes on an astrology report that spoke just to what I was feeling.

I’ve read that the stars and planets are a reflection of the current happenings on earth and that they are deeply in sync. Those that can whisper those reflections back to us have a gift of communicating with the universe.

I am a believer in astrology, not that I know too much about it, but I want more of its grounding explanations read to me to put everything in its place. I like things neatly in their place.

The moon brought out in me a feeling of panic, an overwhelm that I’ve been overseas for so long that my communities have spread so wide that they feel almost out of touch. Sometimes I forget that many can still reside in my heart, if not in my presence. I’ve thrived for so long in the vastness of the ocean on my own.

Watching the sun lazily rise above the misty horizon. Schools of bait fish passing through to disturb the ocean surface. The tide changing to create strong currents sweeping out to sea. Lone dolphins happily exploring the curves of the ocean floor.

I desperately wanted to scamper to find groups of friends, feeling I could easily distractlost island myself with resolution by external source. As the moon seemed to pull I pushed harder in return. I needed quiet. I needed to explore a corner of my soul that hadn’t been touched for so long.

Today as the moon wanes to barely visible, I feel the cooling offshore breeze from the furthest mountains on my face.

I feel it so deeply that I nearly trip over my own feet after I close my eyes and breathe it in. I was reminded of seasons that we’ve all left behind, cycles that come and go and the need to slow down and observe. To stay out of the chaos.

Authentic connections are what I most crave. If it’s anything less then I’m OK to get lost in my vege garden, talk to my dog, read about mythology and theories on our existence. I just want what’s real. Why don’t you go out and socialize…maybe another day. I want to learn a little more about myself.

Mentawai adventure

The land of dreaming

I’m a big believer in dreams carrying significant messages or images of the predication of the future places, people or situations you might encounter. I also believe strongly in Déjà vu and its powerful meaning and confirmation that you are on the right path in life. Surely Déjà vu is intertwined with some parts of our dreams, either that, or we are re-visiting the same scenario that we faced in a previous life.

Now with dreams I’m not talking the weird ones where you sleep with your best friend and wake up feeling nauseous or find yourself ridingNew Zealand exploration giraffes in the outback. To me, those type of dreams are just plain weird and I can never find any foreseeable explanation of what just occurred in my mind imagery.  The type I want to talk about are certain places I seem
to visit consecutively for nights, if not weeks on end. I also feel this strongly when I meditate, however the places I go to in meditation, I seem to always recognise as places from my past. Laying in a lush green paddock, gently floating down a river on my back or climbing through a knee-deep snow capped mountain- these all seem to be scenarios from my childhood growing up in NZ. The dreams that repeat for me, are all places I have not been to before and come to me as visions of the future. Let me describe how this happens.

The actual vision

So as I’m drifting off to sleep, faint images of a certain scene start to seep through my mind. Tonight it is somewhere in a rainforest, I follow a path where the forest floor feels damp under my bare feet, I have a destination in mind, although the vision is not strong enough, I know from the previous night’s sleep it is upon a raised land and I feel strongly that I am heading to that familiar spot. Nothing significant happens in this dream, I am just given more pieces of a puzzle, almost in slow motion, meaning the visuals come to me at no fast pace, almost like my eyes are only half open. From what I know, this dream only lasts a short period of time before I continue a random set of insignificant other dreams for the night.

Now what captures my waking mind’s attention the most, is that I willThailand exploration return to this same place each night for up to two weeks until the scene manifests in my reality. In this case I was living in Northern Thailand at the time of these dreams and ended up on a completely random weekend trip away to a lush forest area full of mysterious ancient temples and caves. When I arrived at the forest I had a sense of familiarity wash over me and the memory of those repeated dreams came flooding back to me. After that weekend I no longer continue these same dreams.

This is where I believe we are much more connected to nature than what we remember our existence to be, pre-technology overload and fast-paced lifestyle. Each of my visions always involves the outdoors, much of which is my deep love of the ocean. I have found myself in some of the most stunning places in the world and vividly recalling the very scene before my eyes-from previous repeated dreams.

One step further

When I found myself living on a remote Indonesian island in the Mentawais my dreams became very powerful. At one point I wasn’t quite sure what was reality and what was dream and when I talk to other surfers that have spent long periods in these islands they can tell me the same situation. It’s a beauty that cannot be truly described. I previously wrote about this reality flip here.

Another strange set of reoccurring dreams was at the time I was dating the owner of a surf camp in these islands. What didn’t make sense to me from the beginning of meeting him, was the fact he never featured in any of my dreams. Generally each person who is in my life frequently, shows up in my dreams. However, I had a certain dream for two or three weeks straight, where I had this deep feeling within my being that I had met and connected strongly with “a” man. In my dreams I am not only picking up on the dream visually, but also energetically. I could actually feel all these feelings of being in love and being completely and utterly content, however the man I was with in my dreams had “no face” and I couldn’t recognise who it was, therefore I could not link it to the actual man I was dating.

What happened in those dreams is that I had the memory of meeting aMentawai adventure man I was deeply connected with, but at the same time I couldn’t find him and he would vanish from my side like a puff of smoke each and every dream. The dream would then take me to an unknown city, a really busy environment with lots of people moving in many different directions around me and I felt so incredibly alone to be in a city that I hated. I was overwhelmed to be in such a busy place when I knew my current home was set amidst a dense jungle, where waterfalls tethered off into tropical lagoons.

At the time these dreams occurred I was very much in love with this man and was seeing a long future out in the islands. It wasn’t until one night when he abruptly decided that the relationship was to end and insecurely dictated my very feelings for him. He told me I was not connected with him and that I didn’t love him, when that was the furtherest from my truth which (not coincidently) fell on deaf ears. Being an intimidating man who notoriously had the last say in any situation, the relationship was deemed over.

After a wild escape from that island and two days travel, there I was, sitting at a huge city in Malaysia, feeling more alone than ever and so confused how things could end so quickly and how he could vanish from my life (like a puff of smoke?). I believe those dreams were trying to indicate to me future events and with greater practice I am sure I could use these dreams more powerfully to predict future occurrences.

If you have trouble recalling any dreams that you had at night, the key issurf girl dreaming to first practice with meditation and mindfulness. I had a friend who claimed he just didn’t have dreams at all and really couldn’t understand some of the dreams I described to him that I had. He only just began practicing yoga and was brand new to the world of meditation. It wasn’t until he attended a 10 day Vipassana retreat that he was able to still his mind enough to begin recalling his night dreams. Upon his return from the retreat he ecstatically described his new discovery of a peaceful mind and dream occurrences. Vipassana can be perfectly described as below:

“Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. This simple code of moral conduct serves to calm the mind, which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task of self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterised by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace”.- dhamma.org