Learning to Ride / by Cherryl Duncan

Dear Friends,

I remember when I was learning to surf.
Most of the time was spent just trying to get out past the break to the place where I could wait, wait for the wave that was going to be one I would stand up on. The one I would ride all the way until there was no power left to hold me up.
I had gotten up enough times to want that feeling again and again.
 
It’s the thought of that feeling that kept me paddling out, sometimes for half an hour, sometimes an hour, sometimes to the point where I just wanted to give up.
 
The thought of riding the wave would start to feel like a dream, like it never really happened. The pain of paddling, the pain of missing the wave, the pain of the struggle would overshadow the memory of riding the wave. And then it would become just about paddling. Paddling when I couldn’t see where the break ended, paddling when sometimes I even doubted the direction, paddling when I was afraid of drowning. Paddling one stroke and then one after that, despite the waves pushing me back the few meters of progress I’d made.
 
The dream of the ride would fade, and I knew somewhere in the back of my mind why I was doing this, but it didn’t even matter. The paddling became the end game. There came a surrender in the struggle, and if you’ve ever made friends with the ocean, you will know, there is one way the relationship with the Ocean works; and that is to surrender completely. To fight is futile.
 
But, with surrender also comes great freedom.
It’s a different, more solid and enduring freedom. The kind of freedom that carves initials on your soul,  the kind of freedom that no one can take away from you. No matter what.
Everyone feels good riding the wave, and riding the wave is relatively easy, but what you learn on your way there is the treasure.
 
Friends, I hope you all are riders of the waves, I hope you never have to endure life as struggle, but if you do, if you find yourself faced with the feeling where all you can manage is just one more stroke, regardless of direction, regardless of knowledge of success, regardless of the fear of annihilation, then know this, great treasures await you, that is my promise to you.
 
This year has been my surfing year and while I am still paddling one stroke at a time, I am here, in the Ocean with you and sharing the treasures I find along with the way. Thank you for sharing yours in the way you show up for this journey with me. I look forward to the immanent wave we're going to ride together. And when we fall, we will have learnt to paddle! 
 
All my love and gratitude
Cherryl