I’m back from my Euro trip of sorts. I hadn’t thought of it as such, but a friend called it that, and I guess it kind of was. My main purpose for going to Europe was for a yoga retreat, which brought me to the Canary Islands and Morocco, but I decided to spend some time in Paris as well to visit a good childhood friend.
The yoga retreat, led by my favorite instructor from when I lived in New York, was a very nourishing and healing trip. Though the ten of us in the group gathered under the pretense that we would do yoga together, the retreat ended up being about so much more than that. I feel I have come away with a handful of new, loving, lifelong friends, whom I have bore parts of my soul to, chased waves with, learned from, rode camels with, and most importantly, felt completely comfortable to be myself around. Though we are now back in our respective corners of the world, we are connected everyday (thanks to modern technology) through our memories, endless laughter, and lighthearted but soulful view on this thing called life.
I wanted to share a story of one of the lessons I learned on the retreat. We were at a beautiful beach in El Cotillo on Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, where these reasonably large, majestic waves were continuously coming to crash against the shore. I was with J, and trying to convince her to go into the water and brave the waves with me. A few minutes prior I had overcome the fear myself and figured out that once you get to a certain point out in the ocean, you’re safe from being thrown about by the waves and can calmly float above them.
My little head bobbing above the ocean at the surfer’s beach in El Cotillo
While we were standing there facing the ocean, dancing with the waves, she said to me, “I get it! You need to move towards the wave, not away from it! That’s the only way you won’t get thrashed about.” Meaning, when you see a wave coming, you need to have the courage to move towards it until you are past the point where it breaks, because that’s the most dangerous and tumultuous part.
We applied it to our own lives. When you face a challenge that seems insurmountable, hiding from it isn’t necessarily better than facing it. It may seem easier in the moment, but hiding from it may cause it to return later on as an even greater challenge. So remember – the next time you encounter something difficult, face it bravely, face it full on, move towards it. At some point, you will realize it wasn’t so scary after all, and you’ll be able to enjoy riding the wave.