After a pretty sleepy December we’ve finally started to see some solid surf strolling through this little corner of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Tres Palmas woke up, and from the 413 just above the cow fields people stopped their cars and whipped out their iPhones to take witness of the beautiful, blue mountains of water rolling across the sea (and I only say this because I did it, too). It was simply majestic and something that this surf town hasn’t seen in a little while.
Over the past year I’ve noticed an urge to get out into some bigger waves. As my surfing is improving and my confidence getting stronger I’ve felt a desire to start pushing my limits, mindfully that is… but surfing bigger, heavier waves is something I thought I’d never want to do. And now it’s actually starting to feel more like a reality. It’s kind of a personal thing, I guess. Because surfing has been and always will be for fun. But I’m ready for it, I think, and sometimes it feels good to really see some growth and transformation, ya know?
Anyways, I got out there a couple of times. I managed to catch a few smaller waves, and I took a few on the head as well. I experienced fear, elation, frustration, and anxiety. I was humbled. And I didn’t even paddle out on the “big day,” because I was flat out scared shitless. And you know what I did? I beat myself up for it. Thoughts like, “You should have been out there. You’re such a wimp. You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough,” started pouring through my mind. I was super harsh towards myself. And I caught myself getting sucked into the vortex of negative energy and limiting beliefs.
I wasn’t practicing the one thing that I always preach – and that was compassion.
Just as I’ve learned compassion towards myself on my yoga mat, I must apply that same compassion towards myself in every other area of my life – surfing, work, teaching, relationships, – and just as I couldn’t expect myself to nail Crow Pose during my first-ever yoga class, I can’t expect myself to be an expert in bigger, heavier surf within just a few sessions.
Compassion reminds us that we must place our trust in the process and allow our journey to unfold exactly as it should. Not how we think it should. Because really, in yoga or surfing or life, what is the final destination? Well in life I guess it’s death, but there is really no prize for being the first one there. So as long as you’re kicking there is always an opportunity to expand – to go bigger or deeper or further. There is always room for growth.
But there’s no finish line. So why rush?
This awareness of a need to prove myself, or prove my self-worth, through big wave surfing, seems to shine a light on where I am trying to prove myself in other areas of my life. I want to be the best surfer that I can be. I want to be the best yogi I can be. I want to be the best yoga teacher. I want to be successful and well-liked and always going 110%, full-throttle every single day. But that’s not always the case, because life is life. It has its ups and downs, flat spells and mackin’ swells that come through and rattle you, shake you up a little bit… So whether it’s my surfing, my teaching, my personal yoga practice, or my relationships with others I’ve committed to returning to the practice of trusting MY process: slowing down, doing the work that I need to do, letting go of the rest, and just enjoying the journey that I’m on.
When we trust the process, our process, we know that we are on our right path. Enjoy the place you are at, because it’s exactly where you need to be. Trust that growth and transformation is happening, especially during the times that you don’t see it. Because it’s there. It’s happening. And when we let go of our story as to how the end result show be, that’s when we usually end up surprising ourselves. Trust YOUR Process!
Caitlin Lawson: Professional Surf Bum. Yogi. Teacher. Student. Ambassador of Love. Usually a little sunburnt, always salty, and currently living in Rincon, Puerto Rico. I love this island. The ocean keeps me grounded and I can never turn down a good adventure.