Before I even met O Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief, Susan Casey, I had a hunch she was on the Team. (If I haven’t explained this to you already, the “Team” is my word for the people whose unspoken mission is to help heal the world. You would not be reading this if you aren’t on it.) What other explanation could there be for a women’s magazine editor writing a book on sharks? (The Devil’s Teeth – fascinating read. Pick it up!) When I met Susan, ostensibly to discuss my column, all I remember talking about was the personalities of individual sharks and how in the world we may be able to save the oceans.
This winter, Susan wrote another book called The Wave. It describes the physics of abnormally large “rogue waves,” suggests theories about how they occur, and tells stories of extreme surfers who travel the globe searching for monster waves where they can play.
As I read Susan’s book, I continually felt a tickle of electricity along my spine because I have been sensing a kind of wave rising around all of us for some time now. It is a wave of transformation, a wave of innovation, a wave of compassion.
A few days ago, for reasons I cannot remember, I ended up watching video footage of the recent tsunami hitting Sendai, Japan. I don’t generally sit around watching YouTube videos, but I was abnormally fascinated by this one. I watched it, maybe five times, all the way through. If you watch this video, please watch it all the way to the end. The sheer mind numbing scale of the power of that wave must be seen to be believed. If you’d like, I invite you to take a minute to click here, watch it now, then meet me back here ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ Welcome back! Wow, huh? There aren’t words to describe this event.
I’m not sure what happened to my computer, but after I had watched the video repeatedly, it somehow switched to a different website. What I saw here was one of the surfers Susan Casey describes in The Wave. It’s professional surfer, Mike Parsons, catching a swell that has just the right physics to be a monster. Please click here and watch this all the way through as well. ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ Wow, huh? I am terrified by any wave over two feet tall, yet this man will remember his experience on the monster wave with joy and awe for the rest of his life.
After alternating between these two videos for most of a day, it suddenly occurred to me why I found them so compelling. The wave of energy that we’ve all felt – many of us for years – is coming ashore. It is building height and power, and if you expect to hide out in any concrete structure, you are making a big mistake. All the rules are changing. The old institutions and patterns of life that our social selves have been trained to believe in are being uprooted and will soon float away. This is only a crisis if we cling to them.
The way to be safe – more than safe, joyful and delighted – is to climb on board the smallest, lightest, most nimble platform you can find. For some of us, that’s an entrepreneurial business. For others it’s knowing a trade – like horse whispering or life coaching – that will make sense of the wild new world for the people we hope to serve.
I don’t know what your surf board looks like, but I know you own one. It’s built into your soul, and that is the only place you’ll ever find it. I invite you to watch these videos again, to feel for the sense of power rising beneath you, to let go of grasping or clinging, and to paddle out for the joyful ride of your life. Surfs up, people, it’s time!
After publication of this article, a reader commented that this post makes light of a disaster that destroyed life and property at a catastrophic level. Just to be clear, I want to say that my coaching focus has included things like genocide survivors, homeless addicts, people who are dying, and others in calamitous situations. I didn’t mean to make light of the tsunami; I meant to make heavy the changes we are seeing all around us. Last week I met a man who has been through three wars, and has seen people die violently. “Still,” he said, “there was a serenity that I could access.” He called this “surfing the mystery.” I had barely met him and certainly not told him my “surfer” analogy. It was one of those synchronistic statements that makes me believe even those who face truly monstrous situations can find lightness, balance, and peace.