Riding the Wave ~ Surf’s Up!

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!

~ Martha

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.

13 replies
  1. Marian
    Marian says:

    Oh, Martha! Martha Beck, I love you so. THANK YOU for this post! Let me tell you about my dream. I must say, I love your dream interpretation method (changed my life, just like everything in Steering By Starlight did!), but I didn’t even use it for this one. It just seemed like a whole story, all on its own, and now I know why!

    My dream (from late April):

    I saw a tsunami wave coming to my house. I was terrified, of course, but I took a deep breath, dove out the window, and let it carry me off. As I floated away, I could hear my mother (FYI spider love Mom) saying, “Marian, a wave is coming! Find something to hold onto!” But I was gone. I focused on breathing so I wouldn’t drown. I floated over the treetops, and landed safely on a high hill.

    Today’s a rough day. Thanks for the reminder it’s all part of the wave!

  2. Beth Notarius
    Beth Notarius says:

    Powerful message and just the validation I needed to continue with courage in establishing a peace movement to shift mindsets from a position of fear to love and hope. Thank you for the inspiration and resolution this post has provided!
    Love and Light, Beth

  3. Jan McClain
    Jan McClain says:

    The images of Mike Parson's balance on that board have stayed with me for several days. I sense what that might be like in my body–it's such a strong, yet flexible feeling in my legs. What a great approach for negotiating the waves of life.

  4. carol
    carol says:

    I had a lot of synchronicities when I first read this blog. I’d just seen Susan Carey on the Oprah W show, speaking about her (Susan’s) visit to John of God, in Brasil. That, for me, is of interest, as I’ve met, in South Africa, one of the original American women who, after connecting, started taking people in the States to see John of God at the Casa, (?) in Brazil.
    No relevence to the blog so far!!!! Immediately after the Oprah show, I read my emails, this blog being the first one. The first words I saw, were the name SUSAN CAREY. That evening, I decided to complete a vision board. I’d ‘collected’ the pics, using Martha’s guidelines, the evening prior. On the back of one of the larger pics I’d ripped out! was a large closeup pic of a shark. So, that became part of my vision board, the shark! Not the other side of the pic, although I think that both sides of the pic show ”both sides of me!” 🙂 Perhaps this message has special relevance to me – I’m riding a wave, struggling to learn how exactly to let go, struggling to understand how not to struggle… Thank you!!

  5. Karen
    Karen says:

    Thanks Martha! I have a thought that may be along the same wave…length. 🙂 I’m preparing for my first 5K this weekend and over the last few months I think about how my view of hills have changed. Initially, I saw them as obstacles and something that I just didn’t want to do. Now, I see hills as part of the natural landscape of the earth. Running up a hill doesn’t have to be a problem for me and I don’t really think about them as much as I used to. I follow your articles in Oprah’s magazine but will be a regular visitor to your blog.

  6. Ed Fox
    Ed Fox says:

    Martha, I think I would be there with you, all day long, spellbound by the two contradictory expressions of nature’s force. Thank you.

  7. Michelle Wolfe
    Michelle Wolfe says:

    There is also darkness and pain on a terrible level that will also be a part of the Changing times. . .
    The Light Will Come. New. Different. It will come again.
    We Can surf the waves. We can reach out, we can band together, we can rethink all we know and begin anew – but we must lighten our packs.

    To the people of Japan,
    Deepest Thanks for showing the world how to to rise above the pain and debris – with stunning grace. I watched you and felt small and ashamed of what I might have done in your place. Many Thanks for this very precious gift shared with us all – at such a great price.

  8. Beth Tully
    Beth Tully says:

    I frequently have water dreams — water in a wide range of manifestations. The pertinent one is this: waves, bigger and bigger, until I finally can no longer float over them; then I must dive headfirst into the body of the wave to avoid disaster, and inside is another world: cool, green, quiet, miraculous. The thrash and foam are all on top, part of resisting and trying to maintain separation, and once I enter into it everything changes.
    This is my first visit to your site & blog, thank you for the video links.

  9. Bethany Bilbrey
    Bethany Bilbrey says:

    So many people are talking about the new consciousness and change coming to the world this year. It’s nice to hear it talked about in such a positive energetic light.

    The wave is such a great metaphor. Thanks for the inspiration and confirmation that choosing careers to help others is a great way to stay safe and inspired.

  10. Sue
    Sue says:

    Martha, you are amazing, and the primary reason I read O Magazine every month. Yes, we are riding a huge wave, and our DNA is actually changing as part of it. This wave of energy/compassion/healing is what 2012 is truly about. Thank you for all of your wonderful insights, for this blog, and your books and articles. Please keep up the great work, we are riding along side you!

  11. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    “Steering By Starlight” is a magical book. “Brava!” to you, Martha Beck ~ this book will be a classic that will continue to enlighten generations to come. Not only is your writing in this book deeply wise and brimming with truth and ‘ah-ha’ moments – you are funny! I giggled out loud many times. (I laughed, I cried, it’s better than “Cats!”) I’m almost finished with it, and just had to search for you. Glad I found your website, and I’m enjoying reading your blog.
    Your article regarding the power and energy of the waves and water struck a chord with me. I live near the ocean and continue to be in awe of nature’s power. So many times I’ve thought that this is one example of the power of nature, the universe and what might be contained within us. We’d discover it there if we’re brave enough. My dreams often are of water, they always carry a powerful message for me.
    I must tell you; I did not find your mention of the tsunami in Japan to be cavalier, flippant or trite. In fact, you were respectful and sensitive to the plight of the Japanese people in your article. Keep in mind that there are people looking to experience the ride of ‘righteous indignation’ on the wave of the thoughts and expressions of others. It justifies their inner turmoil to point a finger at what others do ‘wrong.’ They’ll have to learn to address what’s inside of them first, or they’re destined to be terminally tedious.
    Thank you for your wonderful book, Martha. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. Best wishes, Virginia

Comments are closed.