View from my beachside cabana this week at Magnificent Rock, Nicaragua. Sun, surf, yoga, salsa, repeat. It’s been a week to challenge myself in new adventures – learning to surf over a reef has been one of the most challenging sports I’ve experienced. Successfully pushing past the fear to the exhilaration of riding my first wave to the shore, the magic of watching the sunset over the sea as the full moon rose, & the adrenalin of successfully catching a larger wave were rewards well worth the effort.
Although my adventures provided me with exactly what I needed at this point in my life, I certainly didn’t expect this reaction. I learned again how the unexpected can provide us with clarity in life lessons we’d never willingly face.
I’d been looking forward to immersing myself in the bathwater temperatures of the pacific ocean since my visit to Costa Rica two years ago. Although I travel frequently for work, this was a rare 100% vacation. Immediately after arriving at Costa Dulce yoga/surf retreat, I jumped in the ocean to cool off from the blazing mid 90 degree temps. At first I hardly noticed the stings from the invisible jellyfish. Then, after a lingering sensation on my wrist I looked down to pull off a long broken off tentacle.
Apparently, jellyfish blooms like I experienced are rare, and even rarer was my allergic reaction to the stings the next day. The worst the surf owners had seen in their decade in Nicaragua. Over 33% of my body was covered in welts that continued to swelter in the heat until they burst with pus. I looked like a freak show, and with the extreme heat lost any vanity and desire to cover up.
Fortunately, I could’t have been with a better group or in a more mellow place to work through the challenges http://www.yogapearl.com, http://www.jillknouseyoga.com</a>, http://magnificrockpopoyo.com). One lesson was definitely to slow down and relax. And learn to face my fears. To depend on strangers for help. To be confident in my own skin – or at least accepting of its flaws. And to trust my resilience to recover.
I’ve heard so many speak eloquently about surf in life’s analogies: This connection to nature, being at one with the rhythms of the waves, the knowledge to place yourself at the pinnacle of the wave taking the risk to crash and confidence to try anyway – this is living fully. Exposing yourself and realizing your inner power and humility. The lessons continue to unfold as I’ve returned home, but I can still close my eyes and hear the constant crashing of the waves against the shore – feelings I will cultivate in my everyday life and look forward to expanding upon when I return to the next adventure. In the meantime, I’m more committed than ever to find life balance and health in everyday life – which fortunately my hometown of Portland, Oregon provides so many people & outlets for active play.