I might not ever be good at surfing.

More days than not, I get my ass handed to me by the water. My arms get tired. Sometimes, I get dizzy. In addition to managing an already crowded lineup, I must navigate the personalities of each person in the water. Add unpredictable wind, current, and changing breaks on the waves, and I find myself in a whirlwind of stimulation that requires every part of my being to be fully awake, aware, and present. My survival depends on it. What’s more, if I ever want to return to this surf spot, my reputation among the locals depends on how I handle myself during these moments of understandable stress.

Surfing also provides me with days of great peace. There are days where the waves break right where you need them to. Days where you feel strong and capable; like you’ve learned a thing or two from all the other days of struggling. Days where my friends see me catch a wave I never could have caught maybe even the week before. These are the days for which we live.

And yet, these “good” days would not be possible without the effort of all the challenging days. And so is life. So are our relationships.

We expect our relationships, personal, professional, and romantic, to be good and perfect without any effort on our parts. We wish to surf the changing emotional tides of a partner as if we’d been doing it for a lifetime. But, like water, people are unpredictable. Getting to know someone is not unlike getting to know a new surf spot. We want to “surf” our partners with ease, but like the ocean, becoming a skilled surfer, or lover, takes time.

Learning to love another human fully, to have peace and harmony when you’re used to staying safe on the land is no small feat. You must risk yourself over and over again. You must be brave enough to step into the unknown, changing tides. You must be flexible enough to adapt to changes and humble enough to know when to call it a day. You must ask yourself what is your motivation for surfing today, or trying to, in the same way you must ask yourself why you are trying to love this person. Is it because you know you will learn something? It will make you a better surfer for another day? A better lover? Or, is it because deep down you know there is something deeper at play?

Stepping into the ocean and stepping into your relationship become two sides of the same coin. Both are connected to a larger universal force that wishes to sculpt you, evolve you into a new version of yourself. This is your elevation. Keep showing up. Keep offering yourself over and over again to be humbled and pummeled by the unexpected twists and turns. Open yourself to the risk of absolute peril because only in that space of openness can you also experience joy, delight, and pure bliss when you finally catch the ride of your life. All possibilities exist in the same space. Trust that if you continue to show up and listen, you will grow. You will stay not just alive but animated- you are doing the work you came here to do.


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