After spending the better part of the last 5 years navigating the thick wilderness of early parenting, I was finally feeling ready to explore some new frontiers. I’m not sure if it was the cumulative effect of my 3rd Alaskan winter or the deep clarity I experienced about the preciousness of our time on the planet after losing my Mother-In-Love to ovarian cancer that past fall; but, as I jumped in the ocean for a polar bear plunge that January, I knew a big change was brewing.
As I dreamed big about what 2016 would hold, I kept coming back to this desire to reconnect with True North Adventures. I was missing the sweet sisterhood we experienced while playing outside and, even more, longing for the time and space to actually use those experiences in a meaningful way. Although I had enjoyed some awesome adventures with friends over the past 5 years, they inevitably followed a similar pattern: lots of worry about the logistics of leaving my family…finally get outside… AHHHH… deep breath… Oh, hello again!… This is amazing…wow, what an interesting insight… BAM!, home to the full, often noisy and chaotic, zero-personal-space lifestyle of parenting 2 young kids. I comforted myself many times with the encouragement that this was “only a season of life” and it wouldn’t last forever, but, after 5 years, I was wondering if this was just the new normal. How could I find my way back to guiding others on transformational adventures when I could barely carve out space for me to experience my own?
An old college friend opened a beautiful surf/yoga retreat in Costa Rica, and I would occasionally see emails about all the magic happening down there. Although WAY out of my comfort zone, I consistently felt a whisper from deep inside nudging me to go. As I danced in icy ecstasy, emboldened by the energy of the New Year, I started opening to the possibility of saying YES to my own True North Adventure… a 7 day surf and yoga retreat, long overdue playtime with some special mama friends AND all the nourishing, well-refilling experiences I was craving. It sounded ridiculously magical. The initial response I got from myself and my girlfriends was a resounding YES!, yet we all felt weighed down by the obstacles and responsibilities that stood between us and making this dream a reality. Actually saying out loud to our partners that we wanted to do this, figuring out a week’s worth of childcare in such a short amount of time, justifying spending this kind of money on ourselves… YUCK… the list of light-dimming “why nots” went on and on. But despite all of those easily rationalized excuses, the YES in my soul just wouldn’t go away. Working through each of these challenges over the coming weeks, we watched in amazement as layers and layers of old stories sloughed off every step of the way. We booked our tickets, kissed our families goodbye and headed out into a VERY wild unknown that felt thrilling and mildly terrifying in the same moment. Our week was filled with adventures big and small… on top of navigating in another language and adjusting to an almost 60 degree temperature difference, we were also learning to surf and stretching deeply on both our yoga mats and in the transformational workshops we were weaving in between. A potent combination of challenge and restoration, it was just the kind of soul recalibration I had been seeking. We left feeling thoroughly nourished on all levels… salty, sun drenched smiles from ear to ear.
As I continue to integrate the lessons of love, Self-care and DAREful living into my daily life, I find myself paddling between two very different approaches to experiencing the waves that inevitably arise. 1) I can choose to resist, allowing fear, the illusion of control and the surface level turbulence I see to restrict my breathing, create tension and stress in my body and ultimately cause me to miss the ride associated with those waves. OR 2) I can dive deeper, allow my mind and body to find the ease in the rhythm of that current situation, and enjoy the playfulness and freedom I experience from actually riding those waves instead.
Life is happening. These lessons feel more relevant with each passing day, and, although easy to slip into feeling paralyzed or wanting to avoid the rising tide of uncertainty that seems to be the constant on the current world stage, I’m doing my best to experiment with riding that wave instead. Having a reference point for this kind of playful approach keeps calling me back to my center while challenging me to find the ease in whatever set is rolling through. It is deliciously simple, yet I sense this will be a lifelong love affair with the sea and her infinite wisdom.
Here is a short sneak peak into our amazing adventure at the Bodhi Surf Lodge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTN30j-kMik If reading or watching this makes you curious to learn more about joining us on our next adventure this May, lets set up a time to connect and explore that possibility together.