Friday, November 20, 2009

More from the Drifter

"High expectations tend to make poor travel partners".
This line from the Drifter really got me thinking.
Tomorrow I'm heading to my house in Puerto
Rico for a bit. I can't wait to get back to wearing
board shorts, flip flops, and a t shirt and feeling the warmth
of the tropical sun. As for the surf, I never expect too much
and am always happy for what I get. As long as I can get a few
waves I can be very content.

Over the years I've discovered that keeping expectations for
waves on any surf trip low helps make for a better experience.
I've regularly run across traveling surfers who were bummed
because the waves weren't perfect or as big as they'd hoped.
For them the trip was all about surfing not the total experience
of seeing a different country, a different culture, meeting people
and getting a chance to think about yourself and your life from a
different vantage point, a different perspective.

Expectations play a big role in our lives. Sometimes when the
gap between our expectations and our perception of the reality
is great we feel stressed, upset, out of sorts. Some day I'm going to
make a chart to visually illustrate that point. I see that distress
in my clients regularly. They have certain expectations of how
things "should be" and often what they get doesn't match their
expectations. Bet you can cite a few example in your own life.
Keeping expectations in line with reality doesn't make you a
negative person or take away your ability to hope and dream.
Sometimes if you've been able to keep your expectations in line
you just might get pleasantly surprised when things turn out
better than you'd hoped for.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Drifter

Last night I had the opportunity to see Rob Machado
and Taylor Steele's new movie "The Drifter". I'm not
giving anything away by telling you that it is a documentary,
of sorts, chronicling Rob's 6 month journey in Indonesia. It
was a journey intended, in part, to help Rob find himself. The
Drifter is one of the better "surf films" I've seen in a while. It is
visually beautiful, got me thinking on many levels, and of course
provided an opportunity to marvel at Rob's surfing skills and

Many of us, I'm sure, have felt an urge to get away,
to embark on a journey and find ourselves, to figure out
what is important. Seems to me this is especially true during
those times of distress and emotional challenge, or when
we are overwhelmed and facing major life decisions or choices.
Ironically, one of the clients I saw not too long before going
to see the Drifter voiced their own feeling the need to get away.
"I'd like to just go off alone, with no phone, no responsibilities,
no expectations and get in touch with who I really am. I feel like
I've been lost, been playing a role, not really being me." they said.

It is often ironic how the lessons we learn from our own
drifting, our own journey of self discovery end up being so
simple, so basic. During the Q & A after the movie someone
asked Rob about some of the things he'd discovered. After
a brief pause he answered the question by talking about the
miracle of running water. You see he'd stayed in a village where
there was no well, no running water. Villagers had to walk 2-3 km.
just to fill their buckets. After his journey he'll not take that simple
thing, running water in the house, for granted ever again.

From time to time we all become drifters in an effort to
discover who we are and what is really important to us.
In this time of economic uncertainty, job loss, recession, and
change maybe we need some distance to help us gain a different
perspective, to look at the things we do have, like water, to help
us find contentment, to find some joy and happiness, to find our selves.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sharing the stoke

I don't think I'm the only surfer who enjoys hearing
from friends who are on surf trips. Odd how, despite
knowing exactly what the conditions are thanks to surf
reports, web cams, I still like getting a first hand report.
Hearing or reading a friends account of their days sessions
is kind of like taking a vicarious surf trip.

One of the 40 something surf girls is at my house in Puerto
Rico getting her first taste of the surfing reef breaks.
The surf, thus far, has been perfect for her - stomach high,
light crowds, good vibe. Sounds like she's having a blast!

Being able to view things through the eyes of others can be, not
only, a fun experience but also a great way to become more
compassionate and caring. Empathy, i.e. experiencing the world
"as if" you were another, through their eyes, is a key trait in
establishing and maintaining good relationships. The noted
psychologist Carl Rogers wrote extensively about empathy.
Being empathetic helps us avoid being critical and judgmental
and encourages compassion. Perhaps you can check the web site and enjoy the recently posted lectures on
compassion. Compassion helps bring about peacefulness and
touches our best human qualities.

I'm looking forward to todays call from the 40 something surf
girl in PR. I know where she'll be surfing, I know the conditions,
what I am excited for is to experience it through her eyes. I love
sharing the stoke.