Who can relate to learning how to ride a bike as a kid, and the inevitable crash that followed? Maybe it wasn’t the first day, but at some point, you became comfortable, and stopped paying attention to what you were doing, or you attempted a new trick, only to come crashing down.
Maybe you never had this experience with a bike. For you, maybe it was on a skateboard, or rollerblades, or surf boarding in the ocean.
I’ve experienced many crashes in my life, but I’ve never surfed (nor is it on my list of top 10 things to do). However, when I watch surfers, I can’t help but notice what grace and skill they demonstrate. Effortlessly, they appear to mount their boards. They negotiate waves of all sizes with more ease than I can manage to prepare a simple dinner. And have you ever watched them wipe out? There’s no flailing about. No out of control appearance of their extremities. Just one fluid movement as they hit the water. How is it they look so graceful while crashing so hard?
These are the sorts of things I wonder about.
Here’s what I decided: there must be an art to crashing.
I imagine instinctively, their arms poised, ready to protect their heads. (There will be no flailing all over the place.) I also guess that along with not getting knocked out, a main area of focus is how to quickly get to the surface for oxygen.
After that, what is there? (If you’re a surfer, I apologize — I’m positive I’m WAY oversimplifying this.)
First, let’s assume the surfer wasn’t injured. We’ll agree that with the fall, what the surfer was attempting to do didn’t turn out the way he/she had planned; they may even call it a failure. So, what have they gained?
Knowledge on how to:
- stay up longer
- maintain focus
- better maneuver the waves
- fall with grace, not for the sake of grace itself, but for the sake of survival
And all of this encompasses The Art of Crashing.
Without the crash, where does the knowledge come from? Reading a “Surfing For Dummies” book? Watching YouTube videos of surf boarding? While not bad ideas, the art of crashing provides the firsthand knowledge that leads to the goal of how to stay up longer, how to maintain focus, how to better maneuver the waves….
How many times in life do we fall? Fail? How many times do we crash? And after that fall, failure, crash, how often do we decide it’s just not worth it? I won’t love again because I don’t want to get my heart broken. (Crash.) I won’t attempt to let anyone see the real me because I don’t want to be betrayed again. (Crash.) I cannot trust because…. (Crash.)
The broken heart, the betrayal, the inability to trust, those are the crash. Be the surfer who crashes with grace. Not for the sake of grace itself, but for the sake of survival. Your survival. And after your survival is realized, and you know you’ve reached the top of the water, and that yes, indeed, you’re inhaling the air which is now filling your lungs, continue to push forward. Ask yourself what knowledge was gleaned by living through this experience? What lessons were learned?
There is a definite art to the crash. It thrusts us forward and helps us heal as we take what we’ve learned to mend the broken heart. To allow others to see the real us. To Trust.
I encourage you to look for the surfer within. Examine your crashes and be open to the lessons they reveal.
For all those seeking HOW to Trust, and specifically to GL, who shared much of her heart in an email that prompted this writing, think of Trusting Life as a spiritual law. We must step back and allow it to work — that’s part of the art of it. When we worry, over-think a situation, hold grudges, and so on, we interrupt the flow. It’s through listening, becoming aware, letting go, and accepting What Is that we’re able to Trust Life.
Trust begins inside of you and radiates outward.
Feel, Know, BELIEVE that you are taken care of. You are never alone. There is a bigger force, a bigger plan that you are unaware of. Trust.