The other day I thought it would be fun to go for a paddle around Waikiki, so I went down to the beach and rented an SUP for a little while.  My original thought would be that it would be nice to work out the paddling muscles, as well as do some core strengthening, all while getting a bit of sun and enjoying the water.  By the time I got down to the water, the clouds were rolling in, and the wind was intense.  I stuck to my plan, though, but I started regretting it almost immediately.  It was so windy and choppy that it just wasn’t relaxing, and I couldn’t get much speed up.  And then it started raining.  Part of me wanted to turn back to shore and just call it a day, but I decided to stick it out, and I’m really glad I did.  I ended up having a great time, and I really learned a few lessons about life that day, so I thought I’d share them with you.  Sorry if you thought this was actually about how to stand-up paddle.

Lesson #1:  Be open.  I am guilty of being a fair weather surfer/beach bum.  I hate wind, and I hate clouds.  I was about to let the weather ruin my experience, but I opted to stay out on the water and see what happened.  I ended up catching some fun waves and having a great time.  I am a novice paddler, so it was such a learning experience and really exciting to do something different.

Lesson #2:  Laugh at yourself, and let others laugh at you.  One of the things I really enjoy is being in the water with other people who aren’t taking themselves too seriously.  I got to chat with some tourists from Seattle who were on SUPs for the first time, and they were so good-natured about it.  They really didn’t have any clue what they were doing (one of them asked me if it possible to catch waves on a SUP), but they had fun and laughed at themselves the whole time.  It totally changed the energy and made the vibe really friendly and relaxed, so everyone just enjoyed being there together.

And Lesson #3:  The sun always comes back out.   I was having so much fun that I totally forgot about the weather, and before I knew it, the sun was shining again.  Bonus!  (This lesson can be literal, but obviously its meant to be metaphorical.  All suffering is impermanent.)

I was really humbled by these realizations and grateful for the opportunity to have this day; it makes me wonder how many other opportunities I might have missed due to my own habits or mindset, and it encourages me to stay in the moment and to practice awareness of how I respond to the outside world.  Its easy to resent, blame, and complain, but it doesn’t make anything better.  Instead, we can embrace the current situation, and we might just have a lot of fun doing it.

Happy paddling and namaste!

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