Thursday, December 29, 2011

Breaking the board...

It’s a surfer’s worst nightmare, especially if you only have one. It doesn’t matter if you snap it clean in two or get a few dings and cracks in it. Breaking a surfboard, getting a ding in any way, breaking the intricate and wholly perfect design of the thing that keeps you afloat on the waves is a downer. Especially if you only have one board. And you have an amazing swell raging in the water.

If you really like surfing, you connect with your board and depend on it on this reciprocal level. It becomes an extension of you, and riding on anything else seems like going backwards. If you learn on a board, you know it so well, what it can (and can’t) do on the waves, its points of strength and weakness. I know most surfers have a few different boards in their quiver, but when you have only one, breaking it can shoot your confidence.
For me, going out and seeing a 6-8ft swell only seemed like an amazing chance to go out and really put myself to the test. I know I had a waaay too big board and I know the waves were so dumpy and vicious, that not getting hurt would mean a cardboard box top would be the only appropriate thing to ride on. But I went out, got stirred around in the waves, and made it out from the dragging swell – but my board didn’t. The nose kind of got cracked and split. Not good.

This is my third ding, so I am past the point of trying to fix it. It’s a great board, but money wise, not worth repairing...again.

After being sad for a good couple of hours, and sitting on the beach to console myself, I realised something. Buying another board, something smaller that would propel and excel my surfing had been on my mind for quite a while. I just put my dream of getting the perfect surfboard, which was an extension of me, down to a sheer wish list. I thought I’d practise away on this board, and then contemplate a new board after Hawai’i. And I wanted something amazing, a love-at-first-sight thing!

After breaking this board for the third time (unlucky), I realised that all this superstition was telling me something; I wanted to improve, I had put my heart and soul mentally and spiritually into being better, and physically started to tone up and take care of myself in order to surf better, but I was still riding something that my newfound abilities had outgrown. I was still trying to be better on a board that was limiting me, purely because it was limited. A surfboard, unlike a human, does not change, grow and mould into something better. It serves the purpose of the wave, the water, the surfer, the ability and its structure. It cannot go beyond itself.

But we as surfers, can go beyond ourselves. As my mum put it ”It’s an expensive sport”, but one in which each board, surfer and wave are matched perfectly. A different swell, a different board, a different day, surfer and board are married together and set out into the sunrise or (sunset).

So sometimes we have to say goodbye to one thing, and move on to, in my case, smaller and faster. I had my problems with turning on my 7’6” Epoxy, and it was a nightmare to get through on the incoming waves. In a lot of ways, it was hindering my performance when I already had the ability to do better. If breaking the board wasn’t a sign I needed a change, a step forward, I don’t know what was. Sometimes life is trying to tell us we can do better, but we hold on and stay modest, thinking we need to be better ourselves. Sometimes you need a push, or a break in the right direction.

Sure enough, 24 hours later, two beautiful fibreglass boards were lying on my balcony. A 7’6” and a 7’2”. In the name of progression, I will go with the 7’2”. And she is the most beautiful board I have ever seen!

Written by SoulSurfer © 29 December 2012 at 12.21pm

Thursday, December 22, 2011

True identity; the strongest force

The strongest force in the Universe is a Human being living consistently with his identity.

Tony Robbins

I read this off a calendar page, which had pictures of lightning bolts, aptly, because these wise words hit me like a lightning bolt.

If you ever wonder why your favourite singer, band, surfer or inspirational person, is just so good at what they do, it’s usually because they have an absolute conviction and passion for their identity and who they are. Kelly Slater seeks a swell and just takes off after it. The wave inspires in him a strong link with his identity and who he is. Walking past a bookshop, you may see a new novel or book by your favourite author; something that catches your eye and is consistent with your beliefs and identity. The next thing you know, you are enthralled in prose, again reinforcing in thoughts and beliefs what you believe to be part of your identity.

So when I read this quote, I stopped and thought. I flipped the calendar to this page and earmarked it. It’s amazing when a thought, action, vision or word inspires something in you that causes you to react in a way that is consistent with who you are. For me, a thousand thoughts came to my head, and immediately thoughts of surfing, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paulo Coelho and travelling flooded my consciousness. I never thought about it, that being who you really are, that enforcing your true identity could be a source of permeating and radiating strength in the Universe. There is a saying that if everyone did what they really loved, the world would be a happier place.
I know that when I am in the moment of surfing, this amazing feeling comes over me. It’s both a feeling of challenge and release; it’s like the energy of an atom splitting. You need to put energy in to release new energy, and for me surfing does that every time. The incredible centeredness and connectedness with my true identity I feel after surfing is indescribable and well, inspiring. I feel with the energy I get from surfing I create a ripple through the Universe, sending out messages of strength, happiness, confidence and peace.

Yes, peace. Because to be at one with the world, we must first be grounded and peaceful with ourselves and our identity. In yoga, my teacher said that each pose teaches you both strength and softness at the same time. You need to use strength to achieve softness and grace in the pose. In the beginning you look for strength to be able to find conviction and consistency in what you are doing. And that is how you build character and identity; that is how you build up the ‘mental yoga’ of your life.

What an amazing concept...that being yourself and living in consistency with your true identity and soul is the strongest force in the Universe? So the message is clear; live at one with yourself and keep at it!

Copyright SoulSurfer © 22 December 2011 at 3.41pm

Monday, December 12, 2011

On your own wave of inspiration

Sometimes it’s nice to have a mentor. Someone who guides you, who inspires you, someone by whom you can grow and develop your strengths and dreams. The feeling is amazing; here you are on the brink of a new life, new successes, new horizons and opportunities, and you have someone to look back on and turn to for comfort in feelings of doubt or frustration. Just the sheer knowledge of looking back and knowing your mentor is there, is enough to propel you into a space of endless creativity and passion for your craft.

And you can get addicted. A mentor is like a crutch when you have a broken leg; it is there to help you walk, but not make you walk. As your talent grows and blossoms, it’s so easy to attribute everything to the source where it began. It’s so easy to believe that the spark that lit the fire, is the fire to begin with. And then when your mentor attempts to move out of your shadow and set you on your own path, it’s so easy to cling to them and believe that you are following their path. Suddenly the inspiration drops, and can only be ignited by that reassuring presence of your mentor.

And this state of dependency can last a long time. It’s amazing to meet people who really ignite something amazing, wonderful and hidden in you, and propel you to unbelievable heights and experiences. All of a sudden you discover new dimensions within yourself, a new energy, a new way of doing and seeing things. It can be intoxicating, addictive, exciting, fresh.

But success goes after talent, and not before it. Inspiration is the magical ingredient that links the two together. And it can be shocking when you’re source of inspiration and reassurance is no longer there to guide you forward. Now you are your own guide, and fuelled by your own successes, you are the driving force moving yourself forward.

One of the most amazing moments is when you discover that you have developed over time your own talent, success and inspiration. That you started off inspired by a foreign concept, and then become one with it and embodied it. At that moment, you get creative power to steer your own ship, so to speak. Or your own surfboard. Someone may have given you the spark, the inspiration, but it was because they believed in your talent and success before you did.
And now it’s your turn to do the same.

Written by SoulSurfer © 12 December 2011 at 9.55pm

Monday, November 28, 2011

Being present in the moment

I had a sort of epiphany. Maybe each moment is perfect, and we are always in the right place at the right time.

In yoga, we are always reminded to “be present to the moment” which in itself is a task because it requires thinking about the past, how you’ve been ‘present’ before, and the future about how we can create that feeling again. Our minds race like high speed freight trains on tracks, always going one way or another, but never stopping at one station.

I think being present in the moment is really living in what the experience of it is, physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. When we experience bad or negative emotions, we desperately try to dissipate them, and when we experience positive emotions, we desperately cling onto them for dear life, hoping to hold onto the feeling forever.

Forever. There is only present, really. I like the saying that “it is the darkest before the dawn”. You must see through the darkest hour to reach the lightest one. There can be no selectivity. So I think a person has to really deeply experience the emotion, the state, the present they are in, to be able to progress to the next moment. The key to remember is to be present to the moment, but have no attachment to it, as the next moment will come. Maybe this is what Buddhism teaches. That we cannot cling to the good or bad memories too long. I think this is looking with kindness on yourself – that you are not the sum of your good or your bad, but just a free being, being the best in a moment of time.

SoulSurfer © 28 November 2011 at 10.36pm

Monday, November 21, 2011

A commitment to being better...but not 'the best'

It is commitment that makes us appreciate how important our dreams are. We must stay committed to our dreams, even when we believe we know how to do what we love perfectly. When you believe you are good at what you love to do and not ‘the best’, you allow change and improvement to occur. You must stay in the flow of always believing that you are moving towards your goal, but never attaining it. When you attain a goal, or believe you are the best you can be, you can become complacent and bored. Inspiration gets stifled, and ego comes into play.

The only way to keep creativity and inspiration flowing in life is to be committed to being better and improving Self, but never attaining ‘the best’. ‘The best’ does not exist, because there can always be better. This is how life has evolved, because someone has found a better, faster, quicker way of doing things.

Life flows when we don’t think with ego, but with love and inspiration; continually looking for new sources, ideas and insights. Personally, I am committed to believing I am always in the process of being a better surfer. I believe I am a good surfer, but not the best. For there will always be waves that make me better, but none that will make me the best.

Copyright © SoulSurfer 21 November 2011 at 8.44am

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inspiration is love at work

Someone once said, that at the end of life, each person will be judged not by what they did, but how much love they put into what they did. I don’t like the word “judged” as it is so final and harsh, but I do share the sentiment.
During yoga class, a question arose from our teacher “Can we put love into what we are doing every moment?”. Even during a torturous yoga pose, which is meant to be relaxing and releasing, can we manage to send out love? When we do the most mundane things, like catch the bus, buy our morning paper or even write a routine Tuesday morning email – can we put love into the moment?
Love seems to be something that is only reserved for those close to us and those we care about. It is often rationed out and segregated to those people and things we judge as being worthy of it.

But I think love needs to be not only a daily, but constant practice. Every moment needs to be about sending out love. When we engage with the moment we are in and add love to it, we experience a surge of inspiration and ultimately love again. I think inspiration is love at work. When you are working with love; living, breathing, exercising, eating love, you feel inspired in your life’s goals and on purpose.

Think of Kelly Slater who has so much to live up to. He has said he enjoys nothing more than to track a swell and go after it. He has abandoned important career-changing competitions, just to go after his passion for surfing, and find inspiration to continue surfing. Love leads to inspiration, and inspiration always finds love.

I believe it is a love for what he does and the inspiration he gets from it, that keeps my grandfather, at age 84, working in his beloved job. The inspiration he gets from his job fuels the fire of the passion for it. He always devotes a 100% to his work, because he is truly doing what he loves.

In our lives it is not easy to always feel love for everything we do. We may experience more love and inspiration from one thing and less from another. But like Kelly Slater, we must learn to chase our own swells – really chase the things that inspire us and that we can devote love to. We must give love to everything and see where we get the most love back. That, right there, is your swell – your life’s passion.

Written by Copyright © SoulSurfer 14 November 2011 at 10.35pm

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The magic moment

I had to repost this wonderful blog entry by Paulo Coelho, as it really is the essence of appreciating life...

“You have to take risks”- he said.
“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.
“Every day, God gives us the sun–and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy.
“Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived that moment, that it doesn’t exist–that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow.
But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment.
It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock.
It may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us.
But that moment exists–a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.”

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Being Zen; a time and place?

I was thinking about the concept of ‘being Zen’ over the last few days…the thought tossed around in my head after I read a bit of gossip about Jennifer Aniston. The article said that Jennifer used to be very ‘Zen’ about things and she just let things happen as they come, but since meeting her new love, Justin Theroux, she has become a go getter and started fiercely going after what she wants.

It made me think about the concept of ‘being Zen’…can we ‘be Zen’ all the time? Can we always just let whatever happens happen, and when it does, will it be what he had hoped and wished for? Does the decision to take a step back, and give in to the Universe automatically guarantee we will patiently receive our heart’s desire?

I was also thinking about this concept when I was surfing today. Can I ‘be Zen’ about surfing? I know surfing definitely makes me relaxed, chilled out, complete and happy, but can I ‘be Zen’ in my approach to surfing? Can I just paddle out to a spot, sit on my board and expect an awesome wave to take me on its crest? Yes, I admit a few times, when engrossed in conversation, I have found myself swept away and taken for a ride by some pretty amazing waves, but I guess I worked hard to get there. My surf instructor said that “paddling takes away 100% of your energy”, so even before you are gloriously riding a wave, you are pretty much going all out, paddling in desperation to get to the back. I think had it not been for my fierce, dedicated and at times exhausting paddling, many a time I would have not been able to do the visible part of surfing, known as riding waves.
There are often times all you are doing is paddling, not quite assured if you will get a ride back to shore. But you put the work in, you paddle hard. Sometimes the fruits of your labour occur after an exhausting 30 minutes of paddling and an awesome chance swell, or better yet, chasing down an amazing wave which is breaking some 10 metres from you.

So yes, surf is not all Zen, but a fierce and exciting challenge. If you take away the ‘fierce’ and just replace with Zen, you get a person stuck in a rip, occasionally riding 2 seconds on a wave that docks on the sand.
Similarly, just because you want to accept things as they come in life, does not mean it takes away your responsibility to go after things, when that is what needs to be down. Fierce and Zen can occupy the same room, and it is in fact often the feeling of fierceness that gives us the feeling of Zen. Working hard for something, going against the swell of life and ultimately succeeding, that is what gives inner peace and contentment. There is a time to fight, and a time to rest. There is a time to push on through with little encouragement, and there is a time to surrender and refocus. There is a time to paddle harder, and a time to move on to another spot.
You just have to know when the time is right. Timing is everything. We can never truly be Zen or fierce, we have to always balance back and forth. And timing is everything.
So for me, the only way of life is to live from one extreme to another, and among that find your own, unique, happy balance.

Written by SoulSurfer © 29 October 2011 at 6.56pm

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs – following his Personal Legend

I have never been one to admire the rich and powerful; although their success is undeniable, I question the means and motives for it. Where money is concerned, the motives are clear and the means well, always highly contentious and questionable.

The passing of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, made me appreciate the great loss of a man who followed his passion and Personal Legend. It takes only a Google search of ‘Steve Jobs quotes’, to see that Steve’s passion for innovation and ingenuity permeated through his mind, body and soul. I had no idea how much.

Firstly, let me explain Paulo Coelho’s concept of the ‘Personal Legend’. It first appeared in his international bestseller “The Alchemist”. Paulo describes it as:

“It’s [your Personal Legend] what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives…..”

After reading some of Jobs’ many quotes, it dawned on me that this incredible man lived out his Personal Legend every day. Some have described his enthusiasm and tireless energy for life as Zen-like, and I do agree. Below I present some of Steve’s quotes on life, which I believe exactly personify the image of living out the Personal Legend which Coelho portrayed in his prose:

His faith…

"You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever," he said. "This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

His perseverance…

"I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me," he said.

His reflections on setbacks…

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith."

His life credo…

"You've got to find what you love," he said. "That is as true for your work as it is for your lovers."
On the search of what you love…

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking."

On everyday happiness and fulfillment…

"For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

On his motivation…

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

One man. One Personal Legend fulfilled. I hope this can motivate and encourage everyone to live out their own Personal Legends. We all have a unique one, and the choice is truly ours to pursue it or let it pass.

Copyright © SoulSurfer 8 October 2011 at 9.29pm

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Live for the journey, not the destination

“I love nothing more, nothing gets me more passionate than tracking a swell and flying after it” – Kelly Slater

After 10 full months of surfing, after the many kilometers travelled, the many times squeezing into wetsuits, waxing boards, repairing dings, getting thrashed in every possible way by the rips and currents, I have come to appreciate how much the journey of surfing means to me.

As any amateur surfer you start off admiring all the barrels and flips of the pro surfers, eagerly devouring every surfing video in sheer awe and amazement. The will to be ‘that good’ is strong, but is the dedication always there?
I made it my goal to just keep surfing. No matter what happened, what I had to do, just keep surfing. There were days I either didn’t catch any waves, or when I couldn’t get past the waves due to the pure force of the swell pushing me outwards. But my goal was always one: keep surfing. No matter who I was to be, what kind of surfer I was to become, I would always keep surfing.

Of course, I always hoped and prayed that all my efforts would expand and propel me further than just paddling around. I still remember the weekend of April 4 2011, when I stumbled on some beautiful waves. Every keen surfer was out far into the surf, and there was a wave to be caught at ever interval. It was one big sweep after another, that you either floated through or it caught you and took you for a very long ride. I remember being out very very far from shore, a mixture of anxiety and excitement, waiting for this big swell to pick me up and sweep me onto my feet. I remember the wave passing through so many people, but it picked me up and before I knew it I was up on my board riding the wave towards shore for what seemed a blissful eternity!

One of the best memories of surfing as yet.

Of course then you have blah days when nothing special picks you up and there is no real swell to speak for. But I love every moment. Someone once said that life is made up of moments, and every one moment surfing has been Zen-like for me. I can credit surfing for making me like peaceful, serene, for giving me strength and conviction. And grace. There is nothing more graceful than to ride a wave to shore. To fight the tide, the wind, the wave mechanics, your own bodily limitations and just sail to shore.

Learning a new trick or achieving a new level in surfing is wonderful and makes the journey worthwhile, but it is in those small moments that you can truly appreciate how far you have come to achieve what you have achieved. Every wipeout, every bruise, every cut, every surfboard knock. But you never stop surfing. You pursue it more. Because, each time, you hope to move closer to the destination and cherish more each moment that drove you there.

Copyright SoulSurfer © 4 October 2011 at 6.44pm

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You own the moment...

The amazing thing about surfing, is that you only have the wave…
You own the moment…
You master the present time…

In a few seconds, you have all that is going for you everything and all that is going against you; you sum together your mind, body and soul to seize the opportunity that you behold. You accept you are the master of the wave and a slave to its power and force.  

It doesn’t get much closer to this in real life!

Kelly Slater on owning the moment:

“I think the real Zen of surfing for me, it’s just an in the moment thing completely, as the wave presents itself, you deal with what’s possible, and what is asked of you to do…you find that line, you find the timing…when you do a flip at one section, it just sets you up for the next section perfectly.
There is a connection between people and the environment…that when its done the right way, when you someone link things together on a wave the right way, its like that thing already existed, that’s exactly what was supposed to happen”

Courtesy of “Kelly Slater: Mind Body Surf: Mind Episode” by Quiksilver

Copyright © SoulSurfer 21 September 2011 at 8.42pm

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things I have learned about life through surfing…

Fascination – the more time you spend with the ocean, the more you notice things you never saw from the shore. It’s our fascination with life and its many surprises that drives away fear and replaces it with pure passion. Are there sharks that close to the shore? How does the board turn? How do you barrel? The exhilaration of life and truly living leads us to go out and experience. Sometimes it’s just the questions that are complicated and the answers simple. Life, like the waves, is full of surprises.

Perseverance sometimes there are no waves and nothing to surf, sometimes there are too many to catch! Life is about moving elsewhere to find a better swell, or sometimes just taking random opportunities as they come. Nevertheless we don’t stop surfing; we don’t stop living.

Respect – such a misunderstood word, and no, its “not in-you-face” ghetto type of respect. Respect for the ocean and Mother Nature should be a core value each passionate surfer holds. You need to deeply treasure and admire the force of nature which enables you to practise your passion with grace and flair. Also, holding respect for the fact you are co-existing in an aquatic habitat full of precious life forms is paramount. Similarly in life, we need to respect the environment and people around us. If you give respect, in a true and deep manner, then receiving respect is reciprocal. Life is a journey and we need to respect the time and space we are present in, in order to move forward with our destinies.

Commitment – it’s all too easy believe you are a pro surfer after your first lesson, in which the instructor prompts you when to paddle and stand up. Surfing like life, takes commitment. A commitment to experiencing it for better and for worse; during big swells and not so big swells. But we surfers, soldier on, believing we are a part of something greater, something wonderful; and experiencing this when we meet our match on a wave.

Love – If you commit to and persevere through all the seaweed, tides, swells, rips and random fin sightings, you will arrive at only one conclusion; “I’m in love with surfing.” Yes love, like with all great things, fits nicely with surfing. But to encounter a deeper sense of all-encompassing love and appreciation for the environment, world, universe and Spirit…this only comes through the experience and practise of surfing. Love is usually found in the most profound things, and surfing (even in shallow tides) is deep. Ocean deep.
Love is the experience we all want to partake in and feeling one with a powerful force and harnessing it to create greater good; that is love in its purest form.

 Copyright © SoulSurfer 15 September 2011 @ 11.11pm

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Real Me: trusting mistakes

Sitting on a plane and sifting through my entertainment choices, I got excited when they had an episode of Sex and the City. When it comes to SATC, I will watch any given episode, because within it lies a wealth of everyday knowledge that fares beyond the sexual realm…

This episode was called “The Real Me”. Carrie is invited to walk the runway for a fashion show. Despite everyone telling her she is ‘fabulous’ and will do well, she doesn’t feel it and laments “I’m not a model, I’m a real person”. She ends up taking a big stack on the runway…

All while I was watching, I was thinking about two concepts; having trust and making mistakes. And then this episode was like a lightening bolt which sealed the deal and really drove home the impact that these two things ultimately have on being yourself. Let me explain…

For a long time, I was afraid to make mistakes. Yes mistakes happened on their own, but I didn’t actively seek out challenges and opportunities (and with them the potential for more mistakes) because I was scared. Scared of failing. Scared of how a mistake would expose a part of the Real Me, which I wasn’t comfortable with. I was scared of my own flaws, and even more so, showing them to the world.

So on Saturday, I had a really great friend fire at me something that hit the heart of my failure-avoiding ways: “Feed your faith and not your fear”.
I was anticipating the failures and successes of any opportunities I undertook or were thrown my way, but I didn’t have trust and faith to just see them as experience. I let the positive and negative define and box me in, and so I was in my comfort zone of taking calculated risks with predictable results.

So after this conversation, I firmly decided on one thing: this trip will be one in which I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and potentially make a fool of myself, because somehow I believe it will strengthen me. I realise all this time, I was afraid of making mistakes. NOT making a mistake and not doing anything actually hurts you 10x more then making a mistake and looking stupid. It’s like my skating on Sunday. I fell over and it looked horrible (the kind you think “Oh that can’t be good…”), but when I got up I was OK. Barely a scratch.
Sometimes we look at our failures and see them worse than they are. Sometimes we just have to do stupid things and realise they aren’t so bad. And if we are willing to look hard enough we will see that they make us stronger. Because they allow us to see ourselves, flaws and all, and appreciate that we are the sum of the good and the bad of it all.

…So after having flashing cameras and an entire fashion-worshipping audience capture her epic fashion faux-pas, Carrie then gets back up and says “In the real world, when real people fall down, they get straight back up and keep walking”. She then proceeds to stand up finish her walk and do a hi-five with Heidi Klum.

Hell yes, real people just keep walking! I think both experience and trust in life’s lessons exposes us to our strengths and flaws, so that it can guide us to the Real person inside. And knowing the Real You is the greatest strength you can possess.

SoulSurfer © 16 August 2011 at 5.17pm

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It seems the eye of the storm is the perfect place to ponder life. And Sunday afternoon in Manly proved to be the perfect place to be awed by Mother Nature’s beauty and splendour.
Picture this: about two dozen surfers scattered across the choppy and grey-hued sea, desperately competing against each other to catch the remnants of a decent days’ surf. It was about 5.30pm, when Mark and I stopped in our tracks and looked above. What happened over the course of the next 15 minutes was breathtaking.
The surfers continued to paddle towards the kamikaze waves, but our focus had shifted to the sky above. These pictures are simply beautiful. A grey sky melting into yellow across the skyline, finally being lit up with a magnificent red glow from the west. In one place rain began to fall and develop, but on the sunny side the sun struggled back into the spotlight to reveal a beautiful, full-arched, luminuous rainbow, which then cast its Technicolour shadow on the droopy and heavy clouds. The effect was a rainbow glow of light scattered across the clouds.
The photos below.

So Mark and I stopped on one conclusion: focus on doing what you love, and aim to improve yourself in what you love everyday. You only have one life, and the skills, passions and talents you have received in this life to enjoy and experience are unique to YOU only. Aim to be better than yourself everyday. Spend more time giving time to your passions and hobbies. Like Kelly Slater, aim for perfection in your craft over accolades and recognition. Be the best you can be in what you love.

 Life opens up doorways to those who are truly in sync with their life’s purpose. When you dedicate yourself to your passion, your cup is full and overflows; you learn to give to others willingly and selflessly. You cannot give if you are not self-full first.

 The first step lies in giving into your passion. Life is really what you make of it, and if you are in line with your purpose, JUST THINK of what lies ahead for you!
If you are not in line with your purpose, you are not contributing conscientiously to this world. And if you are not contributing conscientiously to this world, you are wasting your time here.

Let us go, and DO WHAT WE LOVE!

Copyright © SoulSurfer 9 August 2011 at 8.43pm

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chasing passion…seek your own swell

The Billabong Pro J-Bay 2011 just came to an end in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa on Sunday. To say the least, the surf was pitiful. Not the most captivating waves for pro surfers to showcase their prowess on. Nevertheless, there were some decent swells, and homegrown surfer Jordy Smith took out the title. Once again, we realise Mother Nature is the driving force behind the beauty (and at times savageness) of the sport.

But one very prominent figure was decidedly absent from the competition; Kelly Slater. The favorite for the 2011 title, was chasing his own thrills on the amazing swells exploding onto the shores of Tavi, Fiji. Just for fun really…

It made me think about chasing our passions in life. Would you ever leave at lunchtime from work if you knew any epic swell was about to sweep your nearest beach? What about going overseas to see your favorite band, whom you never seen live? Or taking a break from your rigid schedule to do something you really want to do with your time?

Just like Kelly, we really need to chase passion more often in our lives. If you have something that really captures your intrigue, something you love doing, something that fills your life with purpose, you need to be catching that wave. And you need to be doing it as much as possible. Life is too short to be stuck in the lowly swells of J-Bay, when you could be screaming “Yeehaaa!!” from the bow of a massive one in Tavi.

We feel too obligated in life to do the “should” “could” “would”, but need to do more of the “I want” and “I need”. Our dreams and passions are never really gone; they just slowly die inside of us, until we feel unmotivated to do anything; the compulsory or the voluntary.

Instead we need to keep the flame of passion and purpose burning. Even the busiest people find time to do what they love (hey, even a world champion), and in turn fulfilling their purpose drives them to continue onwards. Once you step into your passion, life becomes easier because the engine of success and happiness is churning along effortlessly. Passions also highlight your strengths and give you confidence to succeed in all areas of life.

So really, do you have an hour a day to INVEST in yourself? Do you have the mental space to tune out and connect with your purpose? Can you honour and reward yourself enough to just do what you love?

If you don’t, no one else will kindly do it for you.

Invest in YOU.

Seek your own swell...

Copyright SoulSurfer © 27 July 2011 at 9.09pm

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This is the day to rule over addiction!

Addiction is an incredibly complex problem...yet there is a simple thing that an addicted person can do to lesson their load...just talk to someone. Share your pain with someone who cares. You may think no one cares, but there are people who are literally dying of grief worrying about the negative spiral you are getting into. Just talk. Life is not meant to be a solo fight, we need other people to help us out. It is not "weak" or "less manly" to share your feelings and thoughts, your greifs and problems. If it improves your life, it is definitely worth it. So just start a conversation. 

Live toward your purpose, not away from it. The world awaits YOU!!!

For more information, visit: 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

FEMspiration: Heidi Klum: the German Powerhouse

Modeling is a very fickle business; the array of fresh-faced, leggy and skinny new talent to hit the catwalks comes and goes as quickly as the designer collections. Although models over the last 15 years have ventured away from being mere faces of fashion to mini entrepreneurs, it takes a lot to evolve past glorified coat hanger to glorified ‘It girl’. You have to have a lot of muscle, a lot of attitude; an approachability and down to earth nature with which you entice your many female and especially male followers. All this happy-go-lucky pizzazz on a low-carb diet…

Heidi Klum Samuel embodies all the qualities of quite literally a modeling powerhouse. Google her name and it is associated with anything from video games and TV shows, to footwear, jewellery and even candies and roses with her namesake. In a world where the model represents the brand, Heidi Klum has become a brand in her own right, with modeling it being second nature.

Heidi Klum, who came from a small town outside of Cologne, Germany, was persuaded to enter a modeling contest in 1992 by a friend, and out of 25,000 participants was crowned the winner. From then on, she accepted a modeling contract with Metropolitan Models New York, and has appeared in countless fashion shows and magazine covers, including Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire. However, her biggest claim to fame was appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, from which she quickly attained the pinnacle of modeling superstardom, becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel. Klum ended her 12 year long tenure with the Angels in 2010, during which she bounced back from three (!) pregnancies (usually in the space of a few weeks), to appear in super skimpy lingerie. In 2005, six weeks after giving birth to her second child Henry, Heidi modeled the $2 million dollar diamond encrusted Wonderbra, rocking an incredibly toned and tight midriff. Klum’s upbeat attitude, resilience and energy are palatable; she makes it her business to tackle the tricky world of fashion head on.

And it is exactly this attitude which has seen her grow and outgrow the fashion world and venture in to almost every avenue of business and merchandising. She has gone from curvaceous model to bona fide businesswoman with such ease and confidence (as well as four children in tow), you can’t help but feel there are not enough hours in the day for Heidi Klum. To name just a few of her accolades, she has been a spokesperson for H & M, & McDonald’s, appeared in several TV Shows such as Sex & The City, How I Met Your Mother and Spin City, appeared in commercials for Guitar Hero World Tour and Volkswagen, web-based videos entitled SPIKED HEEL battling evil forces planning to ruin Fashion Week. She is the face of countless brands such as European cosmetics brand Astor, shoe giant Birkenstock and New Balance, countless cosmetics lines for Victoria’s Secret and she has designed a line for Mouawad’s jewellery.

If that’s not enough to make you feel your multi-tasking skills are lagging behind, she has being the host, judge and executive producer of the super successful Project Runway since 2004 as well as Germany’s Next Top Model, also recently producing a new reality TV show with husband Seal called Love’s Divine, in which they offer love advice to couples.

The best part? Heidi Klum has four children! She has three children, Henry, Johan and Lou with husband Seal Samuel, her eldest daughter Leni being the biological child of Formula 1 boss Flavio Briatore. Klum and Samuel married in May 2005, while Heidi was pregnant with Leni, but states emphatically that “Seal is Leni’s father”. Each one of her pregnancies sees her bounce back, fitter, stronger and healthier than before. She has recently been a spokesperson and active participant of the AOL Summer Run challenge, uploading daily updates of her progress and comments on Facebook.
Heidi’s charm lies in her approachability and engagement with the public; she has so much enthusiasm, energy and humour and truly enjoys every project she does. She approaches it all with determination and sound business skills, and also her signature cheekiness. She’s the best friend you wish you had in the workplace.

And it seems life after Victoria’s Secret and four kids is not slowing Heidi down. She appears in the new movie Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil and is gearing for Project Runway’s 7th season. Heidi leaves no stone unturned and she does it with what seems to be an ever present smile on her face. When you have an adoring husband, four kids, a rocking body the world at your feet, what’s not to smile about?
Heidi Klum Samuel is the entrepreneurial powerhouse of the modeling world, paving the wave for models alike.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Just do it...

So for me its 30 days until I leave Australia for my holiday which is anticipated to be named “Insane in Spain”… I am safely in a space where I feel that any consequences of my actions over the next 30 days, can be written off as “gone holidaying”…meaning I won’t have to deal with them, (or maybe I won’t care or remember them), until I come back. So basically I am living on the edge over the next month or so, knowing I can jump on a plane and leave it all behind for 3 weeks…I think there is a Dupree (from the movie “You, Me  & Dupree”) in all of us…

But I had a slightly weird thought…what if this was the last 30 days of my life…? What would I do? What ‘insane’ things would I attempt if ‘this was it’?

I think a lot of time, we countdown to holidays, events and parties, thinking that is the time we will go all out, be confident, have fun, do unbelievable things, experience amazing experiences…so what about the rest of the time? Do we live in mediocrity, putting all our anticipation into that one event? Then again, how often do highly-anticipated events or holidays turn out to be less than stellar and heart-racing?
Are our lives like a heart rate monitor; stable most of the time with a few high voltage blips here and there?

I believe everyone is given a unique life, which NEEDS to filled to the brim with things that are centrally important, and that inspire, motivate and cultivate your inner YOU. The only way to define from within, and really feel you have a presence in this lifetime, is to take control of what it is you want to do, who you want to be, what you want to experience, and take steady steps to fulfill these goals.
And not just once in a while, you need to get that heart pumping regularly. Whether it’s booking a last minute extreme sport activity, or going out of your comfort zone to try some exotic cuisine, we all need to start just doing, and reap the rewards of experience.

Don’t be the person who waits until they’re 30, until after uni, until after you have a stable job, to go on an African safari. Don’t put off taking surfing lessons for when it gets warmer. Don’t wait too long to ask out someone who you’re taken an interest in.
While the regret and embarrassment of doing something stupid may last a while, the regret of NOT DOING something usually lasts much longer. And it will keep gnawing at you, until you do something about it.
So if you feel there is something you want to do, just do it! Go for it, with your heart and soul…it may be good, it may be bad, but it’s experience. And we definitely are not experiencing enough of this beautiful life we are given! So just do it! Unleash you’re inner Dupree!
SoulSurfer Copyright © 17 July at 9.08pm

Monday, July 11, 2011

Be open, but do things when the time is right for you…

I was speaking to my friend on the weekend, when she said something that really struck me and has reverberated the whole weekend. Well it was two separate things, that when combined, have just produced this amazing revelation within myself.
This friend has the amazing ability to tell me exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. It may not even seem like a direct response to my question, but it is what needs to be said at the time.

So the first thing she told me to do was to “Be more open…”. Now there are many definitions of open, from accepting heavily tattooed people, to embracing different religions, to trying unusual cuisine to just thinking outside the box. But the “open” my friend was talking about, was having an open heart. Not just regarding the opposite sex, but to others in general. Anyone who knows me will know I accept with openness all the things mentioned above, in fact I thrive on being “open” to them. But she made me question “am I really open to others”? In her definition, being open to others is just letting people enter your life, and responding to them in a way that is congruent with who you are. Not pretending to be anyone else, not putting up barriers, not playing games. Just embracing the experience of interacting with another person, but not letting the experience define you.

I think we live in a world where we care too much about what insignificant people in our lives think about us. ‘Insignificant’ here meaning, people who by no means are close to us, or truly know who we are, but who are a part of our daily lives. It may be a superior whom you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, a neighbour who gives you disapproving looks when you take out the garbage in your pajamas, or an occasional friend who puts you down in indirect ways. We by no means like these people, and yet we care about what they think…

Being “open” is first embracing who you are and then telling the world “this is who I am; take it or leave it”. When you have the openness to express that attitude, without aggression or arrogance, you begin to attract the very people who can respect who you are and your boundaries. You forget about trying to impress others, and start to impress yourself with your newfound confidence. It becomes a very positive snowball effect from there on out…
The second thing she said was “Be more open…but don’t do things against yourself”. Imagine having 20 seconds to prepare a speech and having this gut feeling that you just can’t wing it. It ends up coming out wonky and lacks energy or confidence.
As much as we sometimes want to do something, and we psyche ourselves up, sometimes that inner drive is just missing. I realised this over the weekend, when everyone was spurring me into action, yet all I felt apt to do was retreat. I had been thinking and analyzing things too much, to the point where I felt dizzy and confused and unable to physically do anything. I was on the brink of “just going for it”, but decided against, as I really wanted to put my whole heart into it. It was the right decision, as I immediately felt relieved, and felt I could think clearly without all the clutter.

I think these two concepts really work together. You can only be open to others and open to opportunities, when you are not forcing yourself into a specific direction. When you take out the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’, take a step back and first reconnect with yourself. I think each individual is their own best compass, and it is better to get behind something wholeheartedly and with enthusiasm when the time is right, rather than to just wing it and hope for the best. You are the own potter of your life, and you will produce your best art when you are inspired to do so.

Where passion goes, dreams follow.

Written by: Copyright © SoulSurfer 11th July 2011 at 7.28pm

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friendship, the gift that keeps giving…

I felt really inspired after a conversation today to write about the sheer power of…friendship.

Seriously, you don’t have to watch Sex and the City to realise that the power of friendship really transcends all manner of life’s troubles, ups and downs, events, successes and failures. Though the high profile series does emphasize sex and relationships, you can’t miss the fact that underlying all of it, there is a bond between four friends that moulds their lives together.

And today, after speaking for only half an hour with my best friend over Skype (after 40 minutes of every connection and technological difficulty known to man!), I was once again so buzzed up and psyched, that I can safely say I won’t be sleeping tonight.

For me, having a great relationship with another soul, on that level that you can speak freely about everything you want, share all your troubles and happiness, share trivial and stupid, serious and painful things, to me that is the greatest interpersonal achievement in life. Of course, it may take a whole lifetime to realise what friends are, who those true, stay by your side, through thick and thin people are, but it is always worth it. Just as people are willing to do many great things in leaps and bounds for love, I think the same applies to friendship.

And many people say that friendship between a man and a woman cannot exist, without one party feeling romantic feelings for the other. I am happy to say I have had many purely platonic friendships, in great part thanks to the fact that I work with men on a daily basis. There is so much to learn and glean from the male perspective, and men are willing to share their side of the story, troubles and successes, with a woman who can just listen…

…Just listen. Sometimes I think that’s what a friendship is all about. It’s great to have a friend who can give us a pep talk when we need it, but I think a human being’s greatest psychological need is just to be heard sometimes. To just have someone listen to our lives, no matter how banal or chaotic they may seem. Sometimes it’s enough to give someone your time and your ear, and to show them that “I want to share your life story”.

The best thing is that friendship really has no boundaries. It crosses race, age, status, religion, physical characteristics. Relationships sometimes fail to take off due to prejudice regarding these factors. But friendship is a gift that can be offered freely, because in the beginning people usually don’t think much of the encounters that lead to friendship. A chat with your local barista, sharing your seat with someone on the same route to work, seeing the same dude surfing at the spot every week… These incidents seem like one-offs, until we are willing to make the connection and just engage with the other person.

It’s impossible to explain fully how paramount friendship is. Friendship I would say is the glue that holds life together. You cannot choose your family, and many times your family take you for granted because they expect a good connection with you by right of blood. Not always so. The same way an unattended friendship can wither and die, the same way a lack of respect and feeling of friendship within family, can lead to resentment and entitlement.

So friends are the family we choose, and hopefully keep for life. I know I definitely cherish them above all else; they are the light to my flame!

Copyright © 1 July 2011 at 8.08pm SoulSurfer

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Always act like you're wearing an invisible crown...

Today I realised it’s not fair to always feel inferior to your dreams. To be focused on what you don’t have as areas for improvement toward attaining “the dream”.

I let myself run into the “I cant’s” of life. I can’t do this. I don’t have that. I’m not this. I don’t know that. Gosh, do I really have to overlook all that I DO HAVE?

Instead of working from a position of power, working with what I do have, I always seem to be working for the things I don’t have. It’s like a rat in an exercise wheel – always running after something, never being happy to just stop. There is a saying “work smarter, not harder”. I seem to take immense thrill in working hard. But sometimes the wariness of working hard can detract you from your goal. Sometimes it can make you lose sight of what it is you are good at. Sometimes you forget to stop and smell the roses along the way.

The problem with success is that we struggle all too much to attain the pinnacles it defines: the first huge paycheck, the new clothes, the first shiny car, the first impulsive purchase without a look at the price tag. But somewhere along the way we forget to stop in the mirror and say “Hey, I am doing pretty well” and rack up the self-confidence points. It seems sometimes the only time I am happy is when I am on the long and winding path to an (obscure) goal. I feel like I am working toward something – key word being ‘something’. It’s like the rat race defines my way of life. As if being inferior to the goal, feeling you have to “work your way up” to attain confidence and success is the only way to be happy, to feel useful and fulfilled in society.

But can I just be happy in the meantime? Can I be proud that I pitched a good idea to my boss? Can I be happy I scored a meeting with an event manager? Can I be happy that I finally got the $49.11 off the client who hadn’t paid in three months?

What about all the small skills you learn along the way? Learning to format a report properly, learning to fix a jam in the fax, learning to change the towel dispenser in the bathroom? These are all skills. Why does my success have to be defined by a mountain, when it should be defined by several hills? And in today’s world, where experience is essential, isn’t it better to know a bit of everything from these small successes?

I know there will come a time when my life narrows down to one thing, one avenue of work, but then I think I’m sure to get bored quicker. I realise now that really you cannot be happy, or attain happiness, if you are not enjoying the road that is taking you there. More importantly, if you are so blindsided by the goal, that you ignore the journey, there will no doubt come a time when you may have to revisit the path, only to find you have no idea where you are.

My point is simple; live in the here and now. Praise your effort now. Be confident in what you know now, and pay importance to the can-do’s and am-able-to’s in your current life. Your success should only be defined by your own vision, not someone else’s, but even then; your success should be as simple as self-praise for living the past day as well as possible.

So always act like you are wearing an invisible crown, that way you are always the king or queen of your success. 

Copyright © 21st June 2011 at 7.54pm by SoulSurfer