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

Monday, June 13, 2011


A very powerful question asks “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

As I ponder this question in all of its magnitude and opportunity, I immediately am hit with another more reality-based question: “How serious are we about our dreams?”

It seems the word ‘dream’ in today’s world has been replaced with less trivial terms such as goal, ambition, aspiration. But really, as we grow up do we lose sight of our dreams? Are dreams only confined to the realm of children and the young at heart (or slightly kooky)?

Paulo Coelho in his book “The Pilgrimage” describes unfulfilled dreams as ones that initially bring peace from the combativeness of life, but ones which eventually rot within us and infect our whole being. Dreams ignored leave a life unfulfilled.

In order to fulfill our dreams, we must reconnect with them and define them. To some it is an easy task; the dreams have been there, simply repressed by the monotony of life. For others a journey of self-awakening must occur; arousing our strengths and articulating them into solid concepts.

But even after this period of revelation and epiphany, many people go back to the daily chores of life and make no commitment to their dreams. It’s amazing how the most important and potentially life-changing ideas of a person’s life, fall prey to the banal existence they have become accustomed to. We know there is more in life, we know there is a life more exciting and fulfilled, but we lack the strength, conviction and commitment to see our own dreams through. Our own dreams…

Maybe it is because ‘dreams’ are overrated. Maybe they seem like a Disney movie. Maybe they are harder to define and then propel into action than a company project. But they are our projects, our life’s project, and the only people who live with the reality of our unfulfilled dreams are we ourselves.

It’s time to get serious about our dreams. It’s time to commit to making them a reality. It’s time to invest time, money, ideas and resources into the best commodity; your own life. It’s time to grow and believe and become a better person, step by step, dream by dream.
It’s time to be the person who lost 50 pounds on the infomercial.
It’s time to be the next person to climb Mount Everest.
It’s time to leave the job you hate, because there is something more productive and fulfilling you could be doing with your time.

It’s time to be serious about your life and dreams, because you only have one and no one else will live it for you.

Copyright © 13 June 2011 at 9.13pm SoulSurfer


Sunday, June 12, 2011

24th Annual Snowy McAlister Longboard Surf Festival 11-13 June

The Queen’s birthday long weekend was kicked off with the annual Snowy McAlister Longboard festival, now in it’s 24th year. The event is championed by the Manly Malibu Boardriders club which was founded in 1985 by five dedicated surfers.
The weather was quite ugly and overcast, but in the water it couldn’t have been more ideal! The waves were forceful, long and the swell was just right for the longboarders to show off their surfing prowess.
Here are some photos from the first day heats:

For more information visit: www.mmbc.info/home.htm
Copyright © 12 June 2011 at 2.07pm SoulSurfer

Friday, June 10, 2011


Last year in November, two words both defined and liberated me at the same time:

Just experience.

It wasn’t a suggestion, it was a command. I had been looking at ways to simplify my life. Things had gotten a bit too complicated, to the point that I was micro-analysing some things, and then on the other hand, blatantly sweeping big fat elephants under the rug. I was lost and needed clarity. And then came those words.
I don’t need to get into the context of the epiphany. If you look at those words carefully, they are both the alpha and omega of what you need to know in your life.
I accept there will be times in life when you must search in-depth for the answers. You may need to go over things with a fine-tooth comb to really delve into the core of the situation. And then at other times, you need to just take top-down approach and lightly skim over the specifics. But the biggest picture still remains;

Just experience.

I have come to gain a lot in life by being inquisitive, looking for patterns in problems, and finding innovative solutions which encompass what I have gleaned.
God, I sound like a scientist…
But… sometimes there is no answer. Sometimes you’re not supposed to know the answer then and there. Sometimes life hasn’t even defined the answer, and all you’re perceiving is unintelligible mumbo-jumbo. Sometimes you’re just not ready. Sometimes you need to just let go of control and,

Just experience.

Luckily, when I had my epiphany, I had been fortunate enough to unknowingly be cultivating a “just experience” attitude. I just hadn’t defined it in those terms. And here is where the act of defining stifles the experience of experiencing. When you define, you put parameters based on what you know, and essentially reject other things that may be beneficial to expanding your experience. And definition is a form of control; and it is only once you relinquish control, that you let life take you by surprise.

Taking the good with the bad and putting it down to experience is the wisest practice. You have free will to choose some experiences in your life, but trying to block and control the others deprives you of a full life experience. Every experience in life is a lesson, and only these lessons can define and shape you as a person. There are a lot of pleasant experiences which fill us with hope, happiness and determination, where others just leave us alone, lost and drained. But it is confidence in the act of experiencing that needs to be maintained. The knowledge that you are always moving forward, always making progress, always becoming a more abundant individual.
When you let life define you, you are no longer confined to defining it.
So just experience.

(Subliminally, I hope I have used the word “experience” enough times for it to enter your subconscious! :) )
Copyright © 10 June at 7.14pm SoulSurfer

Connecting with your chemistry and creativity...with your art

I just love this quote from Anthony Kiedis, he really encapsulates the chemistry of creating, be it music, art, novels..anything :) Definitely a great quote for when writer's block pops up!

"Chemistry is beautiful and important to any musical endeavor, and it's also impossible to figure out or force it."

Anthony Kiedis

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A wave of respect; a surfer’s take on Mother Nature

When you first begin surfing, you plonk your long, heavy foam board in the water, fighting white water, as you rehearse in your mind the few simple steps just learnt to go from prone to standing in a flash…
Each approaching ripple in the water fills you with excitement, your arms dipped in the water, ready to furiously paddle and feel the momentum pushing you forward. If you manage to find your feet (and balance) and stand up for a few photo-worthy seconds, then surfing success has been achieved.

My first few surfing practices were attempts to master and improve on this simple formula. I reminded myself it took all of three minutes for the surfing instructor to explain the procedure, but as he then revealed, before I embarked on a fairly successful wave, “It takes years to become a good surfer”. Wow… my ride quickly ended when I found myself entangled in a bunch of menacing seaweed.

But I emerged victorious and inspired. I wanted more. I found myself perfectly aware that bridging the gap between kook and wave-thrasher was not going to be an easy task. And I loved it. I was the animal on the hunt for a chase, and decided to meet my match in the ocean. A duel with Mother Nature.

Of course, you quickly realise just how out of your depth (to use a pun) you really are. Not only is your 30-second intro to surfing a pretty flimsy one, but you are confronted with a force that is as capricious as well, the weather.
There were days I would quietly snub the lack of waves under my board, arrogantly hoping “I could finally get a decent surf in”, only on other days, to be ready to paddle and stand, and be thoroughly mangled and ripped to shreds by a violent rip. Bikini and I – parted by the sea.

If you see surfing as sexy, it’s hard to be sexy when your hair is salt-laden, hanging over your face in dreadlocks, and it’s quite possible you just mooned a bunch of surfers who had time to catch the wave and also you - not catching it. It’s funny, it’s embarrassing, it’s painful. That board also does a fair amount of impact when you are on the wrong side of it. Ouch.
And then, “but I want more”
If you manage to continue surfing after the bruises, the nose dives, the spectacular screw ups and disrobements, you begin to appreciate one thing – this is Mother Nature’s territory. This is a playground that can be placid and pleasurable in a moment, only to unleash fury and force similar to a natural disaster in an instant. Because we are only human with our little boards and boards do break. Think of what can happen to a surfer then…

This is what you come to realise if you truly appreciate surfing. I don’t mean in a spectator kind of way. When you embody surfing, you submit with respect to the power of Mother Nature and accept that you are not riding the wave, the wave is riding you. As time goes on, you recognize that the simple surfing formula is the same, the only difference between catching the miniscule and momentous waves is your approach. Like a Buddhist monk, you approach your master with deeper and more involved insights, when the time is right. Once you have become enlightened to do so.

Surfing is the same – catching a wave is a mix of privilege and prowess. You stake your claim to the world, possibly riding out towards jaws dropped or sly sneers. It’s competitive, it’s raw, it’s spiritual. It’s surfing.

And I, in all my kook-iness, am honoured to be in this world. In a world where as Kelly Slater, world number one, points out “…surfers get to experience a lot more highs than normal people.

Copyright © 7 June 2011 10.31pm SoulSurfer

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Perfectionism - the obsolete desire driving towards depression

Attaining perfection – it’s the ultimate catch-22. The goal is admirable and lofty, yet rationally, unattainable.

Human beings are constantly bombarded with visions of improvement, betterment, evolution towards the better of their current status. We could say it’s a Western, socio-economic, competitively-fuelled, technologically-advanced problem, but not necessarily – even in the most basic and grassroots village of a third world country, you will find someone who has evolved past what others at the time can attain.

Yes, its human nature to be competitive, to strive for more, to believe we are constantly moving towards bigger, better, deeper into reality-enhancing and improving. Without admitting it, we move towards realities which are more perfect than the current one.

But does the pursuit ever stop? And what impact does it have on our psyches?

Without getting all psychological, there is no doubt that the pursuit of perfection eventually evokes obsession. Never satisfied with the present, forever chasing the future reality, which once attained fuels further pursuit – no wonder a person feels detached from the world, but confident each new step forward will bring reward and finally, rest. Rest from the chase. But setting perfectionism as a goal, defining the parameters of life that will ensure your eternal happiness, is a futile and mind-boggling concept. It’s like an atomic chain reaction – once set off, the connections created are boundless, until an opposing force is strong enough to bring them to an end.

And here is where I throw depression into the mix – having invested so much time, energy into perfecting our lives, we lose touch with the ‘real’ reality happening in the present, with loved ones, work, family – things that meant a lot to us. Ultimately the goal self-destructs (or was never there) and a person realises that somewhere along the way they have also lost much more. So depression kicks in. In all my years of studying psychology, depression in my definition is a disconnection and impaired interpretation of reality. When you make being perfect your goal, you see the world through an imperfect lens.

Ending this article on a positive and uplifting note, nothing is needed more in this world than balance. Constantly monitoring yourself to check when you are out of balance and need to return back to the middle. Meditation is a wonderful thing, as you focus only on the present and clear your mind.

I always believe, “You should not strive to be better than others, but better than yourself”. Real, balanced self-improvement comes from making positive steps forward in your own pace, time, and with adequate resources. It comes from within, and provides satisfaction within.

Once the goal of balance is strived for, you become more appreciative of your life. Balance is impossible to completely attain, but that is why you appreciate what happens in your life, both good and bad. Because it is appreciation for the duality of life that produces balance and harmony. 

Copyright © 5 June 2011 SoulSurfer

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Surfing: a metaphor of life and love

Because of surfing, I have come to understand life in a whole new way; everytime I go out surfing the experience is new and unanticipated. You don’t know what it will hold. The best you can do is just let go and let the wave ride you. In time, you develop the skills you need to deal with the waves you are getting. 
In time. 

You may have done that new thing you learned a thousand times before, but it only ‘works’ in the moment you discover it and were meant to discover it.  Sometimes you can do something which in theory produces a result, but have it not work for you. When you put too much headspace into what you want to create, the creativity dissipates and leaves you with only a step by step image of the final result. Get on your board. Paddle. Look up. Stand up. How ungraceful is that? It’s mechanic, robotic. 

When you internalise your passions, take them on and make them part of your being and essence, it is then you become one and can transform the passion outward into the graceful form it is meant to be. 

Surfing is a feeling deep inside. It’s the way the feeling takes over you, guides you to do the right thing at the right time. It’s the magic of all manor of forces coming together in one single moment – when you stand up and let the wave navigate you. 

Surfing is a lot like falling in love also…the end result is beautiful, gracious, amazing…But so much goes into it beforehand. Waxing your board, battling the water for a break, lying in wait for the wave, swimming out to catch it…The bruises, the wipeouts, the sand everywhere…But we do it all for those few seconds, where we can be on top of the world…

Copyright © 7 March 2011 SoulSurfer