I paddled my surfboard over a white capped crest of a three foot high wave. It sprayed a salty mist in my face as I teetered over the top of the wave and landed on the other side. The water was glassy and clean on the south shore of Oahu. I’m over 200 meters out from shore when I saw a little Hawaiian kid looking back at me on his boogie board. We smiled at each other. In my mind, I told myself that I would look after that little kid in case he needed help out here in the ocean. But who was I kidding? The kid was only 5 years old and he was already better than me at surfing.
It has been a part of my weekly ritual to go surfing. That crystal teal water always takes away any heaviness that I may have picked up throughout the week. It washes away the nagging thoughts in my head and reminds me of the sweetness of life. In Hawaiian, they call that process au au kai (ow ow kye), which means to wash in the sea water. After I surf, my mind becomes still and my body feels like a hollow pipe. Everything tingles and I remember what my life force feels like. It clears the way for me to be.
As I sat on my board waiting for the next set of ways to come in, I reflected on my life 15 years ago. I lived in New York and I was doing a lot of deep intensive work on myself. I had already finished an apprenticeship with my uncle in traditional Native American medicine. I went on to study energy healing for several years with my mentor Carol. In addition to this, I was going to a therapist who specialized in several forms of deep cathartic work. I was a self proclaimed workshop junky who couldn’t seem to heal fast enough.
Back then, I only had sparse glimpses of my future life. I had faith that my life would change for the better. I knew that I would eventually find success as a Healer. And, one day, I would settle down and have a family. But I did not see myself sitting on that surfboard on the shores of Oahu. The most powerful glimpse that I received of my future life 15 years ago was an image of my future wife. Her kind Native face and bright smiled stayed with me. I didn’t know that I would meet her on Oahu. What deep inner work did I need to do to get here?
The major difference in my present day self and who I was 15 years ago can be summed up in one word. Surrender. I had this drive to keep growing rapidly because I didn’t know what it would feel like to be whole. While doing that deep inner work in New York, I compulsively looked for the next thing that I had to do to get healed. I wanted my Healer to hurry up and pull all the heavy blocks and burdens out of my body. I wanted to passionately hit a foam cube and scream in my therapist’s office to expedite the release of all my pain. I went to workshop after workshop, searching for another piece to the puzzle, knowing that somehow the effort would pay off in the long run. But 15 years ago, I couldn’t tell you what it would look like when I was finally healed enough to say ‘this life is what I want it to be’. I now know what it is to be whole.
After riding a few more waves, I let the last one take me back to shore. As I swished across the face of the wave, the sky burned magenta. When I stared at that sunset, all I could do was feel that golden sprinkle of gratitude inside. This was how I got to spend my day. When I drove home, I got to kiss the woman I had always dreamed about. When I ate food, I could taste every morsel. I no longer need to pull something out of me and healing was not longer about “getting something” from someone else. There comes a time in the healing process where these in and out movements distract us from being in the hollowness. All those workshops, all those sessions, and all those learning moments with my mentors had surprising left a void. I was taught to fear that void, until I learned to sit in it. This is the step that so many people miss when they are caught up in that dire drive to get healed. When that inner pipe of my being had finally opened up, there was nothing more to do but allow the me-ness to surface into that hollow space. That me-ness attracted the right people and lead me to the right places for new opportunities. I trust that now. I trust that allowing my being to surface through that initial empty space is the true source of joy.