I don't surf, and I don't think I ever will. Actually, I must confess I don't even put my head under water -- I never learned. I swim like a little duck, head up, feet under, and enjoy the friendly Aegean much more than the overwhelming ocean. But I do enjoy watching others surf immensely and thank God that it is not me out there holding on for dear life. However, I often compare my life to surfing. I love those high waves when I see the surfers ride them and glide across the ocean. In my life, I call those waves my waves of happiness.
My waves of happiness are a return to myself. They are an inner connection that happens when I am riding the essence of myself -- pure and clear. It feels like I am in the sound of my spirit. There is no interference. There is more of me than the world. When my wave happens, I am suddenly above the world like a surfer above the ocean, and no matter what I am doing, I am riding the wave completely -- no part left behind.
Recently, I have been observing when these waves come for me, what makes them occur in my life, how to stay on them as long as I can, as well as what knocks me off my wave and pulls me under. Where is this personal wave of happiness? How can we find it? How do we stay on it as long as possible? And what brings us there?
Is it peaceful meditation, soothing yoga, a nice walk, a good jog, moving poetry, or writing down what you are feeling? Is it spending time with your friends or being of service to someone else? Is it watching an uplifting movie or television show? Is it doing daily affirmations, getting chores done, redecorating your home, or having a friendly game of table tennis? Or is it cooking your favorite meal, harmoniously singing, or walking through all of the splendor that is nature? Or the wave suddenly appears as you let go of some long preoccupation and move into trusting that it all will work out. What actions bring you out of your worldly self and onto your inner wave? Whatever brings you there, you must do it and then be careful to pay attention to what pulls you under.
My dear friend Joan Witkowski teaches breathing coordination in New York. She gets her students to relax the diaphragm, loosen their jaws, relax their ribcage and sternum, ultimately helping them reconnect with their natural way of breathing, like when we were babies. She takes her students back to the time before they began manipulating and holding their breath. And then she gently helps them count with sustainable sounds. It is amazing how an AHHHHH or an OOOOOHHHHH that is naturally intoned on the exhale and not forced can get me back to myself.
Sound and breathing naturally have always provided a quick return to myself. That is one of the reasons I love speaking so much. When I speak to groups, I am in myself and freely ride my wave. I become present in the center of my energy. The wave allows me to speak from a connected place, sharing my knowledge and expressing what I need to communicate. It is then that I manage to get out of my own way and I am able to return to my Self. Ah! There is the key -- to get out of your own way and to let yourself be.
I often experience my wave after the deep relaxation of a yoga class in Savasana. I come back to myself, and I feel elated. Another time is when I read aloud the mystic poetry of Rumi, Kabir, and the sonnets of Shakespeare, or when I listen to the work of Mozart and the Bobby McFerrin classic "Don't Worry Be Happy." These small things always return me to my Self. Especially when I read Kabir's poem that goes like this:
"Are you looking for me? I'm in the next seat. My shoulder is against yours... When you look for me, you will see me instantly. You will find me in the tiniest house of time. Children, tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath."
Whatever your thing is, find it.
Now, what pulls us under? Is it inner or outer pressure? The world is filled with things that don't vibrate with ourselves, the exhausting amount of worldly consumption that we take in every day -- news, emails, Facebook, deadlines, events, pushing our projects forward, promoting our work, things not going our way, and things going our way -- pressuring us to do even MORE. Our inner judgments, our critical internal voices, our comparisons to others, our desire to fix ourselves, our concerns with the opinions of others and "looking good" in their eyes, and fitting in all cause irritations, and disturbances are the riptides of life; they pull us all the way to the bottom, making it so hard to ride our wave of happiness.
Everything that surrounds us has the potential to take us away from our Self and off of our wave of happiness. The world does not nurture our wave of happiness or support the unique way each one of us gets there. The grand illusion is that the more we do, and the more we engage in the world, the more we'll accomplish, achieve, and the happier we will become. This thought, that these things can bring us to our desired point of self, is not so. The world is our school. It is our playground, and it is where we can work out our patterns and see ourselves for who we truly are. When we focus on these ideas, we are able to get closer to our waves.
When surfing, you often wait for the wave to come, and then you ride it. In our lives, the wonderful thing is that we can make that wave happen by engaging in what brings that about for us, making a habit of it by practicing riding our wave more often. If we approach life in that way we will not give our authority over to the world. The doorway to our self is personal, it is intimate, and it takes a commitment to accessing the joy that is our life stream that is available to us 24/7.
It is up to each one of us to see what brings us our waves of happiness and then listening and doing that, so that when you go out into the world it is easier. When our focus shifts the struggle diminishes, because we are now the cause of our life, rather than being an effect of the world.
I wrote a book called Unbinding the Heart. When I wrote it, I had this intention to speak from that inner wave, to share the experiences in my life that got me there, and the angst I had experienced when I didn't know how I would ever get there. I made sure to be very transparent as I was writing it. I poured out my heart and soul, and it was so fulfilling for me, and it was a great additional gift when it resonated with others.
As I started promoting the book I had to make sure that I stayed on my wave of energy I was riding when I wrote it. It was a bigger challenge because I am much more engaged in the world, with all that goes in the spectrum of bringing a book to life.
While we may ride our waves separately, ultimately our waves are from the same ocean, so we are in it together -- connected in the deep. So there is always recognition that we are never alone.
It is this kind of relationship with the Self -- which is so exquisitely personal and is ultimately so fulfilling -- that helps us realize that the wave is available to all of us, all the time. No one is denied when they make the commitment to know that place inside that gets us to our personal wave.
I guarantee if you go into the world wanting, you will end up swimming in the bottom. If you go into the world with a consciousness of offering, you will be riding your wave of happiness. Others will benefit greatly, and you'll be the witness of all sort of miracles happening in your life.
Your wave is waiting for you to ride it. You deserve it, and you are worth it.
Share with me and our readers what makes you ride your wave of happiness and what knocks you down and pulls you under. I would love to hear from you!
For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.
For more on happiness, click here.