My son Vincent had always been an insightful, cognizant human from the time he was born. As he got old enough to eat, he wasn’t picky, he would try anything, but he only ate what his body wanted at the time. He was a vegetarian until he really started going through growth spurts and then he ate proteins like a mad man, never the same thing day after day, a variety that fed what his body wanted. In between growth spurts, he returned to cravings of plant based meals.
He had a large vocabulary by age one, and he used words that would seem to mature for him. He saw everything and developed perspectives that varied for the situation. His speech shocked people. He spoke as if a seer. People have always been drawn to Vinny. They love listening to him talk and express ideas that seem well beyond his years.
One particular story we still tell all the time comes from when he was about 4 -7 years of age. We traveled to the ocean often, it was our preferred heart home travel. Vinny couldn’t get enough of the water, the ocean, it never wore him out. He was stung by a jelly fish, and wanted to hurry and pee on it, because even at that age he had researched any situation he could ever find himself in. The jelly fish was dead, he pulled it from the water and studied it, he was sad it was dead and he couldn’t return it to the sea.
This same trip, in Carlsbad, Ca, he was learning to surf, he had made friends with some older long time surfers and like most people they were drawn to Vinny. Hours in the powerful waves, working so hard to rise and ride the waves. As with most things in his life, he approached the challenge as if it was not a challenge. Tumbling in the surf, rising up and heading back out trying again. No fear, just focused calm and excitement. At one point the morning surf was stronger than usual, he really took a hard hit and tumbled in the surf and seemed to easily rise up to the top, steady himself and he looked at his dad and said, “Wow, that wave was helpful”. We giggled and although we knew of his insightful views of things, we felt like it was possibly confusion of the meaning of the word ‘helpful’. Cute little Vinny. As time passed, anytime when something in life seemed to wipe us out like those waves that day, we exclaim “Well that was helpful!” Then we giggle.
Studying Anusara yoga has taken me exactly where I need to be. Its apart of my dharma. Training in teaching but also expanding my studentship in yoga and in life. In class today, Kim spoke of life like the ocean….the challenges and obstacles that we come across are the undertow and current and the powerful surf they produce. It’s the struggles in life that build us up and create wisdom and strength. Without them we cannot progress.
What can we do to not repeat the drowning and gasping for air? What is it we can achieve through rising up and relaxing into the idea of getting through? In the surf, when we are struggling and fighting to keep our head above water, can we become cognizant of the exhaustion and pressure? And then can we release our desire to control the surf and find a way to work with it and through it that is uplifting? Can you notice that as you accept that your physical power is not greater than the surfs, and you accept the ‘helpfulness’ of the waves, that you can find calm beneath or the lift above as the current continues to control the waters fury? Find the calm in the chaos? Can you be cognizant of the help and growth that comes from being a student of this challenge? Can you expand your perspectives and see beyond the space you are feeling trapped in and use the helpfulness of the waves to learn and move forward towards the calm? Can you embrace the idea of living in this modern world and the challenges it produces and use the helpful learning and deep understanding to let go? Let go of the desire to control and accept the helpfulness that these challenges and pounding surf are really trying to achieve on your path. See beyond your space and embrace the idea of expansion that is to come when you look at your struggles as helpful. Helpful in growth, understanding and progression.
So all these years later, I am finally learning another one of the many lessons my lovely little man has taught me: those are some f****ing helpful waves and I am calm, looking forward to the strength and humility they will bring me!
I wish you love and understanding as you feel and experience your undertow and currents in life. May they forever be helpful.