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What to do when life throws the tallest waves at you?

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Waves are to the swimmer what life challenges are for all of us
The grander the waves the more we need to align and flow with them

Whether we feel life throws the tallest, biggest waves at us or whether we ourselves end up facing them in search for love, connection, abundance, acceptance- the tallest waves are there and we all need to face them at different points in our lives.

As a part of my own process of designing my value-aligned and conscious life, I travel to the ocean and work from there throughout the year.

Back in March, right around the time of the Spring Equinox I was by the ocean in Portugal. It was 20 degrees Celsius yet felt 25. Perfect for March! I dared to (and succeeded) in swimming in the 14-degree water everyday without a wetsuit. Nothing renews and replenishes me like the cold ocean waters. It felt so good!

But towards the end of my week there, it gradually became a bit uncomfortable to swim. The waves were getting taller each day and I was becoming hesitant. I wanted to jump in despite the scary waves. Being based in London, I could not miss the chance of swimming in March.

Two days before my final day, I went to the beach. The waves were double my height now. Torn between diving in and remaining on the shore, I decided to wait and get back to the beach later.

On my return, a couple of hours later, I saw that nothing had changed. I decided to get in. My instinct said I should relax and when swimming through and above the waves allow them to pick me rather than swimming against them as if the waters were flat.

And what did I do?

I got scared. I resisted. I couldn’t let go. I thought it was best to be strong and in charge (funny right? In charge of Mother Nature?) and swim against the waves and I should be fine. I knew perfectly that this was against the laws of physics. But I still went against them anyway.

The result: I had a good beating. The water was literally in my eyes, ears and slapping me on the face while I felt like a losing wrestler. It was so scary I could not rush back quick enough to get out.

Once I was back on the sand and was desperately drying myself I could not believe how stupid I had been. I took a risk (and it was calculated) because I really wanted to experience something I loved. But I could not flow with the risk and allow the process to guide me, to carry me, to support me… Instead I was fighting with it.

I did not go in the water the next day, but pondered about my lesson from my experience for the next couple of days. Why could I not allow the waves to take over?

A couple of weeks later in April, I was back working from Portugal again and could not wait to get to the beach.

This time the waves were tall throughout the week and they once again grew even taller as days went by.

I was going to swim. And I had learnt my lesson. Two things I needed were: Connecting with my courage. And trusting a force far more expanded and powerful than me, to be my guide.

Because that force can be scary and yet the most loving, soul-repairing and nourishing source. But to experience the benefits I had to take up the challenge.

So I did go in the water. It genuinely was super scary and I hesitated a number of times. But once I let go of the fear and swam with the waves, letting them take over instead of pushing against them, it was all fine. And beautiful. I was in flow and the experience was far easier to enjoy and navigate.

people at the beach

Don’t get me wrong. I still do prefer swimming in calmer waters so I can relax.

But there is something really special about allowing, letting go, trusting deeply and just BEING.

Most of us are not trained to behave in these ways. Instead we are thought to be in control all the time and fight back. But what is the impact of that on our mental, emotional and physical health? What is the impact of that on our results?

Here is what needs to be done when faced with life’s tall waves:

By all means have a thoughtful plan and come up with a strategy, but: Stop focusing on the fear, instead focus on the benefits, the journey, the learning…

Trust, let go, align, allow the guidance to direct, carry and support you.

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