I am kneeling on my paddleboard in Maui, desperately trying to find my “sweet spot.” This sweet spot, (I am told) will enable me to find my center and become grounded. This is necessary before I attempt to stand up and paddle. Finding my center, while kneeling seems doable, finding my center while standing up on the board seems less doable.
I notice my thoughts and realize what’s happening. I am behaving as though I should know what to do and be able to stand up immediately. What would it be like to let myself experience beginners mind? Maybe I don’t have to know how to do all of this on day l.
Allowing myself to be a beginner has opened up a new perspective on the sport. I observe two things right away. First, I am having fun and secondly; I am ok with trying out new ways to stand up. I am open and receptive to my in the moment experience and not the one I wish I was having.
I take my partners second advice (first was to check the paddle board reviews guide), sit back a bit on the board as I come up from kneeling and stand up! It feels great, but the moment I drift into thinking mind, that’s the moment I fall off. Day 2’s ah ha moment revolves around the awareness that for me, it is 100% necessary to stay in my physical body as I stand up and paddle.
I am placing a bit of pressure on myself today. Now that I have learned the basic technique and stood up, I want to stay up and paddle! My thinking mind is telling me all sorts of things: stand straight, suck in your stomach, use your core; keep your gaze focused on the horizon and don’t fall off the board.
My body is giving me different information. I notice my toes and how they want to and are digging into the board. They are grounding themselves and finding their connection to the surface underneath them. Once that happens the rest of my body responds as though it’s playing connect-the-dots. My body is finding its connection to the board and the ocean underneath the board. I realize that I not only need to find my center in my own body, but in relationship to the ocean. As the ocean is constantly moving, I am wondering how I will find this connection.
I have spent the previous night feeling as though I was still on the water and not solid land. Out on my board, I stand up and stay up. I begin to paddle and stay in my physical body. Sways and subtle shifts of my body keep me on the board and out of the water. All of a sudden I am aware of balance as well as connection. My connection to the water is one of balance. I learn now to continuously read my body and use its cues to maintain balance. I am paddle boarding in Maui.