January 29, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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DAY 22 – Tips For Surfing. And For Grief.


 

There is no one right way to ride a wave.
– Jamie O’Brien

Lately, I’ve been going to the ocean to practice surfing. I don’t want to say ‘to surf” because that makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. What I’m actually doing is re-learning. (I used to surf 20 years ago. It’s been a long time.)
Last week, a couple women who’d been surfing at the same time as me said hello. They were very friendly and encouraging. One of them asked me why I’d taken up surfing again, and I answered with one word.

Grief.


Here’s the thing, a lot of my friends who have never seen me in the water have told me that they want me to teach them to surf. The request suggests a vast overestimation of my skill level.

However, while I may not be able to help anyone with technique, I can provide some surfing tips.
These tips work well for grief, too:

When you are in the parking lot, do not take a spot if someone else is waiting. Do not take someone else’s spot. Do not.

When you are in the parking lot, do not stare at people who are getting in and out of their wetsuit. Do not stare. Do not.

Be careful when you are wielding a surfboard. Especially in the wind or in rough water. And be slow and thoughtful if you are holding it and you are going to turn in any direction.

Never enter the water without checking to make sure you aren’t in someone else’s pathway.

Never ride your surfboard into the path of others.

When paddling out, remember that waves come in sets, never assume the first wave is the worst one.

If you get knocked over or tumbled in a wave, hold onto your surfboard.

If you lose contact with your board underwater, curl up and protect your face and body. And then get your board back as soon as you can.

Get out of the water if you are really tired.
Get out of the water if you are scared.
Get out of the water if you are hurt.

Treat your board with the reverence it deserves. Rinse it off when you are done. Do not kick it, throw it down, or push it around. And whatever you do, don’t drag it.

Treat your wetsuit with the reverence it deserves. Rinse off the sand and salt water after every use. Lay it out in the sun to dry, if you can.

Treat the ocean with the reverence it deserves. Standing on water is more than just a hobby. Its’ a miracle. It’s offered to you only because the ocean is allowing you to be there.

Treat your body with the reverence it deserves. Salt water can be harsh. Fresh water can be salvation. Rinse yourself off.

And always, ask for help if you need it.

And don’t give up.

Never give up.


Translated as Grief Tips:


Do not judge someone else’s or your own grieving process. Provide space and privacy if needed.
Don’t let anyone else tell you how long you should be grieving or when you should stop. The timing will be determined the grief itself, not by other people looking in.
When you are grieving, be careful not to wield your grief like a weapon. Needing extra support, having a wide range of feelings, including anger, are all normal. Using the grief as an excuse to take the anger out on someone else is not ok.
Know your boundaries. Assert your boundaries. Pay attention to the boundaries of others. If someone tells you that they can’t handle something or that they can’t hear something, or that the information is upsetting them, listen.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to be finished with grieving or to never grieve the same loss again.
If your grief knocks you to your knees, you haven’t done anything wrong. Your job is to figure out how to safely stand up again.
If you find yourself swallowed up by grief, surround yourself with support. If you are tired, let yourself grieve. If you are scared, let yourself grieve.
If you are hurt, let yourself grieve.
Treat yourself (and your loss) with the reverence it deserves. You are important. The person you lost is important. You deserve gentleness and care.

And always, ask for help if you need it.

And don’t give up.

Never give up.




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