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Anybody else feel the challenges of 2021 already? It’s here with full force and the energies following it are no different. As we all acclimate, re-ground, re-center, and re-energize, it’s going to be more important than ever to bring intentional mindfulness into this new year. Intentional mindfulness is all about, you guessed it, intention and being mindful!
We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.
Here are a few tips to bring in intentional mindfulness into your daily life:
Breathing is the life force. It regulates our anxiety, stress, depression, sleep, happiness, mood, and everything else that you can legitimately think of. As we lean into more intentional mindfulness in 2021, the first thing we need to be intentional and mindful about is ourselves. Tapping into a breathwork practice that allows you to notice how you are feeling in the now, in the present, will change the way your body, mind, and energy processes and reacts to whatever is happening around us. I’ve shared a few easy methods here and you can experience guided breathwork here.
Dear diary. No, I’m just kidding. But also, this.
There are different ways to journal, of course. Writing out your day-to-day, what happened, what you experienced, and giving the play by play in writing is one way to go about it. But bringing intentionality into your writing practice or your journaling practice is about being very specific about what it is that you are writing about at this time.
Are you manifesting? Are you problem-solving? Are you venting? Are you brain dumping? Are you expressing? Whatever it is that you’re doing, bringing an intention into your journaling practice can change this into an intentional mindful experience.
Try giving yourself a prompt or a topic before you start. This is going to help you deep dive into one specific topic, the thought, or the idea that you are working with. Other things may come from this topic, but you’ll be able to peel off the layers in a deeper way by sticking to the intention of what you are writing about.
Another big lesson for 2021 is a lesson in observing. It literally doesn’t matter what you want to observe. It could be a sound, a color, a person, a feeling, an emotion, a thought—anything. Whatever it is, take deep breaths and explore this particular thing. What is it? What are the textures and sensations? What is the shape? Notice the subtle differences. Observe your relationship with observing. Do you feel calm? How’s your breath? Do you feel impatient? Do you want to move on? What thoughts float through?
Nothing to do. Just notice.
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.
Don't live by the water, but still want to train for your next surf trip? Consider these classes.
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