“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
In this morning’s Globe newspaper, some photos of veterans surfing and the caption “Veterans Ride the Waves” caught my eye. In one photo, veteran Alex Moniz is surfing, smiling and making the “hang loose” sign with his right hand while a smiling volunteer runs alongside. What a joyful picture! They were part of an event called Waves for the Brave, run by a non-profit called Ampsurf for wounded veterans.
There is a lot going on in the world that is upsetting- including developments in Afghanistan that are impacting many veterans emotionally. Talk about “riding the waves”. All of us are confronted with news of crises for the world… for other nations like Afghanistan and Haiti… for our Commonwealth. Some of us have some pretty big waves crashing down on us in our own lives- or the lives of people we know.
In the face of uncertainty, anxiety, waves of grief or existential dread, it helps to ground oneself- in community, in love, in the present moment, in one’s values… in the interdependent web/the earth, in beauty, in the spirit of life/the divine. It helps to remember joy, like those veterans surfing the waves. It is a project, but we can try to figure out how “to learn to surf”- as the Buddhist Jon Kabat-Zinn would say. I hope that North Parish is a support for- and source of- that learning for us all.
Meanwhile, our best laid plans for our community continue to shift and respond to prevailing winds. There is no eNews next week as the office will be closed, but the week after that (on September 2nd!) we’ll share information about how we’ll begin the year at North Parish.
Lao Tzu basically said it in the Tao Te Ching, but I’m not at all sure that Jesus or the Buddha or Teresa of Avila ever said “Go with the flow” or “Hang loose”- at least not in those exact words. Sometimes life teaches us things that the holy people never quite thought to say.
Yours- hanging loose on solid ground,