“I spent last week in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica on a women’s surf retreat with NUSHU, a wellness collective I facilitate sharing circles for. I joined the retreat in a personal and professional capacity, and I left inspired beyond measure. 14 women, hours of surfing each day, nourishing food and connective time spent reflecting on what surfing can teach us about life. The answer? Just about everything.
My surf coach was a 5’8 tanned Italian man named Davide who had come to Santa Teresa on a lark and hasn’t left. He is a deeply soulful man whose surf metaphors resonated to my core. My favorite? ‘Connect to the feeling to create the movement’.
In the midst of our first day I was gripping my surf board, terrified of falling and thinking I could think my way out of every situation. Not so I quickly learned. The power of the ocean and the precarity of balancing on a board meant there was only one solution. Close my eyes, drop into the moment, drop the expectations I had of myself to perform on the first try and breathe into each small step in the pop-up process to create fluidity to my movement.
I’ve shared before the idea that wellness is a feelings game rather than an intellectual exercise, as I was reminded of while I surfed, progressively getting more capable each day and each day letting go my overthinking in service to awe.
Surrender in surfing is the pathway to progression. So, too, in our wellness. Surrendering to all the feelings we have — about the way foods make us feel, about the complicated relationships that trigger us to numb out with unsupportive habits, about the external expectations we internalize about what we should look like or be like. The more we connect to the feeling in surfing and in wellness, the more we create the forward momentum in a direction that supports our fullest expression.
By the end of the week, I witnessed myself and the 14 other women on the retreat popping up with grace, compassion and a well of self-love that had each of us riding waves to the shore feeling lighter, stronger, more grounded and healthier than we’ve felt before.