How the water cured my blues- aka why i love teaching SUP

I have to admit that up until recently I wasn’t doing so hot. Big changes were happening and the recent loss of a dear friend had me feeling pretty low. I was feeling the pull of some real despair and I couldn’t seem to “get over it.” The old me would have stayed in bed for a week, eat junk food and binge watch “The Office” reruns until I was forced to shower by a concerned friend.

Instead I went outside in hopes that I would get some answers and perspective (and honestly more gelato was the end goal). What I got instead was the comfort I so desperately needed.

Without knowing why I wandered down to the water and took my board out for a leisurely paddle, which ended up with me anchored in a sunny cove. As I sat on my paddleboard in the water, I surrendered. I was overwhelmed and tired and sad.

I cried with my toes in the cold lake until I felt empty.

Then a funny thing happened. The sun came out, the water felt warmer and I felt comforted. Not great by any huge measure. 10% happier and I’m the type of gal that knows 10% is better than 0. The water, the sun, my board. All of it held me emotionally and quite literally. “If only everyone could have this.” I thought.

The Harvard Biologist, Edward O. Wilson coined the term “biophilia” to describe his theory that humans genetically have an instinctive bond with nature and organisms we share our world with. His theory hypothesizes that because we’ve evolved in nature (not the concrete city scapes we call home now), we have an innate connection with natural settings. Our DNA feels like it’s going home when it’s there.

No wonder I felt like I was getting a big hug from my Mother when I was outside.

I believe that we’re sitting on the precipice of an emotional revolution, or perhaps it’s just an evolution. Whatever it may be, it feels like we’re getting closer to understanding what makes us happy and the fact that we need nature to get there. She’s a heck of a comfort blanket.

See, here’s the thing. As a teacher I can tell you all about the health benefits of paddle-boarding.I can tell you how many calories you’ll lose, how the sport is growing,how it gives you confidence, how the water is fun to be on, and all of those things are true.

However the real reason I tell you to get on the water is because in my deepest times of sorrow and confusion it’s where I go to remember my gratitude. It’s where I go to clear my head and wash away the questions. It’s where I go home to, and where I feel supported in my surrender. I urge you to come to the water, because I can feel it healing me and if you need healing, maybe it can help you too. Sometimes it looks like hitting the water on my board and other times it’s just me sitting on the beach watching a sunset, but always it comforts me and helps me get through the waves of life. Enough that I can breathe again, enough that my sense of hope is renewed and I can take the next step, and the step after that.

So now when that little punitive voice in my head says “get over it” – I hop on my board and get over the next wave because I know it’ll will support me in all that I have to feel. I wonder if it could do the same for you?

You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. -Alan Watts

written By Lauren Schell, a SUPGirlz instructor

Join her on the water this summer!