I was paddling with all my strength. I had pushed myself to the end of the rolling red cliffs and although my wind navigation was not that of a fine sailor, I could feel from the current that if I didn’t turn my board soon my next stop may be South Africa. The foamy white ripples were slapping as the water got deeper. I was paddling in rocky waters.
I knew I shouldn’t panic but I didn’t have the energy to keep paddling, so I made the counter intuitive decision to stop. I lowered myself to a kneeling position.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh.
The slapping ripples subsided as the wind, blissfully, eased. Stopping had given my body the chance to recover, so I turned the board toward shore. As the stunning shoreline grew into frame, I lay on my back, and was soon joyfully gliding through the gentle waves on a large sandbar. I could no longer see what was in front of me or behind me. I simply looked up, and enjoyed what I saw, heard and felt in that moment. Beneath me was the sound of rushing water and above was a brilliant blue sky occasionally marked by soaring seabirds. The cold splashing no longer stung but felt refreshing and invigorating.
My experience of stopping on my SUP to take in my surroundings and reassess my situation was a polaroid of the deep conviction I had that this trip needed be a season of stopping for Dave, the girls and me.
I have never been very good at stopping, or even particularly enjoyed it. Dave often teases me for my usual habit, three days into a holiday, of beginning ‘to do’ lists for our return.
Being able to really stop on this trip has enabled space in my day to deeply engage in each precious moment. Not being in a rush to get from place to place has allowed my soul to connect with simplicity and value many things I had become far too busy to notice. If I am honest, I have had to intentionally let go and allow myself to spend time enjoying a stunning sunset; to sit and deeply engage with the sweet sound of my baby’s newly found laughter; or listen to my new next door neighbours’ life story. While I initially felt guilty that none of these things were contributing to the destination I thought our life needed to head in, I am so grateful that having the opportunity to stop has awakened my soul to embrace the journey.