LIFE LESSONS from my surfing years


LIFE LESSONS from my surfing years.

Life teaches us so many things and in so many ways. I’d like to take this moment and share with you what I’ve learnt from my surfing years. I hope you’ll take a some time to relax and read on…

Years ago I surfed and absolutely loved it. I surfed with my best friend, I surfed with my brothers and later when I left home and moved to the Central Coast, I surfed by myself and at times with a friend from work. I would surf early in the morning or during the day whether it was sunny or rainy and a few times I surfed at dusk.
There were even times my board and I would be washed up on the shore under the feet of fishermen at the break of dawn, to which I cheekily would say ‘just passing through, thought I’d drop in’ and head out for the next wave once again. I shared in so many wonderful experiences and I’d like to present today some of life’s lessons I’ve found, in correlation to surfing.

Abundance: Sitting or lying on my surfboard, I would wait for the ‘perfect wave’. I watched and waited; allowing the smaller ones to pass me by until the wave I felt was right for me appeared.

Abundance = Opportunities in life. We are given countless opportunities in life and there is always another wave/opportunity heading our way. It’s wonderful taking the opportunity that feels right for you.

Effort: There is always a bit of effort involved in catching a wave, sometimes you have to paddle harder and faster and at other times not.

Effort = The amount of time and energy we put into the opportunity that’s been given to us in life. At times we just need to put in more effort than at other times.

Riding the Wave. It’s the best feeling riding a wave, easy when you just lie down and let the wave carry you. It’s such a wonderful sense of freedom and then there’s skill as to what to do with the wave once you are on it. In my day, I began with lying down like I mentioned and then kneeling. Kneeling meant you needed to balance yourself so you didn’t fall off. That too felt wonderful as you began to achieve this goal. Then came standing, from lying down to kneeling, to standing. It certainly was a process whilst keeping the balance! After a while I went from lying down to standing, still positioning my feet correctly to keep my balance. When you can stand up and keep your balance you maneuver the board up and down the wave trying out various styles ie cutbacks etc. It truly is the best feeling!!

Riding the Wave = how you wish to express yourself in life. We try this and that to see what works for us, feeling great when we accomplish each goal along the way. The way we express ourselves is unique and uniquely special and we feel such a sense of freedom as we ‘ride our wave’ enjoying all that the experience offers.

Catching a dumper. There are times the wave just decides to dump/fold over making it un-surfable. It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve caught a wave only to find it’s a dumper. I have a ‘fin swipe scar’ behind my knee as I kicked the board away from me when I went down on this one dumper. I needed 11 stitches and was off work for two weeks.

Catching a dumper = You never know what is coming your way… Sometimes life isn’t going the way you would like it to go or planned for it to go. You can feel ‘cut up’ by what’s happened to you yet those cuts heal when allowed too, and life still goes on. Also sometimes so called ‘accidents’ cause us to stop and take a breather – perhaps these are opportunities for us to see life from a different perspective. Perhaps allow someone else to help us however is necessary before we pick ourselves up and move ahead.

Tripping on a Leg Rope A leg rope is a leash that you tie around your ankle connecting you to your board so that when you come off your board, you don’t have to swim too far to retrieve it. I remember jogging towards the surf one day with my board under my arm and the leg rope attached to my ankle, I thought I looked pretty cool. I then tripped on my leg rope falling down in front of other surfers – it must have been funny to watch as they had a great laugh at my expanse and yes I felt very embarrassed as I made my way into the surf.

Tripping on a Leg Rope = humility. We may appear ‘cool’ or ‘uncool’ in life and many times it’s out of our control! So yer, just pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start all over again!

Using the rip. Catching a rip to get out the back (behind the waves) is like taking an elevator. It’s the best feeling as there is little effort involved. You don’t have waves crashing upon you nor do you need to ‘duck dive’ you just get carried out the back as far as you want to go and then paddle across the rip and position yourself once again for the next ‘perfect’ wave!

Using the rip = allowing yourself to be helped in life. Sometimes it’s a person getting you a job, sometimes it’s a person loaning you money for whatever reason, sometimes it’s someone helping you when where needed most. Using their help quickens the amount of time and uses less effort and it feels wonderful having the help.

Duck Diving – I learnt this later in life and I must admit I wasn’t very good at it. Duck diving is when you push the nose of your board down and with your head down low, you go under the on coming whitewash then come up afterwards. There were times I would be caught in the whitewash and dragged further back towards the shore. Catching a rip was sooo much better!

Duck Diving = maneuvering your way through a challenge with ease and grace. There are times we are able too and other times not. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taking a few steps back in life before moving forward once again. For example we may need to have more experience of a similar challenge, learning more as we master the process of the experience before reaching the outcome! (Yup that was me)

Laughing whilst sitting on the board – This I recommend you do if you ever surf, it really tests your balancing abilities. So many times I’d laugh with my best friend Beate and just lose my balance falling sideways off my board down into the water. (It’s very embarrassing ’cause it’s so uncool)

Laughing whilst sitting on the board = laughter is always great medicine though sometimes it can get you into trouble and no matter how hard you try to stop laughing, there are just some moments you ‘lose it!’

Wipe Out – There are times you catch a wave and coming down the face of the wave you lose your balance and the wave comes crashing down on you. You’re pulled under and at times don’t know ‘up or down.’ You float or swim back up to the surface winded at times too and then regain strength to swim to find your board so to rest on it, recover and head back out again. Perhaps your leg rope is broken and you need to chase your board, yep that’s happened to me and sometimes it’s a long swim in!

Wipe Out = The feeling that everything is going well and all of a sudden something happens. Perhaps it’s a death of a loved one, or an illness, or bad news of some kind and you just lose your momentum and feel as though the world has stopped. You seek to find comfort, support and then do anything readjust your energy, work out which way to go and getting on with life once again as you do find your way.

Dropping in – when you catch a wave and another person catches the same wave at a later moment, to drop in is the ultimate surfing sin so they say. ‘The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has the right of way. This means if you’re paddling for a right, and a surfer on your left is also paddling for it, you must yield to him or her.’ (I took this explanation from surfing if you want to find out more about this rule – I give thanks to the writer of this site for this explanation for I felt it was the best way to explain it) Surfing can be dangerous and rules are all about keeping safe. You live and learn as a young surfer, I dared not make that mistake – my brother Paul drummed into me ‘you just don’t do it!’ and thus I didn’t, I followed the rule.

Dropping in = being respectful, learning to give and take. It might cost you a bit of time or something you like (just like the perfect wave) yet it’s all about getting on peacefully with each other and having good manners, keeping everyone safe.

Sharks – I loved my surfing years, my fear more than anything was what lay underneath. I wish I hadn’t seen the movie ‘Jaws’ as it brought a lot of unwanted fear into surfing. Constantly I would look below my board and search the waters wondering if there were sharks though I never saw a shark, maybe they were there, maybe not, yet it didn’t stop me from going out and having fun and I did!

Sharks = Sharks may appear in many disguises. People don’t fear the shark, it’s the teeth and what they can do to you. Recognizing the ‘root’ of our fear or the ‘cause’ of the fear is important so that we can do something about it. I like the saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ in other words, don’t let fear stop you from achieving in life, from moving forward. (I’m still practicing this!) I believe the statistics are so very low of being bitten by a shark compared to driving on a road, etc… so ‘let fear be gone and love be in it’s place!’ In other words, lose the fear and allow all things good and positive to be in it’s place, to be your experience!

Removing The Wettie. I had a springsuit which is a short sleeved and long legged wetsuit. It was a hand-me-down from someone, I’ve forgotten who yet one of the legs of the springsuit had kind of torn off and it looked like a shark had taken the leg!! Now removing the wetsuit was interesting, you had to release the zipper that lay down the back and when you did all the warm water that the wetsuit trapped released as you pulled it off.

Removing the Wettie = letting go of what’s no longer appropriate for our journey. Sometimes it’s hard to let things go and water to me is symbolic of emotions, so like the wettie, there are times we need to cry as we let go of what meant a lot to us in life. This is part of the healing process (ie the warm water, kept us warm and comfortable) So like removing the wettie, as we let go of what we’ve been holding onto, we make room for the new and move forward, eager to embrace whatever life presents just for us.

Life teaches us so many lessons. I find it’s to do with losing the fear based thoughts and feelings we hold too and having a go. Challenges makes us stronger, confident in ourselves and strengthen our abilities and we are always able to make a heap of fun along the way, or at least I hope so! There weren’t many women surfers back in the 70’s and it’s great to see this change.

I have four beautiful children and I used my surfing memories to help me with each of their births. I would visualize paddling out and then riding the waves with each ‘wave’ of contraction. Each birth was spent long in labour so I had a great appreciation for all the times I surfed and for those who encouraged me, taught me how to surf and joined me in my surfing adventures. Surfing also helped me write this correlation for you. I guess it goes to show we just don’t know what an experience shall lead too!

What I’ve offered is from my own experience and understandings. I hope my experiences and their correlations offer you a bit of inspiration upon your life’s journey, there’s always more to life than we see; we tend to only scratch the surface.

If you’ve not tried surfing then I encourage you to go out and give it a go. I am sure you too will find there’s a heap of wonderful experiences and new friends just waiting for you! This applies to whatever is put before you, it may not be surfing it may be something as simple as going down the road for a walk or taking on a new project. 

Life is meant to be lived and valued and it’s up to us to go out and make the most of it, making many, many memories!


Self Love

A friend of mine just posted this on her Facebook time line, I’d written it over 3 years ago. I’m posting this now as it’s a good reminder each and every day:


I’m deserving of so much love. I’m the child within. 
As I offer love to all my ‘ills’ I am offering peace and harmony, healing and well being. 
Life is really all about love and as I offer love to myself, I offer loving intent to the energy of all life.
And to go one step further, ‘as I’m compassionate to me, I’ll be compassionate to you’ it all starts with:
‘I am…’

Why not offer ourselves love and healing!! It’s very healthy!
Lisa :)



If we look at life through the lens of love, we have a greater understanding of why things happen the way they do. We may never fully understand the reason why, yet we are able to take note of what we are able to absorb in a way that is comforting, a way that helps us move forward in life. I’d like to offer you an insight from my own perspective and I hope you may take away that which is healing and comforting to your heart for whatever you are going through right now.

Let’s take a good look at the word ‘awful’. We have all said this powerful word at one stage or another. Why is this word so powerful you may ask? The power lies within the word itself ‘awe’ – ‘full’ meaning there is greatness in whatever has occurred and even though we may not be privy to just how, it is there. Everything in life offers layers, layers of understandings, layers of love. For example, you may be learning of the value of forgiveness when confronted with a situation that encourages you to forgive. Without forgiving that which hurt, you cannot move forward, you are always going to carry this hurt until you let it go. Releasing is a part of forgiving, it is not releasing the person though you may believe it is so, it truly is releasing the ‘pain’ of the scenario, and the person was the ‘one working with you’ to bring this pain to the surface, to let it go. It’s as if a snake has bitten you, it’s not the snake that kills you, it’s the venom that is injected that runs through your veins to the heart.

As we deal with the emotional and mental pain, we deal with the level of the issue and we heal the cause of the wound. How do you deal with it you may ask?

Reflect upon what happened and ask yourself, what am I learning from this situation about myself? Why does it hurt so much? What is it that really hit the nerve? What was said or done that causes me to feel this way? The person or perpetrator was an instrument of the universe to offer you this opportunity to release that which you have brought to the surface to be released. Perhaps it is pride? Perhaps it is anger? Perhaps it is lack of self worth? Perhaps it is your desire to control? Perhaps it is you feeling a victim and then the situation mirrors your thoughts and feelings, making you a ‘victim’.

A scenario becomes more ‘potent’ when the person who challenges us is someone who is close to our heart. We’ve built so many years of trust and happy times only to discover they’ve hurt us in a way that’s unforgivable, in a way that’s totally unacceptable. Are you aware of the saying ‘What we resist, persists?’ No one can ‘make’ us feel or do anything unless we give them permission to do so and resisting the pain/blame is deflecting that which we own, not them, us. We own our power, we are solely in charge of our responses in life or to put it another way, how we ‘choose’ to respond in life. We are the ones who ‘feel’ what we feel and ‘do’ what we do. Just as we feel, so to do all those who surround us ‘feel’ every day. People see their lives in so many ways, when they’re unpleasant, they’re feeling that way. Let’s remember, we are all each others teachers and students in life and we all seek to understand and to be understood and that includes the perpetrator of the act.

Looking at what value presents itself within a given experience is looking at the ‘heart’ of the experience. To see from the prospective of a loving way of being or perhaps to say to see it from an ‘enlightened’ way of being, is to bring ‘light to darkness’ to dissipate the darkness of the scenario with the ‘light’ that you truly are. In other words, to let go, is to let go of the heaviness, the dark feelings and thoughts we still carry with us, and once we do, we rise above, we become lighter and brighter and that is what life is truly all about. To let go of past hurts and negativity is to naturally be lighter and brighter. As we do become lighter our energy expands and we feel more energetic, able to move through the day, the week, the month, year peaceful and then happy. This is the ‘positive’ within the negative for us.

Perhaps we may need to do a few releases, releasing each layer, to truly feel that we have let that issue/pattern go and perhaps this may be with the help of a professional, perhaps it’s continual releasing through writing down our angst, then tearing it up and throwing it in the bin where it belongs. Perhaps it is seeking help from those you trust to offer you positive and practical advice. The choice is yours as to what feels right for you. Perhaps it’s through ‘EFT’ Emotional Freedom Technique (you may find this on you tube) perhaps it is reaffirming your true worth by looking in the mirror and saying as you look into your eyes, various positive affirmations such as “I acknowledge I feel pain… and now let this feeling go. I’ve felt it enough and I choose now to feel peace… ” I’ve done this so many times and it is usually the next day that the heaviness has lifted and healing has taken its place and I’ve moved forward lighter and brighter.

I’ve mentioned the singular of the scenario – what was done to you, how about what was done to your country, to others? The positive within the negative – the heart of the matter, may call forth a heartfelt response at the time from you and those around, for we are all connected and we all feel. If there is a disaster – war, tornadoes, tsunami, hurricane, fires, earthquake, etc you will find the compassion offered from those who go immediately to help out, those countries that also respond in providing food, clothing, accommodation and folks who are trained to cope with disasters, compassion you too feel in your own heart just by watching it, reading or hearing about it in the media. Compassion is ‘a gift of love’ that resides within us all and once again, a valued ‘light’ that dispels darkness. Light comes in many ways as was mentioned, the offer of help, the offer of kindness from prayers, the offer of comfort given to those upset even when talking about it or watching it from afar. There are so many ways compassion comes into being and this gift helps people to heal and move forward.

To close, I would like to encourage you to think of life situation right now that you are involved in. See it like a pebble being thrown into a pond. The ripple the pebble emits are the values that come about from this given situation. The pebble is the situation and the ripples are the waves of how each person is challenged to respond. Contemplate on how those you know who are involved are experiencing this ripple affect – even you. Ask yourself what values would each person be offering or called to offer to this situation? What values am I offering or am I called to offer? What fears/negativity do I feel about this situation and how can I rise above and come from a higher perspective? Everyone comes from their own perspective in life and their challenge may differ yet all challenges lead to love and it is within the challenge that we truly get to know the depth of who we are and what we are capable of. We cannot control everything and everyone, yet we can control our response as to what is happening.

How will you respond today? Will you look beyond the obvious to see the levels of understandings, the levels of love? Will you see the positive within the negative? Will you value yourself and all that life ‘presents’?

Lisa :)




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Open your heart and mind
Open… to sharing the love that you are
Open… to receiving the love that is offered, just for you.

As we open we allow, and as we allow we receive. 

Are you truly allowing others to share their love with you? 
Are you truly allowing help to come your way? 
By allowing others to help us, to care for us, to share with us, we are allowing them to be kind, thoughtful, caring and considerate. This is a gift unto itself, wouldn’t you agree? We learn of love through shared experiences and if we give, give, give without receiving then we are out of balance and, we are not allowing others to share the love that they are, with us.

Are you being thoughtful, kind, caring and considerate? 
Are you being forgiving? 
Are you being true to yourself, humble in that knowing you can be right and wrong? 
Are you courageous? 
Do you love yourself unconditionally? Are you offering love unconditionally?

Love uplifts and comes in many ways, it flows in abundance and never ends. We just need to turn the ‘tap’ on and allow the flow of love to work through us, for us and with us.

Lisa Brockwell

P.S. Please check out my site Lighthouse Centre For Learning. You just may find the resource you’ve been looking for.