Rise and Shine
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Rise and ShineHow one surfer found his groove.
My 21-year-old son, Sands, has a long-standing habit of being unable to wake up for his morning classes, and on weekends often sleeps until two in the afternoon. I’ve had countless discussions with him about breaking this habit, because he’s continually dealing with tardiness issues in school, rushing around in the morning in a state of anxiety, driving fast because he’s late, and being tired all day because of an insufficient amount of the precious sleep that his body seems to crave. His habit gets in the way of his schoolwork, his happiness, and his health, since he feels fatigued throughout any day in which he has to wake up before noon.
Whenever we discuss breaking this habit, my son’s answers go like this: “I can’t just change and jump up in the morning,” “I’ve always been this way; it’s my nature,” “I don’t have energy in the morning,” “I’m young, and this is the way all my friends live,” “I’ve tried, but it’s never been something I can do,” and “It’s just too difficult.” Sound familiar? Like most of us, my son has allowed his life to be ruled by excuses.
What finally enabled Sands to overcome his problem with waking up in the morning was amazingly simple. He created a rational reason to change. He was able to eliminate his old self-sabotaging thoughts and all the excuses that supported his bad habit.
Sands loves nothing more in this world than to surf in the ocean. He was given a surfboard at the age of four, and he immediately paddled out to where the waves were breaking, jumped up on his board, and surfed all the way to shore. All of us stood there dumbfounded as we watched that little boy ride his first wave like an expert. As for Sands, he was hooked—he’s lived and breathed surfing ever since. It’s like he connected to his purpose the moment he jumped on that board.
My son has an entire library of videos on the subject and regularly checks the surf reports all over the world. He dons a wet suit and goes into the water with one of his many boards, regardless of his location on the planet or any consideration of the temperature of the air or water. He studies waves like an ornithologist studies birds. It truly is his great passion. In fact, he just returned from a 16-day trip throughout the islands of Indonesia, on a boat that specializes in taking surfers to some of the greatest waves available on planet Earth.
Now, for the 16 days that he lived in cramped quarters on a boat with eight other surfers, Sands was able to wake up every morning before dawn. He’d be out in the water all day, well past dusk; stay up at night to talk with the other surfers about the waves they caught that day; sleep soundly until 5 A.M.; and repeat the same routine for more than two consecutive weeks . . . and he never felt tired. The same is true when my son visits me on Maui—if the waves are good, he no longer has a sleeping-in-all-day habit.
For my son, a rational reason to change is the notion that he’s able to live in harmony with his passion.
Let’s see how Sands’story fits the criteria for finding a rational reason to change and eliminating the excuses and habits that hold us back:
1. Sands found a reason to change that makes sense to him. Maybe you or I would perceive riding waves all day in freezing water as absurd, but to my son, this means that he’s able to be in a place where his strongest desires are in rapport with his actions. The waves are there, he is there, and he loves riding on those waves—so it all makes perfect sense.
2. Sands found a reason for changing his old habits that’s positively doable. When he’s near the water and is free to surf, without any real responsibilities, he never says, “I can’t get up,” “It’s too difficult,” “It’s not my nature to rise early,” “I don’t have the energy,” or any of the other excuses he likes to break out when he’s away from the ocean. When his friends call to confirm that they’re going to pick him up at 4:30 A.M., his first response is, “Great!” Regardless of what time he goes to bed the night before, he can be found in the kitchen at the appointed time, fixing a bagel and drinking his juice, excited and ready to go on an early-morning surfing expedition.
3. Sands found a reason to change that makes him feel good. There’s no doubt that being in the water and riding those waves allows Sands to feel good, and I equate this with God. Whenever we’re enthusiastic about something, that means we’re tapping into the God within—feeling good is akin to feeling God. And when we’re doing what we love and experiencing the passion that accompanies such moments, we’re truly being guided by our Source.
I watch my son as he paddles out, as he rides his board, as he tells me his stories of the barrel that he rode, and as he watches his videos—there’s a kind of seeing with a capital S that isn’t with him at any other time. His concentration in studying the waves and knowing exactly when to pounce is like observing a cat concentrate on potential prey . . . pure poetry in motion. It’s his nature, and watching him in these moments allows me to see him in a totally new light. It is the same excitement I feel within myself when I speak before an audience or as I sit here in my sacred space writing these words.
4. For Sands, a rational reason to change a long-held bad habit is that his early-morning journeys to the sea are moments when he’s being called by Spirit to get up and be in harmony with the callings of his soul.
Like Sands, we can all step out of limiting habits when we find rational reasons to support our desire to change: reasons that make sense to us, seem doable, make us feel good, and align with our soul’s purpose.