Are You Surfing?

Yesterday I took a quick read through a new book called Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul, and, of Course, Surfing, by Laird Hamilton. Hamilton is a big-wave surfer, possibly the best ever. It’s in some ways a fitness book, but he talks more about paying attention to yourself than any other fitness book I’ve seen. He begins with a section on “Mind”, and the chapter titles are things like: “Risk and Its Rewards,” Dealing with Fear and Negativity,” “Cultivating Instincts,” and “The Joy of Being a Beginner.”

Given the up and down realities of congregational life at all times, and the wild ride our nation has been on economically, perhaps imagining ourselves as surfers can be useful. How do you keep your balance? As Hamilton points out, it requires a lot, in terms of mind, body and spirit. Hard work, managing your thoughts, taking care of your body, are all important for leadership as well as for sport.

I will never engage in his suggested two-hour workout, although I might try a modified version of his routine. And of course, this is not a deep book. But I found it a fun read in the middle of winter (lots of beautiful pictures of Hawaii and other places with big waves), and it might help you take the ups and downs of your leadership less seriously — usually a good thing. Check it out at your library. And click here to watch a brief (23-second) video of Laird Hamilton doing what he does best, surfing a big wave.

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