My favorite topics to write about are themed around reminders to be alive, to play, to travel, to share your stories … and most importantly to connect to yourself, the people and the world around you.
With that being said, what better way to start this week than to connect to a very cool human being, who is totally alive, thriving, playing, and sharing his truthful stories along the way.
I had the pleasure of having a 45-minute discussion with Bear Woznick, author of the newly released Deep in the Wave: A Surfing Guide to the Soul on Monday. He is also part of a TV project on Fuel TV called Clean Break. “The best views in life are from the edge. We need to get ourselves in a place that we are living on the edge.” This project does that for the men on the show. It illustrates how if we just escape our daily routine for a while, living is the only option (a little plug: the season finale is on tonight Fuel at 8pm).
Bear is a very spiritual man. He talked about his own journey, and how taking himself to the edge physically, to what he called the end of himself, has been an amazing catalyst for him to get to his truth. He explained that your edge can be reached through endurance, courageous acts, suffering, loneliness, meditation, and when you get there, you literally get a glimpse at the bottom of your soul. You see a place in yourself you didn’t know existed (all the good and all the bad). That everyone should push themselves there, as it allows for detachment from everything. He talked about how truth is truth (in ourselves, in others, in the world, in our spirituality). Yes, we all have vehicles to get there, but in the end, we will all get to the same place.
Although Bear has many ways to face his edge (see below)*, surfing has had one of the biggest impacts on his journey.
During our conversation, we talked about life, our travels, about living, surfing and the ocean. I told him about my time living abroad in India, about how extremely difficult is was to be away from the ocean (which I had lived on/near my whole life) and from surfing, something that had been my own spiritual release for so many years. He explained surfing in a way that did something I didn’t know was possible. He made me see the ocean, something I have practically worshiped my whole life, as an even more beautiful thing.
He explained, the world is constantly changing. You look around and new things are being built everyday, changing. There are rules to follow, paths that have been set out by society to follow. Now think about surfing. When a surfer turns his back to the shoreline, he/she looks out to the ocean. It doesn’t change. Ever. Surfers have often been called rebels. That they ignore the system. A rebel may not be the best term, but in actuality, when you paddle out, you do turn your back on the systems. You detach from the safety of the shoreline. And you play (and in sometimes, far exceed your edge in the process). Surfers fall more than anyone else, and if they are not falling, they are not pushing their limits. As surfers, we put ourselves in a position for the waves to come to us, and we live (and again, we fall, a lot).
Yes, this book is about surfing, but it’s really about so much more. It’s about a really cool guy who has shared his story with the world about his journey thus far. How he got to where he is now by continuously facing his edge, being alive, and most importantly being himself (my kind of guy).
Who knows, reading this book may inspire you to find your edge, find yourself, and find out what is possible if you do.
“The most radical thing you can do in life, is be true to yourself.” – Bear Woznick
*i.e. Bear has twice run with the bulls in Pamplona, once on the bloodiest day in its history. He is a licensed pilot and he skydives. He holds the very rare ninja black belt. Bear is a licensed in scuba and enjoys being a well-rounded waterman—sailing, spearfishing, distance paddling and surfing his outrigger canoe. He paddled his surf board out to the dangerous waves of Teahopu’u in Tahiti on a huge forty-foot day that came to be known as Bloody Sunday, the bloodiest day in the history of Surfing. Bear paddled his surfboard across twenty-eight miles of treacherous open ocean between Moloka’i and O’ahu. He has pedaled his bicycle across the United States from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida.