Get Boiled or Stay Dry?

You don’t have to be boiled by the wave, you can surf safely above it.

Do you remember the Hokusai print?

I wondered if the boatmen would get boiled or stay dry? I tried to imagine their faces next to roaring of that vicious

wall of waveThe man is riding the wave. I came away thinking they would look inscrutable, yet determined.


As children, my five brothers and sisters and I went to Long Beach Island for several weeks in the summer. We lived so close by, we just went back and forth to and from the beach as we chose. There were handsome lifeguards there sitting on the tall climb up seats. They used to send us home for sandwiches and we were proud to do so as we adored them. They rescued my brother from being swept out to sea, but I remember no panic, probably just some extra sandwiches that day,

The most exciting part about our time in Beach Haven was days when there was an ocean swell.

We body rode (or tried to body ride) the waves. They were really big. The triumph was to be on top right to the end. However, missing the wave was tragic. Such a churning we got, limbs entangled, sand swirled into our hair and down where crotch rot was already a painful given. You always had to sit down and collect yourself after being trounced.

My mother never even came to the beach, so confident was she that we were looked after by the sandwich monsters.


Funny, I never loved the water after we stopped going to the seaside.


Now the analogy hits me. Did Jon Kabat-Zinn say, ‘The sea may be rough but you can learn to surf the waves.’

Well, to be honest, I like a peaceful life now with family and this blogging dominating my life. I remember loving and hating being boiled but it has no appeal anymore. I don’t want to surf (it is too cold for all except the bravest in Scotland). No more boiling, thanks.


So I go back to my Hokusai print and think of that analogy anew. The wave is life and what it throws at us. Conditions are always in flux. Life is pitching towards the boatmen, but I believe they stay dry. This symbolizes Mindfulness. If we can stay detached from the emotions that want to spoil our calm, it is easy or easier to avoid the pain brought on by ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’ (Yes, they knew all about it in Shakespeare’s time. Mindfulness was already 1500 years old by then).




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