Stepping Up

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I can’t even begin to put into words the overwhelming feelings of gratitude, joy, pride and humbleness I have as I close off this last week in Nicaragua.
I left Canada on February 26th to film content for my online wellness subscription, the practice all over Nicaragua for 4 weeks. It was an incredible privilege to film in such a diverse and beautiful country and call this place home for a month.
After an exhausting 3 weeks of traveling around Nicaragua shooting workout videos, creating content for mindset lessons based on my experiences on my surfboard I was very much ready for a vacation. Not a vacation where I parked my butt on the beach and chilled, but an adventure all for myself.
I needed to disconnect from everything and focus inward. I was craving the warm northern Nicaragua water after a surprisingly cold stint in the southern Nicaragua waves and really wanted to focus on progressing my surfing. I stumbled upon a resort I had heard about from my business partner in SRF vacations called coco loco eco resort in northern Nicaragua. My business partner only had great things to say so I booked the surfers package about 4 days before I arrived.

Surfing really is an amazing sport. It’s one of the most unforgiving yet joyful ways you can move your body and uncover so many truths about yourself. Its a game of patience, of resiliency, of courage, trusting your intuition, facing the things you’re most afraid of, being graceful in chaos, and most importantly being present in the moment. It’s about finding your inner strength when you feel like giving up.
The entire week was a truly remarkable experience that I’m so grateful for and humbled by. I have been attempting to “surf” for almost 12 years and feel like for the first time this week I could graduate from a total kook to a surfer. I stepped up. I went from being frantic or panicked in the water to feeling a sense of calm by something so powerful. All thanks to my two very amazing coaches Miel and Ben of coco loco eco resort. The constant support, in depth surf education, encouragement and push to recognize what I’m capable was a huge game changer. 
Stepping up from a kook to a surfer comes with a beating but the end result is totally worth it. I’ll never forget the first day of my surf guiding experience... my first ever boat trip where I was dragged across a reef resulting in about 12 sea urchin spines stuck in my foot. I bailed on the first heavy big set that came in. Took a huge tumble followed by a set of waves crashing on me, struggling and gasping for air, fighting my way back to the safety zone. My guide Ben paddled right over to check on me to make sure I was okay. I finally got back to the boat and laid down trying to settle my adrenaline. I just kept telling myself that what happened is okay, and that it was just an experience and you’ll learn from it. Ironically while I laid there sulking in the boat, the song “total eclipse of the heart” by Bonnie Tyler came on the radio bringing on a huge smile to my face after being tortured by the reef. First lesson; drop your ego because when you choose to step up, shit happens, or as Bonnie would say “every now again I fall apart” and you need to find the humour or humbleness in the situation instead of feeling embarrassed.
The whole week became a dance with the ocean and my mindset after that first day. Bound and determined, I went out with my coaches anywhere from 2-4 hours each day for sunrise then again at sunset. In surf school, we’d analyze where I went wrong and what I’m doing well in the video and photo analysis which was incredibly helpful. Rather than simply paddling out and trying to catch waves I now had a lot of technical tidbits to work on and intention behind each wave. We’d review the science of the ocean, tides, rips, safety, technique and more. Taking in all of this information, trusting the process and recognizing what I’m capable of was huge. I caught some of my best waves this trip and more importantly have the technique and knowledge to handle myself in any situation I will get myself into.
I am so grateful for the guidance and support I got from Miel and Ben. This new found inner strength both mentally and physically I have developed over this past week by simply stepping up to a new challenge will serve me beyond the ocean into my day to day wherever I am in the world.
 
Some of my most profound breakthroughs happened this week and I'm excited to share them with you. You’ll find the in depth detailed mindset lessons of my surfing experience from Nicaragua in The Practice; my online wellness program.
With gratitude and mucho gracias to the familia at coco loco eco resort, thank you for helping me be the best version of myself. If you are ever looking for a truly amazing surf guiding experience check out the surfer's package, or if you're interested in doing a retreat here with me email mal@srfvacations.com.
Mal