Advent / choosing joy / Christmas

December 7: Launch Yourself on Every Wave

Day 7: Embrace the joy of jubilant moments

launch yourself on every wave

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

As a child, I remember learning to body surf in San Diego with my family. There’s a science to getting yourself in front of a wave, feeling it lift you, maybe paddling a little to get into the zone. And then riding it in, smiling, maybe cheering, but hoping Mom or Dad, or my sister would see that I had actually done it.

My sister and I would ride those waves all afternoon, with no regard for time or hunger or any other care. We were one with the ocean, with its rhythms, with the sole intent of catching a wave because it was so joyful. And part of the fun was being thrown, head over heals, being tossed about and feeling the full force of something bigger than one person could ever comprehend.

The photo above is of Chihuly glass, hand blown, ripples, like an ocean. I couldn’t resist pairing it with Thoreau’s quote about living in the present moment. I feel like when I’m really on task, doing something I love, I can recapture that feeling I had as a child body surfing. I can “launch myself on every wave,” becoming invincible, tireless, and laughing and hugging people the whole time. Eternity and single moments intermingle when I do what I’m most passionate about.

Beyond the joy, there’s another part to Thoreau’s quote. There’s an action. “Launch yourself” and “find your eternity” – he hasn’t left it up to just experiencing joy, but instead, seems to be telling us that we must DO something to experience joy in life, and make a decision to engage with life, perhaps with some sort of abandon. We need to throw ourselves towards what brings us joy, and embrace it, get tangled up in it, perhaps be thrown head over heals by it, and certainly give ourselves up to it.

This season, my wish is for each of you to re-experience that immersive, goofy, all encompassing joy for your life. “Launch” yourself into this season, and find yourself bouyed, loved, entranced and entangled by Something much bigger than any one of us alone can ever comprehend.