Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly like Iron Man?
No? Just me?
Well, in my head, I was Iron Man, soaring three feet above the water and going 25 miles per hour, with only the light hum of the prop under the efoil board.
And then, BAM! Flat on my face, skipping across the water, waking me up to the reality of my humble state; a mear man without a jetpack, trying to learn how to balance a board hovering above the water.
I’ve surfed my whole life, but nothing can compare to the delicate balance of keeping the board up on foil. If you haven’t seen a foil board yet, it is basically a miniature airplane attached to a mast connected to the bottom of a surfboard. The same physics applies underwater as they do in the air. The foil creates lift when the molecules pass over the wing and tail. It looks like this:
It was a remarkable experience flying through the water and feeling the board rise beneath my feet. The slightest adjustment of my toes, heels, or hips was all it took to get the board up on foil. And when it took flight, the joy was indescribable.
When I think about it, peace seems to come by the slightest adjustments and decisions. These adjustments make all the difference in our day, whether we nose dive or fly! Finding the delicate balance in our lives is how we access that kind of joy.
Soaring is often synonymous with the good life, with freedom. To “soar” in life, we need instruction, guidance, and practice. A college graduate doesn’t just bound out of college into his blissful career of ease and mastery. He has to struggle, learn, take risks, and fail before he finds that sweet harmonious balance of responsibility and freedom.
The practice and the struggle is the operative part where many stop short. Making the slightest adjustment in our schedule, what we say yes to, what we say no to, what we do with our money, how disciplined we are, and where we place our hope are all ways that make the difference whether we fly or crash in life.
The interesting part about foil boarding is it has a delicate neutral point. For the first half of the lesson, I wrestled the board to find where to put my feet and adjust my weight. Every part of me was flexing to remain in the correct position. All adjustments were leaning forward or back to find balance. My buddy, Josh, who was teaching me, asked how my legs felt. My front right leg was feeling the most fatigue. He said,
“Settle your front foot back a bit and find the ‘neutral zone.’ You will find a state where the board settles in and simply stand without effort.”
Eventually, I found it, and all was well in the world! I found a balanced flight, no jeering or dipping, just a perfectly smooth and straight flight.
Finding the balanced, neutral zone was wonderful, like a vacation.
But as I stood there in harmony, I realized there was more to discover and experience, like carving. I wanted to bank to turn to see what else was possible. So I disrupted my neutral bliss to test my skills in a banking turn.
Banking required a whole new set of skills and attention, totally foreign to what I know of turning a surfboard or snowboard. A foil board requires ever so slight adjustments. I fell multiple times.
Have you ever been on an extended vacation, with no responsibilities? It is fantastic but to a point. And that point is explicitly boredom. Rest is only required as a by-product of effort.
Neutral is only enjoyable on the other side of ups and downs.
Our lives are not meant to be in a perpetual state of vacation and cruise control. Nor are they to be in a perpetual state of grinding and slogging. The human experience is to work and then rest. They compliment one another and give meaning to each. God bakes this into the very beginning of creation. He worked for six days, then He rested. Work gave meaning to his rest, and rest gave meaning to his work.
Whether today is a day of rest or grind, do it to your fullness, in excellence. My prayer for you is to find that balance of work and rest, soaring and turning. Try something new today. Step into an adventure.