Ben Lecomte: The Longest Swim – 5,500 Miles of Science and Sustainability.

Hey Sentinels! I hope you all had an incredible summer! For my part, although it’s been great getting away for a while, it’s also a relief to be back to cooler weather! It’s been a hot one in the Mexican coastline.

During this period, I came upon a couple of amazing stories that I would like to share with you.

The first one below is about an astonishing expedition which is currently taking place just as you are reading this article.

The other one I will publish next week and deals with some insights I learned during my last surf trip to Puerto Escondido.

So, let’s get right to it!

The mission continues…

For the better part of this year, I have been dedicating a fair amount of time writing about ocean conservancy and disposable plastic awareness. This is an essential topic which is slowly gaining traction worldwide.

From heroes like Sian Sikes to ocean conservation organizations, such as Sea Shepherd and Surfrider foundation, environmental awareness and active involvement is key for our ocean’s survival.

My attention finds itself captivated once again by yet another extraordinary expedition: The Longest Swim.

This adventure is nothing short of mind-blowing. It involves an extraordinary individual and his desire to not only break physical and mental boundaries but also bring scientific fact about our oceans precarious condition: The Longest Swim’s main protagonist is Benoit “Ben” Lecomte.

Ben is attempting to swim across the Pacific Ocean in 180 days….let me write that one again folks…as you are reading this, Ben Lecomte is swimming, right now, across the Pacific Ocean, having started in Choshi, Japan and ending in San Francisco. That’s a distance of 5,500 miles, swimming an average o 8 hours every day!

Ben has trained for the last 6 years for this expedition, having previously swum successfully across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998.

“A team of researchers from 13 scientific institutions including NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will conduct studies on 8 different subjects during The Swim. From plastic pollution to space exploration, this adventure will be a unique opportunity to collect data and learn more about the oceans and the human body in extreme conditions.”

Lecomte is not of this planet!

At the core, The Swim is all about scientific discovery…

Besides lending his mind and body for scientific studies focusing in human super endurance, the expedition has also other very clear objectives which will be at the top of the expedition’s priority list:

How the Fukushima nuclear disaster has affected the ocean.
The health of Phytoplankton.
The Gravity Effect (NASA).
Cardiovascular health.
Microplastic and ocean health.

Other challenges he will be facing will be low water temperatures, special nutrition needs, solitude, swimming through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (extending for a colossal 1,000 miles!), and ocean wildlife (including sharks…not the main concern when compared to swimming through swarms of jellyfish).

The supporting cast…

Ben has been joined by his faithful support crew of 6, traveling side by side during his swim aboard the “Discoverer”, a sturdy,  67 ft (20 m) steel monohull sailing boat Challenge 67. “Disco” as She is affectionately called by all the crew, was designed to take part in the legendary Global Challenge round-the-world race.

Disco’s deck and the main structure are in steel. This material is a favorite maritime construction due to its durability and sturdiness. The Pacific has some of the roughest weather patterns in the planet. Discoverer was designed to face impacts and challenging weather conditions, a given the crew knows they will have to endure at some point during their crossing.

And why a sailboat?

According to Ben and Discoverer’s skipper, Scotty:

“…a sailboat is an ideal choice since it will require for very slow sailing along Ben’s 6-month journey. Relying on an engine during this expedition, with no stop-overs whatsoever, was definitely not the way to go”.

So, wind power is the order of the day for Discoverer’s Seeker support crew. Other than Ben and the ocean, the Discoverer is the third main protagonist of this incredible story.

The Seeker support team and Discoverer

Preparation of mind and body…

Besides choosing the ideal transport for the crossing, Ben has also prepared himself by swimming countless hours in open waters, and of no less importance, learning and sharpening his mind by using visualization and disassociation techniques. Visualization is pretty straightforward to understand, as many of us who have practiced some extreme sport know,  having used visualization at some time or another, when facing challenging conditions out in the water.

Dissasociation, however, is entirely a different matter.

In an interview with AFP news, Ben explains:

“The mental part is much more important than the physical. You have to make sure you always think about something positive. When you don’t have anything to occupy your mind it goes into kind of a spiral, and that’s when trouble starts”.

Challenges and adversity the order of the day…

Through such distances and uncertain environments, far away as one could possibly imagine from any civilization, adversity is almost a daily affair.

It takes extremely clear objectives and clarity of purpose to get you through those inevitable rough patches, as Ben retells his experience during a difficult day:

“This morning the wind and waves were coming from the north and were stronger than yesterday. We still had to progress toward the north and this was going to be a challenging day.

Maria was back in the kayak. She communicated a few times with the crew on the VHF to verify that we were going in the right direction. Each time we took a break to feed me we felt we were pushed back from where we came from. Maria was drifting in the opposite direction, the wind and waves dragged her much faster than me.

She was trying her hardest to keep the pace but she was paddling slower than I was swimming. After a few hours, I knew I wouldn’t be able to swim for a full 8 hours at that pace because it was too slow and I couldn’t generate enough heat to stay warm.

At midday, we had planned to have Paul trade place with Maria. At that time Seeker wasn’t close to us, I could only see the top of the sails at the horizon. Maria gave them our position and corrected it a few times as we were drifting fast. After 45 minutes Seeker finally reached us but by that time I had waited too long in the water and was cold, I decided to get back on the sailboat and stop swimming for the day.
Even in those challenging conditions, Maria managed to collect a big 5 gallons clear plastic bottle…”.

Ben’s final thoughts…

And so what’s next for our lone hero’s awe-inspiring adventure? As I publish this post, it is August 29…Ben and Disco’s crew are located here, approximately 750 miles east of Choshi, Japan.

They have seen their share of natural wonders out in the deep sea, as well as constant reminders of our indiscriminate use of plastic waste.

Ben finishes this article, adding a final thought that we should all take to heart:

“What do I stand for? I am not against plastic, I am for a responsible way to use plastic, one that doesn’t pass on any liability down to the next generation. Like many people, I am struggling with how I can reduce my use and limit my impact. My bad habits are still entrenched in my daily life and like any bad habits I find it difficult to change them. I have a tendency to resist change and feel more comfortable sticking with the status quo.

I know how to push my physical and mental limits and how to get out of my comfort zone but I found it very challenging to stop my relationship with plastic, stop following the easy path and more convenient way when using plastic.

For the past few years, I have made some changes in my life to reduce my use of plastic and try to single-use plastic, but I have more to do. I am very fortunate to see firsthand how pervasive plastic is and how vast is the problem we have created. This is a very strong motivating force for me to make more changes.

I am very fortunate to be where I am and foster a unique relationship with the ocean. This has a profound impact on me, it is reshaping me as a person and redefining my role as a human being; I feel I have a responsibility to give a voice to the ocean.

Thank you to all you for following and supporting us. You inspire me to be a better steward of the ocean and I appreciate any feedback that would help me achieve it”.

Conclusion…

Ben’s commitment and candor are truly inspiring.

Like Sian Sykes, whom I have also mentioned in past articles, and her incredible marine conservation awareness odyssey in Wales, Ben has taken his interest and that of other ocean conservation organizations to a whole different level.

This is how involved we must be…not swimming a whole ocean, no. That’s for super-men and women like Ben and his crew.

But we can also be heroes, unassuming and perhaps a bit humble, in our daily efforts, but, together, we can make a HUGE difference.

I hope you liked Ben’s continuing odyssey in the Pacific. He is truly one of a kind, as are we all, in our battle to protect our fragile planet. Please share this article with your friends and loved ones.

They must know about Ben and what he is trying to accomplish.

Thanks again for reading and talk soon!

Ultimate Fun In The Sun! My 10 Favorite Summer Songs For 2018.

Time for more fun & sun!

Hey, hey Sentinels around the world! It’s Luis here sharing more content with you regarding all things to do with action water sports, surf lifestyle and ocean awareness.

This week, I want to take it a bit slower, going for a lighter tone on my post. If you have been following my blog, you probably know that the last few weeks I have been writing about serious environmental issues, ocean conservation heroes, and intrepid cave rescues. Relevant and important topics, sure, but hey…

It’s the middle of summer!

What say we all get back to our favorite beach and continue having a great time? But wait, we need to take some awesome tunes with our beach kit, right?

Man, music is SO important to make memorable moments even better.

Why is that? What does music do to us? How does it manage impact our lives in so many positive ways, even after years go by, and still, we are moved, excited, happy? (or sad…but none of that here, please!).

Let’s take a closer look at this incredible and essential part of our lives. In my personal experience, I could not do without music, period. Especially during summer vacations. And I am happy to share with you my 10 favorite all-time summer tunes I never do without. Let’s get started!

But first…why is music so important to us?

It comes down to three factors: “self-actualization”, to “fulfill emotional needs”, and to “fulfill social needs”. Let me explain. When I mention self-actualization, I am referring to “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone”. It can also be understood as:

“The full realization of one’s creative, intellectual, or social potential”.

Music spurs our creativity in so many ways. It releases us from the challenges we face in daily life. It connects with the imaginative part of our brain. Music encourages us to dream and ponder and reflect. It makes you feel good, as mentioned before, by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones of our body. When you add to this to sunny days surrounded by friends and/or family in idyllic settings, it can be incredibly powerful, embedding and anchoring unforgettable moments that remain with us whenever we listen to this or that song.

What does music do to your state of mind?

“To fulfill emotional needs”…it’s a chemical thing. It goes back to the release of endorphins, as mentioned above. But what exactly are endorphins? What do they do to us and what are they really for? Take a look at this informal, but very helpful video. Endorphins are SO important and this is why:

So basically, Endorphins (and their close relatives, Enkephalins) are responsible for triggering that euphoric, feel-good emotion whenever we listen to an awesome tune, have sex (yay!) or do something that is pleasurable (like eating chocolate!). And this can affect our state of mind in so many positive ways. That’s why exercise can be so addicting when done regularly. “Runner’s high” is a good example of that.

“Stoke” is another good example and one more close to home.

“Fulfill social needs”…music integrates us, makes us come together, from love songs fro the love-struck couples to colossal music social events like Lola Palooza and beyond (think Pink Floyd or Bruce Springsteen concerts). Music gives us a feeling of belonging to an idea or concept expressed by these artists that we ourselves sometimes cannot express very well.

We rotate around “our tribe”, whether that be classic, metal, jazz, reggae, pop, rap, or an eclectic mix of all these. I personally find it an awesome moment in history where you can find so much musical wealth out there, and, most of all, it is so easily accessible, it blows my mind.

Where can you find the best music downloads?

So now that chemistry and sociology 101 are over, let’s get into the fun stuff. Where to get the best music downloads? As you may imagine, the answer, in this case, is: it depends. Have a look at this informative video from Android Police and you decide:

In the end, there are really two real choices here, although, honestly, I’m not much of a techie and gadgets person, so my personal favorite remains Apple Music.

Should you get a portable sound device?

Of course, listening to music can be a very personal thing. But come on, it’s summer, you are with friends and family. It’s beautiful out and the water is just perfect. You have got to share this moment with everyone! So, although mobiles are great for every day listening (commutes, workouts, standing in lines, etc.), portable sound devices are also an essential part of your summer kit. Whatever device you decide to get, I suggest you keep two main features in mind:

  • Sound quality
  • Portability

There are many portable speakers out there but it really is a matter of personal choice. For me, shelling out a bit more money for these two features is well worth it.

And the BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker has been, hands down, one of the best investments I have ever made. It’s not only the brand, which I’ve been a fan of for several years now. It’s also that Bose hits the features mentioned above right on the nail. If I sound excited about this product, it’s because I am.

In fact, as I am writing to you right now, I have my little speaker sitting unassumingly on my desk and the sound quality coming out never ceases to amaze me. If you want to check it out, here’s a review I wrote about his little wonder speaker.

So should you get a portable speaker for this summer? Definitely! It will make a huge difference in your vacation experience. Trust me on this!

So who is your go-to performer out there for this summer?

Man, this is a hard one to answer. I will confess that I am no longer on top of today’s current music trends. I guess I gravitate towards rock, big time. Not to say that there are some pretty awesome indie and rap bands out there, but again, it’s old school for me.

There, I said it!

So I try to watch out for new bands on Itunes, Spotify, Youtube and even the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I know, I know, borderline lame, right? Also, Later…with Jools Holland keeps me pretty much up to date with the European scene.

Lately, these are the bands that have made me stop and listen:

  • Florence and The Machine
  • Steep Canyon Rangers
  • Jaden Smith
  • Billie Ellish
  • Chris Lane
  • Card B (really!)
  • Five Seconds of Summer
  • Rex Orange County
  • Sting & Shaggy
  • Arctic Monkey
  • Foster The People
  • Christine and The Queens

There are so many more! It’s one of the highlights of the evening, and a perfect way to end my day.

My summer playlist!

And finally, we come to the nitty-gritty. Without further ado, here’s my top ten 2018 summer playlist

 1. Better Together (Jack Johnson).

This is such a soulful and mellow song. It’s one of my all-time favorite love songs. Great to play it with a beautiful sunset and a warm summer breeze!

2. Out In The Open (Steep Canyon Rangers).

I have been listening to country lately and found some pretty awesome bands. Steep Canyon Rangers sort of remind me of Eagles with their vocal range. This song is perfect for any summer road trip. Play it loud!

3. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley).

‘Nuff said!

4. Love Will Find a Way (Eagles).

Notice a pattern developing here? Yeah, mellow love rock is big for me. This song, though, is so special. Eagles bassist Randy Eisner’s voice is so incredibly heartfelt and true, it never fails to amaze me. That and the band’s impeccable vocal harmony makes this song an instant summer classic. Add to that a side order of Tequila Sunrise and Desperado and see where the evening takes you!

5. Free Bird (Lynyrd Skinnard).

The live version at Oakland Coliseum Stadium in 1977 – c’mon…you know you want to hear it all!!  (and yeah, Sweet Home Alabama also rocks!).

6. Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood).

If there is one song that conveys “badass” to me it is this song. I first saw the “Bad to the Bone” video on MTV back in the 80s. It immediately blew my mind away. Hey, anyone who can beat Bo Diddley in Pool is a total badass!

7. Thunderstruck (AC/DC).

So many jewels and so little time! Highway to Hell, Back in Black, Shoot to Thrill…all of them awesome. But  Thunderstruck is my other ultimate road song. Especially when I’m feeling a bit sleepy!

8. Funky Kingston (Toots and The Maytals).

Happy, uplifting and unabashed. I just heard this reggae band a few days ago and I just had to add them to my official feel-good summer playlist. Whenever you want to get in a happy groove almost instantly, just play a few of their Jamaican, sun-drenched tunes!

9. No Tears Left To Cry (Ariana Grande).

Yep! Pop’s cool too! Especially coming from such an incredible talent as Ariana Grande. She is also hilarious…a natural comedian and performer. And did I mention she has an unbelievable vocal range? Grande can sing pop, country, gothic rock and many other music styles with such ease and grace it’s scary.

10. Girls Like You (Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B).

I confess I wasn’t much of a fan of Maroon 5 (the whole high pitched voice thing just didn’t rub on me the right way), but this song is an extremely catchy song and, hey, Cardi B features in it…pretty cool collaboration.

11. Don’t Make Me Wait (Sting & Shaggy)

Holy crap!! Talk about an unlikely collaboration working beautifully! The entire CD is amazing and so “beachy”. It’s perfect for blissfully swaying along with palm trees as the sun is setting…soft, warm ocean breezes gently blowing by…so cool! And also check this Shaggy classic, also with Sting…so fun!!

12. Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole (Somewhere over the Rainbow).

Hawaiian music has always been a favorite of mine. That includes traditional music, including songs from Dennis Pavao, Amy Hanaiali, George Kahumoku, Jr. and Keali’i Reichel, as well as more modern contemporary island artists such as The Brothers Cazimero, Makaha Sons, Hawaiian Style Band and  Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole.

I have two additional favorites which I am going to include here which I can pretty much listen too, not only during summer, but all year long: “Live a Little” from Hawaiian Style Band and “ Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u”, interpreted by the Brothers Cazimero.

Sorry for going Moana on all of you but I honestly think I have some Polynesian in my blood…I just love island music! If you want to find out a bit more about Hawaiian music, here’s a couple more artists which I can recommend:

In conclusion…

So there you have it. My 10 favorite songs for summer 2018. Some are not so well known, I know, especially the ones from the islands. But, hey, I’ve learned that keeping an open mind can lead to pretty amazing places (musically speaking).

So get out there, give free rein to your musical likes and start making memories over this summer. Because, in the end, memories are the one thing that remain and become truly priceless

What are your ultimate summer songs? Which your memories or moments have been influenced by songs during your summer vacations? I would love to hear your stories, anecdotes or memorable accounts. Or simply share your favorite song or songs in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and let’s all continue listening and making unforgettable memories this summer. See you in the water!!

Faith, courage and ingenuity: The Tham Luan Nang Non Cave Rescue

Reporting on what really matters…

I thought I would take a moment and look back at last week’s events. And no, I’m not talking about the World Cup or, heaven forbid, the Helsinki summit fiasco!

No, what happened last week, in my view, supersedes by far an large these and many other media-crazed events. A week ago, on July 10, a miracle of human faith, courage, and human ingenuity happened on the other side of the world.

After more than two weeks of unimaginable anguish and uncertainty, rescue divers were finally able to extract 12 children and their coach from the depths of the Tham Luan Nang Non cave in Thailand.

But somehow, with all the World Cup madness and the last week’s international diplomacy hype, most news media giants have literally dropped the ball on an event that should continue to be reported and talked about as feverishly and constantly as the media events filling last week’s news channels.

You see, what transpired before, during and after the Tham Luan rescue operation was nothing short of remarkable and awe-inspiring.

The media have called it “miraculous”, using this word, in my humble opinion, very lightly, giving it free reign to bring ratings and drama to an incredible event that has been too easily forgotten already.

It is clear to me that many of the reporters that were present at the time of the actual rescue, broadcasting back to their respective networks, although doing it in a very professional manner, braving long hours and difficult weather conditions, absolutely had no idea of what the rescue attempt would mean for the kids and their rescuers on an emotional level.

And even though experts were invited to weigh in on their personal experience, it would have been adequate that at least one of the reporters would have had cave diving experience, to convey to the public exactly what these kids and their coach would be going through once the actual rescue got underway. Let me explain.

Putting it all in perspective…

Riviera Maya, where I have been living now for 10 years now, has a vast underground cave and river system, courtesy of a 10  to15 kilometer diameter asteroid impacting on earth during the dinosaur age.

This extinction level event forever changed the geology of the region, giving way to one of the largest underground river systems in the world.

The waters flooding this system are said to be sacred to the Maya. When you traverse one of these caverns, you can easily see why. The visibility and beauty of the place always take your breath away.

But there is also a dark side to this beauty. Danger and risk are always present when exploring these waters. Going through narrow crevasses, in deep, dark places, even with extraordinary visibility, is an experience not suitable for the faint-hearted or for the claustrophobic.

To safely journey through this system, even under ideal conditions, takes years of dive experience and a healthy set of stones.

If you have ever been in a broken elevator or a closed bathroom (and you can’t get out), you have a close sense of the emotional urgency and immediacy of that “Let me out!!” feeling. It’s creepy being trapped, without knowing how long it will take to be “rescued”.

If this has happened to you, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that the wait ALWAYS seems to take forever, right?

And that’s in dry ground, with ample lighting and resources for your eventual rescue.

Now take that same feeling of being trapped and place it deep inside a pitch black, wet cave, 4 miles from the entrance, where your only sustenance is water.  Add to that water levels threatening to drown you at any moment.

Sort of puts things in perspective, huh?

Here’s how they all pulled it off…

What these kids, their coach and their rescuers faced was probably one of the most terrifying experiences that anyone could endure. And they faced this not for one hour, or one day or one week. They endured it for nearly 17 days. In such dangerous and adverse conditions that Saman Kunan, a 38-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL, died of asphyxiation on 6 July on his return to the cave entrance after delivering supplies of air to the interior.

On the danger scale, 1 being safest and 10 being the most dangerous, The Than Luan cave was flat-out 10. Not only for its natural geological configuration, a huge challenge in itself, but also for the difficult weather conditions which the cave system experienced during the actual rescue.

Bittersweet endings…

In the end, however, through incredible faith, courage, skill and human ingenuity, the 12 children and their coach were rescued last Tuesday, July 10. And after a week of rest and recovery, they have made their first public appearance, forever grateful for the support and dedication of everyone involved in their rescue.

Saman KumanEspecially Saman Kuman, whose sacrifice speaks volumes of the better side of human compassion, dedication, sacrifice, and selflessness.

In a world so full of hatred, anger, and conflict, it is comforting to know that mankind can still shine a very brightly, even in undeniable dark and uncertain times.

Let’s pause for a moment and revel in the accomplishments of these real heroes and take their example whenever we, in our daily humdrum, face adversity and challenges. Their unwavering spirit and resolute attitude should be an inspiration to us all for years to come.

For another account of incredible heroism and grit, you can also check out one of my all-time heroes right here…

In conclusion…

What makes someone a hero? What characteristics do you think make them stand apart? Forget the Avengers! These divers and these kids and their coach…they are the real deal.

Everyday people doing extraordinary things. Do you know anyone that inspires you and is your hero? Please share your experience in the comment box below. I would love to be inspired by your story!

Tks for reading and talk soon!

 

Every moment counts…the awesome power of “Kairos”.

Opportune moments…Zak Noyle.

Hey sentinels!

Question for you: have you ever had a defining moment in your life? An instant, so powerful, so transformational, that it becomes a before-and-after moment, forever altering your journey?

Enter Hawaiian water photographer Zak Noyle.

Zak is considered one of the best extreme photographers in the world. He currently lives on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii. From an early age, his father, Ric Noyle, also an experienced photographer, encouraged Zak to take up photography. By the time Zak was a freshman at Punahou School, he had already published his works in ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Transworld Surf. In 2015, at age 25, he was made senior staff photographer of Surfer Magazine and has been actively involved with the magazine since then.

Code Red…

In February of 2016, one of the largest swells to ever hit the North Shore of O’ahu arrived at Waimea Bay, just in time for The Eddie, one of surfing’s most emblematic and traditional big wave riding events in the world.

The Eddie, formerly known as the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, was an event which Zak had followed both in and out of the water for some time.

This morning, though, what he would experience would forever change his life, both as a photographer and as a skilled waterman.

As he made his way to the famous bay, reports on how big and massive the swell was getting began to show up in local radio stations. By the time he arrived at Waimea Bay, the waves were so enormous and powerful, local authorities had even considered postponing the event.

But everything was all set up, thousands having come from around the world to watch the event. With the assistance of wave runners, Zak was able to arrive quickly at the lineup.

But the behemoth closeouts forced him and his crew out to the shore on more than one occasion.

The arrival of Kairos…

He decided that the best way not to miss a moment of the event was to swim back to the lineup.

Zak would spend the next eight hours, without food or water, braving waves at times exceeding 50+ feet.

Following is an account I found in Surfline.com describing Zak’s experience on that harrowing day.

Zak experienced Kairos (pronounced “Kiros”): an ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, opportune moment. A particular moment when a drastic change takes place.

As Zak explains in his incredible account that day: everyone was saying that it was just too big to go out. He tried hard to remain in his “zone”; and in a moment of Kairos, he made a decision that would change his life forever.

As a result of his courageous decision, Zak was able to take some of the heaviest images ever taken during this legendary event.

Kairos in your life…

Now, in your life, your Kairos moment doesn’t have to be as dramatic or dangerous as Zak’s experience.

Kairos is a very personal affair, and how and when it arrives in our lives is very different for each of us. In fact, you may even experience a few Kairos moments in your life. This is not unheard of.

In my personal journey, I’ve had two such moments: creating my first website and posts, and, another much more personal moment: the passing away of my father.

These particular moments created drastic changes in my life.

Creating my first website, surfsentinel.net, was of particular professional and personal relevance. It got me hooked on blogging and made me an avid learner and creator of digital marketing content.

It was transformational since I finally knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life:

  • Putting my writing skills to good use.
  • Writing about a subject I am passionate about.
  • Sharing this journey with my audience.
  • Publish the best content possible.
  • Help my audience in any way I can to make their lives happier, balanced and more meaningful.

In regards to my father’s passing, suffice to say that I learned that life is to be lived and enjoyed in the present. His integrity and work ethic will continue to be my daily source of inspiration for years to come.

Have you experienced Kairos? When and where did these moments of drastic change happen to you? What did you learn from them? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. I read all comments and will gladly answer, share and discuss this fascinating subject with you.

Thank you for reading. Un abrazo!

5 essential ingredients for spiritual wellness.

Walking through the threshold and searching for answers…

Hey Sentinels…

The passing of someone very close to me has opened a few existential doors that had been naturally shut until recently. Opening these doors and actually going through the threshold has prompted me to reflect more deeply on the importance and foundational impact that spirituality and emotional well being can have in our lives.

Questions like:

  • How do we anchor our souls when the waves of life threaten to undo us?
  • When the dark clouds of depression continue to hover?
  • When the next step in life unsettlingly unclear?

These are difficult questions that the logical side of our brain finds especially challenging. This is where meditation and spirituality become invaluable allies which can offer solace and some semblance of understanding where rational thought cannot.

I believe that where meditation and spirituality are concerned, in particular, the later, there exist 5 essential ingredients that can lead to spiritual wellness. When practiced diligently and without any prejudices, your spiritual well-being and fortitude can be greatly enhanced in and out of the water, in business, in relationships and life in general.

Practice to practice…

My site here at Surfsentinel began as a referential guide for better safety practices for watermen and women alike.

If you have been reading some of my more recent posts, that objective has gone through some substantial changes. The website has acquired a deeper, more meaningful quest for value-first content, with a strong focus on self-development strategies through the practice of action water sports, mostly surfing and other extreme board sports.

This journey has also allowed me to recognize the undeniable power of having a right mindset, and how it can have a  positive impact on our lives.

But having the right mindset, mastering your thoughts and emotions, and effectively putting these strategies into practice is easier said than done. Like all things in life that really matter, making them actionable takes dedication, commitment self-discipline, and practice. Lots of practice…here’s a great example of what I mean: (you can enjoy the whole video from last year’s Quick Silver Pro France semifinals (heat 2) between Gabriel Medina v.s. John John Florence, but the amazing stuff begins at 04:30 and again at 08:50).

Very similar to a recipe, these strategies are the ingredients. And like Gabe and John John demonstrate above, they can also be learned.

However, for the recipe to work, each individual is responsible for how to best apply the recipe’s ingredients.

A consideration on the topics ahead…

Before I go on, I wish to offer my apologies in advance for any sensibilities which I may be hurt during the next topic. My only intention is to offer provocative, thoughtful insights which may help you arrive to your own conclusions

That been said, it is now time to go deeper and find out what these “ingredients” are, and how they can help you improve your personal and professional life.

Wisdom from the past remains relevant today…

Buddha once said:

“Overcome your uncertainties and free yourself from dwelling on sorrow. When you delight in existence, you will awaken, and become a guide to those in need, revealing the path to many”.

 

 

Do me a favor. Read this quote again carefully. As you continue reading this post, reflect on its profound meaning. See how your conclusions complement the list below.

It’s quite possible that you may be using some of these “ingredients” already. If that’s the case, celebrate it and share what you have learned with others.  The more they are shared, the more powerful they become, and the better the results.

The 5 ingredients of spiritual wellness…

1. We stop.

Easy enough, right? No, not really.

As recreational or professional watermen and women, we pride ourselves on our independence, breaking away from the mainstream…moving away from conventional notions.

We became committed at understanding and protecting our oceans,  for our own safety as much as for our enjoyment. But most importantly for that of others.

But let’s face it.

Even with our best intentions in mind, the reality is that the vast majority of our tribe also falls victim to the proverbial hamster wheel (and as bad as it may be for us, it’s much worse for your average 9 to 5 company”collaborator”, wouldn’t you agree?).

And so, before we know it, we are all caught in an endless cycle of financial, family and career commitments.

Now, let’s try this again. We stop…oh no! We can’t stop! We must keep going…gotta pay those bills, need to get that promotion, have to save for that college fund, and on and on it goes.

For many of us, stopping and getting off the hamster wheel is nearly impossible.

Or is it?

We are all creatures of habit. We are especially prone to acquiring bad habits and “hamster wheeling” is pretty much at the top of the list.

We need to work hard to earn that paycheck to take care of the bills. And if that runs us to the ground, so be it.

But the truth is…

Granted, your circumstances may be less than adequate and, often times, beyond your control. Natural disasters, terminal illness, the death of a loved one. These are all situations you can’t control.  However, what we can control is how we react towards these situations.

And do you know what happens when you exert control over how you react to adverse circumstances?

You stop the hamster wheel!

You are back in control.

And then…you can get off.

Go ahead, take in the sights! You’ve earned it!

2. We become still.

We are energy.We are present. Aware. We must learn to quiet our minds.

You can still your mind through meditation, quiet reflection, exercise, yoga, or even by taking a serene walk through your favorite park (or beach!).

Throw a stone in a pond. It will make a big splash. The pond will be filled with movement, concentric circles radiating from the source of the impact…chaos, in a micro scale, but chaos nonetheless. Eventually, if you do not throw another stone, the pond will eventually become quiet and still again.

That is what we need to achieve with our mind and spirit (a.k.a. life energy, vibration or whatever you prefer to call it). By learning to become still we open the gateway to spiritual wellness.

3. We pray.

I believe in a higher power.

And I know that discussing this subject will probably touch a nerve or two on more than one of you out there. I promise to tread lightly.

Prayer can be expressed in many ways and it is intimately personal. It is also a foundational ingredient that many of us have decided to ignore. Many of us even feel uncomfortable talking about it. I am Catholic. I believe in God. And I also believe in the power of prayer.

HOWEVER…I do not believe or follow the Catholic church as an institution. Even though there are very good, noble teachings, which have enormous moral and ethical merit, there are also very confusing, outdated ones which no longer apply to our current world. And please don’t get me started on the church’s self-proclaimed practice of “piety” and “humility”. Just have a look at the opulence and excessive luxury of the Vatican and you will understand what I am talking about.

But one thing remains true for many of us who believe on some sort of higher power, and who also believe that there exists someone or something “out there” that looks after us and is responsible for the universal order of things.

And that one truth is the power of prayer.

Like the communication that has existed between men and women since the beginning of their existence, and which has been essential for their millenary evolution, communication with a higher power holds just as fundamentally true.

As mentioned before, prayer can be expressed in many ways: a solemn, austere conversation done in a church or temple, or  an intimate chat with an old friend (God, Source, Yahwe, Universal Consciousness, etc.) while enjoying the last few minutes of a beautiful sunset, who in the end, will always be willing to listen and offer you unconditional help and advice.

You just have to ask…and then listen.

4. We ask for help.

Why is it so difficult to ask for help when we so desperately need it?

Is it perhaps pride? Or maybe inadequacy?

Maybe it is that we are ashamed. We think we are not worthy enough to receive help. We shy away from asking for help because we feel vulnerable from the critique of others.  It could also be that we may think that we are just not capable enough. That we are weak.

Useless…

But consider the above quote from Buda. Take a moment to ponder about the meaning behind each sentence. It is as profound as it is beautiful:

“…When you delight in existence, you will awaken, and become a guide to those in need, revealing the path to many”.

I am an advocate of the global awakening. It is happening in our world. It is taking place right now. And it is as real as the words I am writing to you in this post. As an example, here are some beliefs that are beginning to take root in this awakening:

1. The growing belief that there are indestructible unifying bonds between us, between other species and our world.

2. Contrary to divisive propaganda, these bonds exist so we may experience them.

3. Unification of mankind can heal our world.

4. The belief that we are all products of our world.

5. The belief that life on our planet is in mortal danger.

6. The belief that we still have the capacity to join together and make things better.

So why haven’t we seen more of this awakening?

Well, think of it this way. We have all been in a deep slumber. Sort of the sleep that I’m sure you have seen on some of those science fiction movies like “Alien”, “Avatar” or more recently, “Passengers”. Yes, folks, geek alert just ahead! In these movies, the characters generally wake up from a very long sleep, I mean, really long. Like months, or even years long. When they wake up, it’s never pretty. It’s almost like they are being born again. And then they go through a very slow waking and recovery process.

That’s what I think that is happening to all of us now. We have been sleeping for a very, very long time, and we are finally coming out of that deep slumber.

Some of us are handling the waking process better than others.

Some are simply not handling it well at all.

And then there are others that carry some form of monster inside them that make things very uncomfortable for the rest of us. I think it is a fair analogy, don’t you?

5. We trust.

Have you ever manifested your wishes or desires to the “Man Upstairs”? A.K.A. God, Source, etc.

How’s that working out for you?

Well, believe it or not, there is documented, scientific proof that this skill really does exist and, like everything, to get better at it, you need to learn how to do it properly and then practice it over and over again.

Eventually, you will get better at manifesting your desires.

I have been witness to its undeniable power. I have also been studying this for some time and, in the beginning, I admit that I pretty much sucked at it!

But through seriously learning and immersing myself in the subject (and keeping an open mind), I was finally able to improve my manifesting ability.

I am going to present to you a bit of what I learned and what has worked for me.I am very excited to share this knowledge with you, right here, right now:

When you request something from the universe, make your request simple. Do not concern yourself with the end result.

That’s it. The premise is that just like when you use your GPS in your car, where you input your destination into the computer, the GPS will calculate all the data and variables, taking care of the rest of the details so it may get you there in the fastest, safest way possible.

Trust your GPS. It will take you to wherever you want to go. As long as you follow the directions, IT will take care of the rest for you.

The analogy is totally applicable when requesting and then trusting the Universe, God, Source, etc. to take care of the details for you. You will arrive at your destination (what you asked for) in the safest, fastest, most expedient way universally possible. Just trust IT and stop concerning yourself with the end result.

Does this all work? In my personal experience, I can tell you that, yes, it does work.

But again, just like everything, it requires a commitment to learning and implementing the right techniques and strategies, while keeping an open mind (sometimes this becomes a bit of a stretch for many of us).

Can you really get anything you wish for? The answer is…

But here’s the catch.

You have to take inspired positive action.

When I first started learning about conscious creation, prayer and law of attraction, I had trouble reconciling with  one very misguiding premise: “You can have anything in this world simply by asking!”.And one thing that the authors and teachers who I followed at the time would seldom ever mention was that you have to show up and take positive action!

Things don’t just happen by themselves…

The universe delivers only when you get involved with concrete, inspired and positive action. If you are sitting around waiting for deliverance without taking action, however powerfully you manifest, your wishes and desires will never materialize.

Also, and this is crucial for you to understand, the universe will deliver ONLY when you are ready to receive. Not before.

So be patient.

Work on improving your thoughts, emotions, and mindset. Embrace and learn from your fears. Live life to the fullest.

I assure you the universe will deliver and make good on your request.

 Final thoughts…

Thanks for reading and staying with me this far!

Before I go, I would kindly request that you give consideration to the following questions:

Have you ever asked for something that you wanted with very badly, and, shortly after it was delivered to you?

Did you do this consciously or was it just a moment of desire? Perhaps desperation?

Were your prayers, your requests, answered?

What does wellness mean to you?

Do you have a different recipe for regaining control and finding your center again?

Please share your experiences in the comment box below. I read all comments and reply to them accordingly.

I hope you found this article useful and if you think it may help someone you know, please share it with them.

Thanks again!

People who faced adversity learn to cope with many difficult emotions, but these four are at the top my list.

Know thyself…seriously!

Hey Sentinels!!

I have something special to share with you this week. But first, I have a small request to make of you: take a moment to look at the image below. Take your time. See the details. Try to feel what the image is saying to you. Next, ask yourself how this image is making you feel: relaxed? at peace? inspired? Hmm…a bit bored?

OK, that’s understandable. Meditation and spirituality are challenging subjects to learn and understand. But the fact is that without them, we would live half-empty lives. Think of a chair with four legs. Take these out of (they go hand in hand) and the chair will topple. Nurture them and you will have the right balance for a fruitful, rich life.

If you’ve spent some time on my blog, you probably know by now that the ocean is a very important part of my life.I have lived near it for most of my adult life, having been born a mere 50 meters away from it. And for as long as I can remember, the ocean has always provided me a with a sense of awe and wonder.

Living in the Mexican Caribbean, I have had my share of large storms (and one huge one a.k.a. Wilma!) and have seen firsthand a very dark side of nature’s fury and power. But thankfully, and for the most part, I have also experienced its incomparable beauty and spiritual generosity.

The sea is an endless source of inspiration, discovery, and transformation.

Not convinced? Consider:

The ocean provides healing.

It nurtures our emotional and spiritual well-being.

Remember the first time you saw the ocean?

What did you feel?

HOW did you feel after spending time swimming, surfing, kite boarding,etc. in the ocean? Energized? Renovated? Clear headed?…At peace?

Guess what. You experienced spiritual generosity. Celebrate it!

 

 

A storm is coming…

Now, below is another picture. Again, have a look. Go through the same exercise as above. What do you feel! What does it convey to you? Foreboding? Anxiety? Fear?

Yes, my friends. As sure as the sun rises every morning, you can bet a storm is headed your way. It is a simple but inescapable part of life. People who faced adversity know this only too well.

And once the storm hits, for a moment at least, you will probably feel all of the above emotions, perhaps as a trickle first, but then, as the storm intensifies and eventually rages around you, emotions like uncertainty, self-doubt, fear, and shame may easily overwhelm you.

Of all the difficult emotions out there, why did I put these four at the top of my list?

Well, they go hand in hand with advice and counsel on how to overcome these emotions given by extraordinary life coaches like Michael Hyatt, Eric Edmeades, and Tony Robbins

Michael, Eric, and Tony are part of a select group of gifted communicators dedicated to improving the lives of millions of people worldwide through self-development and leadership skills. They also advocate spiritual and emotional awareness as a foundational skill that can lead to significant changes in our lives, allowing us to reach our full potential.

Also actively involved in the PD niche is Vishen Lakhiani, author of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind and founder of MindvalleyScott Smith, CEO and chief motivational officer of motivationtomove.com, and Ray Edwards of The Ray Edwards Show.

Lately, I have been watching their videos on YouTube, but mostly I have been listening intently to their podcasts. I have implemented and shared some of their most valuable teachings with friends and loved ones for one very simple reason: they WORK!

What I am about to present to you here is a condensed recap of a few of their teachings, as I have come to interpret them.

Spiritual fortitude and wellness are not as elusive to obtain as you may think…

“Just remember to try and keep an open heart and mind!”. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, wouldn’t you agree?

Let’s begin by understanding and shedding some light on the four emotions that made my list. You can think of them as fierce adversaries, determined to undermine your self-esteem at every turn:

  • Self-doubt
  • Uncertainty
  • Fear
  • Shame

Back in the 70s (the dynasty era of American Football), there existed an infamous group of players that became legendary for their notorious defensive strategies on the gridiron. Their field authority was so complete, their aggression so devastating, they became known as the “Fearsome Foursome”.

Their names were Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones. Stay with me on this…you see, the way they dominated the game was very simple: they instilled crippling amounts of uncertainty, doubt, shame and, most notably, fear, on to their hapless opponents. And man oh man were they ever successful. The LA Rams went from a mediocre second division team to an NFL powerhouse, winning seven straight division titles from 1973 to 1979.

Ok, ok, so I also like football (a lot!). How does this relate to wellness and spiritual growth? Really, how is this relevant?

Let’s take this example:

A seasoned surfer, standing at the shoreline, and looking out at a massive break, let’s say, Mavericks. It’s early morning, and not particularly sunny (what’s new!). Half a mile out, bomber after bomber pounds and drills the legendary break…it sort of looks like this…

It’s 35 ft+ and rising…

What feelings do you think are going through our brave charger’s mind?

Self-doubt? Uncertainty?, Fear? (that’s a given), Shame? Take your pick. Let’s briefly break this down:

Self-doubt.

We all have frequent bouts with this adversary, the first of the “Fearsome Foursome”.

Anybody who denies never experiencing self-doubt is probably lying to you.

Even the most accomplished watermen and women like Mark Haley, Maya Gabeira, Andrew Cotton, visionary entrepreneurs and financial titans like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet, or sport megastars like Roger Federer, Leonel Messi, or Tom Brady, have all had to deal with self-doubt at some stage during their incredible careers.

If not dealt with appropriately and in time, self-doubt can be one of the “Fearsome Foursome” ‘s toughest players to beat. Your best strategy against self-doubt is practicing and becoming proficient at mastering your thoughts. You need to learn how to literally think your way out of self-doubt.

Your thoughts, and more importantly, your emotions (which are turbo-charged thoughts) can help you overcome self-doubt at every turn.

The seasoned surfer mentioned above knows this.

By focusing his thoughts on the successes of past sessions, some certainly more daunting than this one, he exerts control over his doubts.  Gradually, he starts emptying his heart and mind of self-doubt, replacing it with healthy amounts of confidence.

In a few short minutes, he has been able to effectively control his thoughts and emotions. But now, as he begins to wax his board, he recognizes two more very familiar emotions creeping up his heart and slowly invading his mind. He knows them all too well. One of them is uncertainty.

Uncertainty.

Not being in control of your environment can be as disabling as having self-doubt. Just ask anyone who has been through a natural disaster like an earthquake (we have those regularly in Mexico!), a tornado or a hurricane (them too!).

Not being in control can make you feel extremely vulnerable, confused, and many times, it makes you feel as if you are the victim of insurmountable circumstances.

You fall into the “why did this happen to me!” trap. And, for a while, it is actually ok to feel this way…but only for a while.

You must try to remove yourself from that self-destructing attitude as soon as you are emotionally ready to move forward. And one simple but very effective you can accomplish this is by changing the phrasing; from “why did this happen TO me” to “why did this happen FOR me”.

See what just happened?

This changes the whole context of how to deal with uncertainty. Think about circumstances or situations that have been serious life-changing experiences for you. Maybe you got fired, or you lost a large sum of money investing. Perhaps you went through something more intimate, like losing a loved one.

Try asking yourself not why this happened TO you, but rather, why this happened FOR you.

In other words, what lessons, benefits or changes in your life can you apply and use from this experience?

I have found out that applying this strategy to an event as sad as losing someone very close to me truly served as a literal compass. It helped me navigate through the stormy seas of uncertainty until I was able to reach much calmer waters.

Make this strategy your own. It really works!

Back to our courageous big wave charger.

So he’s been able to control self-doubt by focusing his thoughts on effective, relevant self-talk. He has overcome uncertainty by acknowledging that this moment is happening FOR him: to push his physical and emotional limits once more, to challenge his well-earned wave knowledge, currents, riptides and weather conditions which can all weigh heavily on the end result: a memorable session full of stoke or a disastrous visit to the local hospital.

As he finishes waxing his board, he looks away, his gaze is now on the horizon.

The bombers are relentless, almost surreal.

His experience and wave knowledge kick into gear: he figures 40 ft +.It’s getting really big out there.

Fear, which had been firmly under control, breaks loose.

And for a brief moment, his heart and mind take a brutal pounding from this, the most powerful and relentless player of the “Fearsome Foursome”. It’s bad. For an instant, he can’t breathe. It paralyzes him. He regains control again. But fear has firmly settled in his gutt…he feels beads of cold sweat on his forehead. Even with his steamer snuggly on,  an uncomfortable wet shiver spreads all over his body. It has nothing to do with the cold weather around him.He shakes his head as he gazes at the massive bombers half a mile out…”What the hell am I doing??”.

Fear.

Yes. Fear can be all that. And more.

But fear can also be your strongest ally if you recognize it and embrace for what it is. If you have the determination to face your fears, something awesome and quite unexpected happens.

Fear can make you take that decision which you have been avoiding for so long. Whether you do or do not do what you have been avoiding to do, fear forces you into a decision. You may not do anything or you may decide to actually do something about it. Either way, fear requires that you make a decision.

Fear can also be transformational.

It can make you push your limits, helping you to move out of your comfort zone, and allowing you to grow in many aspects of your life.

And, most of all, fear can make you feel alive!

It heightens your senses, making you keenly aware of your present self. Fear releases adrenaline, putting you into survival mode. When the moment passes, you feel at peace yet exhilarated, immensely satisfied, even euphoric. And the only thing you can think about afterward is how you can repeat feeling this way again.

Fear. It can be extremely addictive. More on that topic here.

The moment passes, and as our charger regains his composure once again, he smiles briefly, shaking his head. He makes for the shore break and with a few swift steps, he enters the water and starts paddling towards the impact zone. Self-doubt and uncertainty replaced by healthy confidence and purpose.

Fear, now an ally, enters the water with him, giving him laser focus and determination to face what’s ahead.

He paddles on. The first bomb crashes relatively near to him but he is able to sort his way through the white water explosions that follow. Until, at last, he makes it to the take-off zone. It is still cloudy. The ocean is gray. In the distance, a mountain of blackish water rises steadily, fast approaching him.

It continues to rise, higher and higher.

The mammoth wave reaches the critical threshold. Our charger paddles furiously. In an instant, he’s up on his board, literally free-falling as chaos threatens to engulf him.

But today, chaos loses.

He takes the full natural energy of the behemoth as he races down the 40-foot face. In an indescribable moment that feels like a lifetime, the wave’s energy becomes a part of him. He exits the face of the wave, white water exploding behind him. He raises his arms in triumph, screaming to the heavens in total exultation.

As he paddles away from the receding wave, his heart still pounding furiously, he feels a bit ashamed. Ashamed for almost giving up. Ashamed for letting his emotions get the best of him, even if only for a moment. He would have missed this unique opportunity for growth…for the ultimate stoke.

Shame.

We all feel shame when we or someone else tells us that we don’t measure up to the activity assigned to us. We beat ourselves silly, recriminating as to why we did not do this or that, or why we acted this or that way.

This is not only extremely harmful to our self-worth.It is also acutely stupid.

While researching for this post, I recently read a quote which hit home so effectively, I thought I would share it with you here. It’s from mystery novel writer, John Scherber:

“Never fear failure – It’s only a poor choice of words to describe one of a series of steps on the way to success, not all of which are of equal value. But they all must be taken and something can be learned from every one of them”.

How’s that for nugget!

Don’t be ashamed to fail. It is a natural part of reaching your goals.

Your failures are growth opportunities deftly disguised.

Take advantage of each failure that comes your way (and rest assured, they will come!) and never feel ashamed for having tried, even if failure looms on the horizon.

Challenged, yes, but always lionhearted…

As I begin my own journey of healing after my father’s passing last February of this year, I often see myself as the wave charger mentioned above, looking at Mavericks’s massive waves, mustering the determination and courage necessary to conquer one of the heaviest waves in the world.

Yes. Self-doubt, uncertainty, fear, and shame can overcome him at any given moment.

But facing and understanding these emotions have made him mentally tough and emotionally resilient. He has learned, and continues to learn, how to control these emotions, and most importantly, how to use them in his favor.

The colossal waves he is about to face will come incessantly, each trying to take him down. Hurt him. Destroy him.

But he knows his way around the legendary break.

His ocean savvy and deep understanding of how the wave works have been hard earned through persistence, discipline, respect, and a passion for the sport, nearing border-line obsession.

Similarities could easily apply on nearly every aspect of our lives.

The real challenge lies when something happens in our lives, an incident or circumstance that is beyond our control. An event so profound and life-changing, that for a while, we are dazed, lost, confused.

And rushing towards you at full speed, four adversaries which have the capacity to impact your weakened spirit with the force of a trainwreck.

But not this time. This time, you are ready.

You have the strategies, the tools, and effective countermeasures to repel and overcome anything these adversaries throw at you. And you can bet that you and these four fierce adversaries will collide.

You will not come out unscathed. But whoever said life’s greatest opportunities were meant for the weak of mind and the timid of heart?

You will prevail and you will come out victorious.

You have learned from your adversaries.

You have even made peace with the fiercest one of them.

You are wiser. You know the game better.

And you are improving with each opportunity that life throws at you.

Make the most of it.

Share your experiences…

So which are your fiercest emotional and intellectual “adversaries”? Your “Fearsome Foursome”? How have you dealt with them? What strategies did you use to overcome and come out victorious? Please share your thoughts and/or experiences in the comment box below. I would love to hear about your challenges and how you prevailed.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you liked it and if you know of someone who you think may benefit from it, please be so kind as to share with him or her.

Un abrazo!

Does Procrastinating Mean I have No Sense Of Accountability? – Part 2

Hey sentinels! Happy New Year to all of you wherever you may be reading my blog, for which I am ever so greatful!

It has been an incredible 7 months now since I started Surfsentinel and blogging about all matters relative to self development, action water sports and ocean conservancy.

It is now time for setting new goals for 2018 and making every effort to make those goals come true.

Tony Robbins

I would like to share with you a quote from one of my favorite life coaches ever, Tony Robbins. I feel it fits in perfectly with starting the new year with a clear and powerful message:

Does procrastination mea I have no sense of accountability.

We continue with part two of strategies on how to break away from procrastination. It is so essential to understand and apply these strategies now that you have some of your goals ahead of you.

Please read on and make sure you give me your comments below. And more importantly, share this information with someone you think might benefit from this article. Here we go:

8. Take bold action. Have absolute certainty.

Tony Robbins says it best. The key for incredible success is:

1) Have absolute certainty in what you are doing.

2) Take massive action.

That’s it! Sound easy, right? Well, for many of us it is a bit harder than that.

You may have absolute certainty but you are unsure as to how to take massive action.

In my case, I’m pretty much of an introvert. Networking and going out of my way to meet new people has always been a big challenge. But once I shined the light on that dark room, it wasn’t so bad.

I looked for online communities with like interests. Not all of them are welcoming, it’s true. But I took the time to look for the ones that would.

I now have acquaintances and friends on action water sports self development and digital marketing communities in FB, Twitter and Google+. I have yet to get into Instagram but I will eventually get to it.

 

9. Set real goals

My suggestion here is to be realistic with setting your goals.

Apply the S.M.A.R.T. strategy when creating your goals. Make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

Also, try to share them with a friend or loved one. Have them be your accountability buddy. This really helps a lot to keep focused in achieving your goals.

Here is a blog post from Darren Rowse, at Pro Blogger, with additional advice on how to have SMART goals.

Also, have a look at this site, Goals On Track, for daily advice on how to reach your goals. It’s a pretty awesome site with tons of great tips. No affiliate commission here. Just great useful info.

10. Face the music everyday

So today was not perfect. You feel like you accomplished nothing. You don’t understand the new lesson, skill, code, or whatever it is that is making you feel crappy right now.

Hey, remember not beating yourself up above? Well there you go.

Facing the music every day goes hand in hand with that. You will face good days and bad days. That’s just what life does. If it throws crap at you, spread in your face, body, and all around. ACCEPT IT.

And the rest throw it at the wall, clean yourself up and keep going. Hopefully, you can find the inspiration you need to face the music every day.

11. Get radical in your habits

Not a morning person? Work out in the morning, before going to work…are you crazy? ABSOLUTELY!

This is getting radical with your habits.

You must shake the foundations a bit to attract the changes you desire in you life.

No time in the morning, ok then, make the effort in the afternoon. Here’s one that can bring quick results:

Eliminate all sodas and soft drinks in your diet.

Eat well and have your normal meals. Sodas and soft drinks simply do not exist. See how you feel in one week.

Or try this one:

Substitute your morning coffee (whaaat??) with glass of warm water and half a slice of lime. Changes your PH, helps eliminate morning breath, gives you an almost immediate energy boost (I drink it before working out), and promotes good digestion and fat loss. Pretty powerful stuff. And so easy to make.

Try it for at least 10 days and you will feel a big difference in your morning start up.

12. Revise your tool chest

Perhaps you have a book or a magazine where you read once read about tips on how to beat procrastination. Maybe you heard or watched a video on YouTube about this topic.

Go back and read or watch the article again.

We live in incredible times, where great information is out there for the taking, much of it free.

Subscribe to authors, bloggers, or people that have been there, where perhaps you are right now; they don’t necessarily need to be experts and PhD’s.

If what they have experienced resonates with you and they can offer a solution for your problem, then accept and learn from their teachings.

13. Celebrate your successes

Pretty clear cut here. It’s not all uphill, my friends!

When you reach a goal, celebrate it!

Give yourself a pat on the back.

Share your success with friends and loved ones, ideally with the ones that understand what you are doing.

If that’s not available for you yet, then share your success with your online community. Believe me, many of them will congratulate you sincerely.Like you, they have also gone through what you just went through.

They know the feeling of reaching that goal. So share it and let them know!

14. Delegate

Also very clear.

If you definitely find something you are not good at, or that you simply do not like or enjoy doing, find someone who does.

Outsource and delegate.

Fiverr and UpWorks are good outsourcing online resources which you could try when you arrive at this point, and you will get there, sooner or later.

Don’t stop. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you have financial means to get help from content, copy or design freelancers, go for it!

Finally out of the hole…

Procrastination. Not doing what you know that you have to do. It’s a bad habit. One of the worst.

And I’m sorry to say, one the most pervasive. Like a chronic malady, it’s always there, waiting for a wrong move to pinch a painful nerve.

The good news is that you can always identify it whenever you feel it creeping back into your life again.

Remember to pause. Be aware of that feeling in your stomach. Got to get it done! Ok, there it is. Now that you know you have to get it done, whatever that is, go to the source.

Why aren’t you getting it done?

What’s holding you back?

Got it?

Ok, now shine the crap out of it and make the source of your problem visible, as bright as day. Make the monsters go away. All of a sudden you realize, hey, it’s not so bad. That’s right. It rarely ever is.

I really hope you enjoyed this article…

Procrastination is a bad habit that I have faced throughout all of my life. Fortunately, I am not alone. It is something that everyone experiences regularly in one’s life.

The key is knowing how to break away from this terrible habit.

Have you had bouts with procrastination? Share them here and let me know how you managed to get out of it. What did you learn?

And thanks for staying with me this long. Hopefully you have found something here that you can use in your daily life.

This is the first of four articles of how the power of fear can place limits on achieving our dreams. Next week, I will be sharing with you advise and strategies on how to finally break the fear barrier to find what is on the other side. See you then!

Fear Factor Uncensored: Bionic Nazare and The Resilience of the Human Spirit

Shine on you crazy diamond…

Hey Sentinels! Luis here from Surfsentinel.

This post is dedicated to the fire that resides in all of us. The human spirit, which continues to shine, even in the darkest moments, and can be an inspiration for all of us.

Fear Factor Uncensored
Andrew Cotton

The inspiration comes from one individual, Andrew Cotton, an English big wave charger, who was the main protagonist of Mother Nature’s version of Fear Factor Uncensored.

You see, Andrew, along with other big wave chargers, like Garrett McNamara, challenged bionic super-sized Nazare, Portugal at 50 ft+, last wednesday november 8, 2017.

Into the maw of the beast…

The video showing the final moments before the ocean fell on Andrew’s back is…well… harrowing.

The inevitability of what was to come chilling.

And then, before disbelieving eyes then, now and forever, it happens.

The ocean literally plummets on Andrew, like a monstrous hammer. And he is lost in the unimaginable turmoil and chaos that follows.

At that moment, on-site observers and, later, thousands of people downloading the video all across the world’s multiple media platforms, watch in awe, breathlessly, at Andrew’s cataclysmic wipeout.

For a moment, we all agree: he’s gone.

There is no way anyone could have survived this. And we keep watching, our hopes dwindling by the second.

Keep calm and carry on…

And then…the impossible happens.

Andrew re-appears…

Life Guards activate their rescue protocols. They bring Andrew back to the beach, with a broken back, but alive.

He is rushed off to a hospital. A few days later,  he is concious and in good spirits, sharing his experience at Nazare in his Instagram account:

What can I say, I got a little excited this morning and ending up having possibly the worst wipeout impact wise of my life. Thank you to all the lifeguards and crew on the beach who helped stabilise me and do a great spinal recovery, I can’t name everyone but you all did your bit to get me safely to the hospital . Obviously huge shout out to the team: @mcnamara_s for the waves, @hugovau for rescue, company and laughs in the hospital and @polvo32 for the calls on the radio and friendship . I have broken my back but I’ve been really lucky, I’m already looking forward and focusing my energy to get fit and back out there on some more big rollers !

Andrew’s comment boggled my mind!

Here’s a 36 year old part-time plumber, lying in bed with a broken back, after suffering what is being considered  the worst wipe out of 2017, and yet, through the pain and healing, his mindset remains incredibly resilient.

 

Maybe it has to do with some of that English  “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude. Maybe.

But I think it goes way beyond that.

It is how you treat your worst fears when coming face to face with the monster.

Feat Factor Uncensored
Nazare, Portugal…

You can’t control events…

You can’t control events, but you can certainly control how you are going to react to them.

Tony Robbins, an incredible communicator, leadership psychologist and peak performnce strategist, explains it like this:

Tony Robbins

We can choose what to focus on, we can choose what those events mean, and we can choose what to do now. These three conditions control our lives. So it is not the conditions of our lives, but rather the decisions that determine our destiny.

Embrace and learn from your fears…

In the next few posts, I will be adressing and exploring how fear limits our capacity to reach our goals.

You will understand how to deal with procrastination, an unfortunate by-product of fear.

You will also learn three ways to embrace and learn from your fears, not run away from them.

The last post of the series will provide useful tips on how to break through the fear barrier to discover what lies on the other side.

I hope this information will be as useful to you as it has been for me in my personal and professional life. See you soon and please leave a comment below if you liked this post (or not!).

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

The Hidden Mystery Behind Scheck Exley

When Myth Becomes Legend…

Every sport has personalities which transcend and go beyond the ordinary.

These individuals, with their unwavering courage and persistence, their incredible vision and steadfast commitment to their beliefs, have left an undeniable footprint in our hearts and memories.

In basketball, Magic Johnson & Michael Jordan, in Football, Tom Brady & Peyton Manning; in Soccer, Pele & Messi, in Formula 1, Ayrton Senna & Michael Schumacher.

In the ever evolving world of action water sports, legends, both living and dead, have also made a positive impact, leaving a legacy of excellence and commitment.

They may not be as famous as the mainstream sports heroes mentioned above. But their contributions cannot be denied.

Sheck Exley

In surfing: Laird Hamilton & Kelly Slater; in windsurfing: Peter Cabrinha and Robby Naish; and in extreme deep SCUBA diving, Jack Cousteau & Sheck Exley…when myth becomes legend.

It is because of this very reason, for their efforts, vision, and courage, that they stand out from the rest.

 

That is why, when one of these bright luminaries’ lives is suddenly and inexplicably snuffed out, the entire watermen community suffers, mourns and saddens.

For these are the rarest of individuals, almost super gifted, and to see their like again is very unlikely. Sheck Exley was such a rare individual.

Calculus Teacher, Karate Expert and Seasoned Cave Diver… At age 23!

Sheck Exley was born on April 1, 1949. His first cavern dive was at barely 16 years of age.

Diving has always been an expensive sport to practice. Cavern and cave diving even more so, since it demands special equipment and redundancy (two of each piece of equipment, in case of an unforeseen event).

Exley financed his passion by teaching math and calculus at a local high school in Florida. He also served as an aquanaut for 8 days aboard a Hydrolab Underwater Habitat in the Bahamas.

By the time he was 23 years old, he had accumulated 1000 cave dives under his belt.

At age 42, near his unfortunate passing, he had amassed a total of 4,000 dives.

He was also one of the few divers to survive a 400 ft dive (120 m) in open water, on simple compressed air.

He is one of eleven people, and the first, to dive below 800 ft (204 m), doing multistage decompression of up 13.5 hours, never suffering from Decompression Sickness.

Exploring The Deep Corners of The Earth…

Sheck Exley pushed the limits of extreme deep diving.

Like Reinhold Messner, Exley became famous by pushing the limits of the possible.

His expeditions into Nacimiento de Rio Mante (Mexico) and later on in Bushmansgat (South Africa) paved the way for extreme technical diving, advancing our understanding of diving at great depths“. 

Bushmansgat South Africa

In fact, Exley was so dedicated to the perfectionism of extreme deep diving, that he actually purchased Cathedral Canyon Spring, in Florida.

Once installed, he began the exploration of the spring system, which resulted in a world record penetration of nearly two underwater miles.

This alone was a tremendous accomplishment for the young diver. The fact that he made it solo in eleven and a half hours was a testament of his technical ability and sheer courage.

Rio Mante & The Sink Hole at El Zacaton…

For a few years after Cathedral Canyon Spring, Exley excelled at pushing the barriers of extreme deep diving, both in depth and distance.

His incursion and experimentation with Trimix  diving El Nacimiento De

Nacimiento del Rio Mante

Rio Mante (Mexico) allowed him to descend to a depth of 881 feet (another world record) without feeling the effects of nitrogen narcosis or oxygen toxicity. Trimix also shortened decompression times significantly during ascents.

It wasn’t until his expedition to Bushmangat (South Africa) that Exley suffered his first deep diving incident.

In 1996, he reached the bottom of Bushmangat but soon after he experienced a severe case of high pressure nervous syndromeHe suffered from uncontrollable trembling and blurred vision.

Having recovered from his bout with HPNS, Exley soon joined Jim Bowden, a 52-year-old adventurer and dive instructor from Austin, Texas, to sttempt a descent into the world’s deepest sinkhole: El Zacaton, Mexico.

El Zacaton…

This was it. If the Andrea Doria was considered the Everest of technical deep diving, due to its complexity and multi faceted approaches, El Zacaton was considered the K2…treacherous, unforgiving and deadly.

Into the Abyss and Beyond…

And so, on April 6, 1994, two of the world’s most skilled extreme deep divers plunged into the dark, murky waters of El Zacaton. (For an unsurpassed, detailed account of the Zacaton dive, please refer to this article by Sports Illustrated).

Suffice to say that Bowden and Exley were both determined to reach the 1000 ft milestone. This was their descent; their K2.

Many months of detailed planning and logistics had come to this moment.

The proportions were staggering: if you were to place the Empire State building inside El Zacaton, one could step onto its main observation deck where the observers and reporters were standing.

And thus began their descent into darkness.

After eleven minutes, Bowden had reached 898 feet when he noted that his gas reserves were lower than expected. Deciding to abort the dive, he ascended, going through a 9-hour decompression period.

Exley went on, the water so dark that he never knew of Bowden’s decision to abort. He would remain alone to the very end.

18 minutes into the dive, one of the safety divers, closely watching the bubble stream of both divers, noticed that Exley’s stream had stopped. What followed remains one of sport’s greatest mysteries.

The Mystery Unfolds Before Disbelieving Eyes.

Exley’s wife, Mary Ellen, descended to 279 feet to verify if the flow of bubbles had been diverted by some obstructions or ledge but they had not.

El Zacaton had taken a singular human life and left very few clues.

What happened to Sheck Exley during those 18 minutes?

Typically, a demise of a solo diver, under such adverse circumstances, left very few leads to go on. The people that knew Exley were certain of one thing: he did not panic.

Cave diving is to open-water scuba as flying an F-16 is to piloting a Cessna, and Exley was the ultimate definition of grace under pressure, even under the most harrowing of circumstances.

Breaking The Sheck Exley Code.

As if to defy El Zacaton’s deadly clutches, three days later, Exley’s body was recovered when the guideline was pulled from the cave.

What the rescue team saw left them speechless: Exley’s body appeared to be wrapped intentionally with the guideline, around his arms and valves of his dive tanks.

His dive computer read a depth of 879 feet.

It is speculated that Exley, seeing his imminent death, proceeded to do this in order to prevent any rescue attempts. At these depths, it would be suicidal.

It was also concluded, after a careful analysis of the incidents leading to Exley’s death, that he probably suffered from HPNS (oxygen-induced tremors and incapacitating).

But where the mystery really tightens its grip is with the primary dive tanks.

For reasons which remain unknown even today, Exley’s primary dive tanks became depleted sooner than calculated. It is conjectured that he had to switch to his “travel mix”, clearly not suited for such depths, exacerbating an already dire situation.

It is also believed that he also tied the surrounding guideline to stabilize a failed ascent attempt. His BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) was unable to fill with air from his “travel mix”, making things even worse.

At some point, many experts believe, Exley lost consciousness, eventually leading to his death.

One thing that everyone who has studied his untimely death is that there is no single factor that leads to tragedies like these, but more likely, a series of disastrous events.

These events result in situations that not even experienced individuals like Sheck Exley could have foreseen.

Reckless daredevil or pioneer and visionary?

Whatever you want to make of Exley’s life, one thing stands true above all. He left a legacy of safe, responsible practice in an inherently dangerous activity.

He pushed the limits and thrived in extreme situations. Like Schumacher, Hamilton, or Baumgartner, Exley knew exactly the risks of his craft.

Just like an experimental jet pilot, a great measure of his job was pushing the limits of what was possible.

In the end, Exley paid his awesome, jaw-dropping intrusions into the deepest places of the world with his life.

But isn’t this search for the unknown, this fiery curiosity, to see what is just beyond the next cave, part of what sets us apart as a species? We are explorers.

And as long as there are watery chasms to explore, there will always be that thirst for exploration. Like Sheck Exley? Probably not. He stands in a different dimension, in the halls of human exploration, along with Messner and Scott.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? When do you push to transcend? Or would you rather take a step back and let others take the risk?

Reckless risk is suicidal; some say, however, that this kind of risk is its own reward, whatever that means.

Calculated risk, on the other hand, is the path taken by explorers, pioneers, and visionaries throughout human history. Where do you stand on this?

Please offer your thoughts on the space below. I am looking forward to reading your comments on this!

Thanks for reading and I hope you liked this article.