It is hardly a secret any more. Our modern world is fast paced. Faster than what most people can cope with, and incredibly unforgiving for those that cannot handle stress well. In fact, stress, perhaps more than anything else, defines the glass ceiling in the corporate world today. The more stress you can handle the higher you will rise up the chain of command, the more you will earn, the more you are valued. It is perceived to be a good thing if you can perform well under pressure, and perhaps it is, if only that pressure would subside as often as it arises. But it doesn’t. Stress is a very bad thing if it is the dominant state of being and stress is a 24/7 thing in our ultra-modern world. It is scientifically well documented that today stress is one of the main causes of illness because it lowers the effectiveness of the immune system, the body’s self defence mechanism.
The thinking mind is the most powerful tool known to mankind. It is responsible for our dominance over nature and it is responsible for all our progress. Naturally the mind will seek to protect itself and the body within which it resides.
Stress is a product of the mind. It is a built-in unconscious self defence mechanism that kicks in whenever the conscious thinking mind cannot solve a problem. If the mind cannot cope with a given situation, if it doesn’t know what is going on or what to do, it goes into stress. It is the mind’s way of gently urging the body to turn around and walk away. If this does not work, the mind triggers the fight or flight response which, in case you cannot just walk away, will enable you to either run away or fight your way out of the situation. If the fight or flight response is deemed ineffective the mind has one last line of defence: Unconsciousness.
Think about it. If an animal is over powered and cannot fight its way out of a situation nor run away, it will play dead. That is usually what you are told to do in case you are attacked by a big wild animal such as a lion or a bear. For the average person there is very little chance of running away nor is there any way of fighting off the beast. So, play dead and hope that it will not eat you and leave you alive. Fight and you are almost guaranteed to die.
Playing dead or entering a state of unconsciousness also happens to be the mother of all addictions and the father of all suicides. And unconsciousness is a direct result of too much stress.
So you see, despite the fact that being able to handle lots of stress is seen as a virtue, it is very important to switch off and lower your stress levels as often as you can. I could venture a guess and say that you should spend as much time relaxing as you are required to perform under pressure, but at the end of the day only you will know how much stress your body can handle before it is adversely affected. Although we very rarely admit it, we all know what is best for ourselves.
When I watched The Surfer Kids play on the beach this past weekend I thought to myself that it would be ideal if I could return to an innocent child like state more often, as this is perhaps the most constructive way of releasing stress. I could beat a pillow or do some drugs, but neither are very effective and both could be destructive. The best would be to transform myself into one of The Surfer Kids and, for an hour or two every day, play as if I did not have a care in the world. Of course I do have many cares, but I would probably deal much better with the challenges of life I could approach them from such a creative and relaxed state of mind.
This is another one of the many reasons I take The Surfer Kids surfing every other Saturday and pay for it from my own pocket. It is an investment in my own health. They show me how to be careless, perhaps even more so than other kids who have already succumbed to the pressures of materialism. These kids have next to nothing and yet every Saturday they smile and play on the beach as if they have all the reason in the world to be happy.
So, if they help us, we can help you.
We now offer a new Weekend Breakaway package. You can read more about the details here, but the aim is simple: We take the raw inspiration provided by The Surfer Kids, transform it into a workable format and share it with you.
You will be accommodated in a fully equipped quaint little farm cottage without electricity but with hot water and unlimited fire wood. The cottage is located in one the most beautiful and unspoilt valleys I have ever seen. It is surrounded by hills and cliffs covered in sub-tropical forests and the famously beautiful Aloe Ferox plants. The cottage is located right next to a little river with a perfectly safe swimming hole within easy walking distance.
Except for transport the weekend is all inclusive and we provide everything you need to switch of the stress levels for two or three days. Check out this incredible offer here!
Other than that all is well here at Unravel Surf Travel Base Camp. We finally have a company logo and we are taking The Surfer Kids to a development camp in Cintsa (East London) over the weekend of the 15th and the 16th of July. We really need help with covering transport costs, otherwise the kids may not even make it there. Anybody with a kombi (or large vehicle) willing to drive The Surfer Kids will be a true hero! We have some funding available and we will be able to cover petrol costs and provide accommodation and food. It is the actual rental costs that we cannot afford. Please contact us if you are interested.
Planning and organisation for the New Year Surf Camp is well under way and, as they say, watch this space for some exciting developments!
Once again I would like to thank everyone who follows this blog and supports our work, just by reading and sharing it with friends you already help more than you can even imagine!
Thank you to my beautiful wife Jenya for the great photos and incredible support and thank you to our business partner Reinder and his wife Bianca for all their help.
Yours in surfing, love and life!
Photography by Jenya Zhivaleva