4/20: A Special Day for Hitler, Bob Marley, and The Surfer Stoke Project

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The truth is, you can do anything you set your mind to.  You just have to believe you can.

Bob Marley would have turned 68 this past Saturday.  On Saturday, scores of Boulderites pulled out their grinders, prepped their pieces, and took to the streets.  And although it seems as if the champagne of New Year’s just fell flat, April 20th is the 110th day of this year.  On April 20th in 1889, Klara Hitler gave birth to a son.

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4/20/13 also marks the 6-month anniversary of The Surfer Stoke Project.  I am now 50% of the way through my project.  I have 6 months of stoking to go.

When I think about what’s happened since the birth of this blog, I don’t think about stats, posts, or performance.  Rather, I consider how my life is different.  In that regard, this blog has truly been a miracle.

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Someone once said, “You can approach life like nothing is a miracle, or you can approach life like everything is a miracle.”  At a certain point, I hit a wall as to how far my own efforts and determination would take me with this project.  Faith stepped in to carry me the rest of the way.

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After one particularly long day last month, I cried to my Mom, and she told me, that whatever I did, I should not give up on this.  She told me my blog was “the best thing” in my life.  I knew she was right, but I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.  After all, I invented this thing.  How could something I created be the best thing in my life?  Initially, that seemed sad, or a little weird to me.  But the truth is, this project might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. 

Because of SSP, I have a surf internship, two new mentors, and three tickets to Slightly Stoopid in my pocket.  I have new work, an aversion to cigarettes, and 80 posts under my belt.  I’ve learned about photography, and interviewed some of my heroes.  I’ve also written a lot of trash-worthy material; said a lot things I shouldn’t have said; and likely, have pissed some people off.  But these are the things I’ve done.  What’s notable to me, rather, is how I’ve changed. 

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Because of The Surfer Stoke Project, I’ve mustered enough courage to follow my true north.  I’m chasing my dreams.  Heeding that compass feels a little like walking straight off a cliff.  So how do I feel?  1 part terrified, 3 parts thrilled.

As a by-product of Surfer Stoke, I care less about what others think; I understand the importance of showing someone your smile; and I love myself more.  I allow myself to believe that good things are in store in for me.

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The support of all my friends has touched me more deeply than I could ever say.  My love for them has grown in ways I did not expect it to.  In months littered with heartache, tragedy and fear for us all, we have supported one another and I can think of nothing else more special or important than that.

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By being forced to reexamine what’s important to me, and what’s important in life, generally, I have learned a few things about happiness:

#1.  Love reigns supreme.  Being with your loved ones and enjoying that time, is the most important thing in life.  The moments you spend with these people should not be clouded with thoughts of something or somewhere else.  Our ambitions, our to-do lists, and our plans for ourselves masquerade as meaning.  We think if we do XY and Z, buy XY and Z, earn XY and Z, that we will capture the bluebird of happiness.  We think that if we do those things, we will feel more at home in our own skin.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in reality, that security we’re looking for – we will never find it.

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Uncertainty is the status quo.  We will never know what is going to happen next because that’s what life is like.  We can’t fear something that hasn’t happened yet, because we will be afraid our whole lives.  We will always be on the verge of a firing, a break-up, a crisis, or a simple change.  As humans we want to take back control, and we don’t sit pretty with the not knowing.  But, we need to accept this reality of life, and remember: life is meant to be enjoyed.  We enjoy life best by loving others.  As Oscar Wilde would say, “If life is the honey, love is the bee.”

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#2.  As a man thinketh.  As a man thinketh, so shall he be.

Until now, I’ve more or less avoided this topic in the hopes of avoiding being labeled a crazy, New Age-y blogger who has lost her grip on reality.  That said, if you pick up any book in the self-help aisle, you will read the same thing: think happy thoughts, you’ll create happy situations.  Think sad thoughts, you get the picture.  For better or for worse, the thoughts you’ve entertained in the past, created your current situation.  The thoughts you’re thinking now, will determine your future.

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Dub it the law of attraction, positive thinking, or thought reprogramming – they’re all members of the same family, and they say the same thing.  Bare bones, they argue : you have complete and total control over the circumstances of your life through the mastery of your mind.  You can change your thoughts for your benefit, it just takes a lot of practice.

#3.  Smile at people.  We all hurt in the same ways.  We all suffer loneliness that seems unbearable.  We all have desperate nights, when we are brought to tears, or to our knees in prayer.  When we feel as if we have nowhere else to turn, we should know that others go through the same things.  In our social interactions, we should recognize this.  You don’t know what someone is going through.  Under the guise of normal, the woman ahead of you in Starbucks could be smack in the middle of a divorce.  The mean co-worker could be being a bitch because she’s unhappy with herself.  Compassion is important, and showing someone a small sign of goodwill goes a long way.  Think about those days when you received an unsolicited smile.  It made a difference in your day, right?  In times like these, we need to remind each other that we’re here to work as a team.  You are not alone.

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This has been the one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever been on.  I thank those who have contributed to this blog, and those who have supported me along the way.  Here’s to 6 more months, and thanks for reading.

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All my love,

Natalie

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3 thoughts on “4/20: A Special Day for Hitler, Bob Marley, and The Surfer Stoke Project

  1. Happy half-birthday!
    I hope in the end you decide to push on beyond one year. After all that in just six months, imagine what can happen in teh long term.

  2. Lovely post, Nat. It made me think of that quote by Vonnegut, ‘There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” Really good rule that’s easy to remember, as most of the stuff I try to remember leaks out.

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